I’m Carla, and I did a volunteering service in Italy with the Bangherang organization. I went there in August and left in February, so I stayed there for six months.
Leaving my home in Germany was a big decision for me as I had never been away from home before for such a long time. I was struggling whether I should take this big step but in the end I decided to do it. As I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do later in my life I saw this time abroad as an opportunity to get some orientation without feeling the pressure of friends and family to start university or to have a laid-out plan of my life.
So I packed my bags and came to Italy, without speaking a word of Italian and in the middle of a pandemic. I arrived in the middle of summer and for the first time I saw Cento, my home for the next six months. With me lives another volunteer from Spain. She had already started her volunteering service in January so when I arrived she could show me around in this small town and thankfully we got along very well.
After my COVID-19 test result came back negative I could start working in the centro-estivo, the childcare over the Italian summer holidays. The children there were between the ages of 6 and 11 and went to elementary school. My tasks were to play games with them, help them with homework or to do special activities like a shadow theatre. But the children also loved to be outside, so we did a lot of athletic activities with them like volleyball games or playing catch and seek.
As the number of COVID cases was lower over the summer and the regulations were not as strict, I was able to travel and see a lot of Italy. My roommate and I travelled together to Rimini, Florence, Venice and Bologna. It was a wonderful way of getting to know this beautiful country, its culture and history and its people.
Soon after I arrived back in Cento, I was able to start an Italian course. For me, it was very important to learn the language as soon as possible as it’s the key to getting by in a foreign country.
Then I started working in the pre- and post-scuola in an elementary school. We spent the time playing games or, especially before Christmas, with drawing and little crafting projects. But the biggest task was to make sure the children keep their distance to each other and don’t forget to wear their mask.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time here and I’m glad I decided to come here. I know this experience will shape the way my life will continue and it helped me to develop personally in many ways. Of course, my stay here has been affected a lot by the pandemic, but I was determined to make the best out of my time there.
Carla was hosted on the project “Make a change, Be the change!”, financed by the European Solidarity Corps and Agenzia Nazionale per i Giovani.