Ola, tudo bem Contigo?
I am here to write about my 6 months EVS experience in Portugal, working in Miratejo with the association Rato-ADCC.
In fact, exactly one month is already gone from my departure. One entire month, I can not believe it!
When I arrived in Portugal it was the 16th of October. I was sure to know enough things about the world but it was my first long experience abroad and this changed everything for me. It could sound obvious, everyone that had a similar experience told me this before my leaving, but sometimes if you don’t live an experience by yourself you can’t understand.
At the beginning it was difficult, of course: when you arrive in a new country you are far from your family, your friends, your everyday life that is a kind of comfort zone, in general.
Even if you are in a new place, you will try to behave as you were used to doing. You will try to repeat the same habits, the same connections with people around, the same ways to work and to do things.
If I can give you a personal advice, don’t do this. Just try to immerse yourself as soon as possible in the new experience: I know, it could be worried, but in my opinion, this is the way to catch the best from the new experience, to know a new culture, to create real connections with new people around you.
Thanks to my flatmates I learned much more things about geography, religions, languages, and cultures in general than in my entire life. I found lovely friendships with polish people, even if they are discreet and moderate and I am – as an Italian – loud and instinctive. I lived a beautiful feeling with a girl from the other side of the world, with so different background and at the same time much more things in common than with people from my same Italian region.
I also understood how much I can learn from people different than me, regardless of country, age, point of view and any gap that you could imagine.
I learn a new way to learn things, thanks to non-formal education experience. And, believe me, I was the classic one that is skeptical and shy in this field, but these moments helped me a lot to go out from my comfort zone and get involved into new activities.
I discovered how enjoyable is to travel with a really low-cost budget. You can discover unexpected places, trust more in others, improve yourself in problem-solving and ask help to local people. Don’t do this for granted! It could be the beginning of a new wonderful trip, full of memories to tell when you will come back home.
I started or maybe re-started, to believe in my job. Of course, I had to adapt myself to a new work environment and this was challenging. I was lucky because my project was related to my work background, so I had the opportunity to use my abilities and improve my skills in a new way. I arrived in Portugal really downhearted because of some previous hard work experiences in my country, disappointed from many situations and disenchanted by the reality. Unfortunately, if you are a storyteller like me, to be so disenchanted by things around you is not so helpful for your job. I was thinking that almost all my life decisions were wrong. During this months in Portugal, I started to deal with reality in a positive way, to recognize in a honest way a bad situation from a disaster, to find a solution instead than to complain without changing anything.
I am feeling more flexible and open-minded but moreover, I understood that the learning process is never ending story.
I want to conclude with a quote that a really important person said me when I was in Portugal. It is saying like this:
“Please guys, do an EVS, because is an amazing experience, you can learn a lot and you can grow up”.
Rato-ADCC thank you to chosen me and gave me this amazing opportunity.