The beauty of unknown is in the unexpected ways of how one thing can make you feel or think. This is what two months of volunteering in Italy has done for me. But let`s start from the beginning.

My determination in becoming an EVS volunteer since 2014 has finally paid off. The project was named “Volunteering for Acceptance and Tolerance”.  I was chosen with another girl from Macedonia named Gordana, to be a short term EVS volunteer in Chiari, Italy. We landed in Italy on the 31st of May and the rest is pure happiness.

My volunteering stared on the 1st of June and  took place in Youmore Morcelli Giovani, where two girls named Sona and Justina made sure I would have a very unique type of experience. In the morning, I was volunteering in Casa di Alice, a day care center for children of age one to three. For a moment, I would have said no since I have never had any contact with children. And then, I reminded myself of one thing that I changed in my life this year – doing the things you are scared of. Every beginning is difficult, and I wasn`t the exception of the rule here. But after some point, children are starting to hang around you more and they memorize your name. I enjoyed reading, learning with them, especially about the beauty of sharing time and games with other children. You should love them all equally, but some laughs of some children were more enjoyable for me, like the one of Eduard, Andrea, Angelika, Anna.


In the afternoon, I was in the office of Youmore. In June, we had few events where I spoke about the reasons why I have done this step and why it is important to be part of Erasmus+ projects. Another responsibility was putting articles written from other volunteers who are volunteering in other countries. During the second month I, Gorde and Joanna (another long term volunteer from Estonia), started to have Italian lessons with one awesome guy, Chris. It was a pleasure to hang out and learn from him. July was slightly more filled with assignments, since Youmore was a host of a Youth exchange that took place between 16-23 of July and was named B.U.L.L.Y. I; together with Gorde and Joanna we were part of the organizing team. The whole week was beyond great. Yes, responsibilities were always present, but I tried to hang out with the youngsters as much as I could. I have got to know even more amazing people from Italy, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Lithuania. The Youth exchange was the last week of our project too and it was a great ending of a two months volunteering.

Every day I did something for the first time in Italy. Whether it was learning a new word or trying a new ice cream place, each day had its own story. I fell in love with the language and I would like to believe that I reached a good level of Italian, especially in understanding.  I enjoyed very much walking through the streets of Chiari. Now I see the importance of family with different eyes, since family is the most important thing in Italy. Alongside delicious food, of course. I had lovely times with the two girls, my roommates and also volunteers, Gorde and Joanna. Together we have visited Milano, Verona, Brescia, Lago di Garda etc.

I felt blessed to have the opportunity to be a volunteer. I`ve learned many things about myself, about Italy, about the job itself. Memories have been created that are going to last forever, hopefully also friendships around the world. I would never have enough gratitude for everyone included in the Foundation – Sona, Justina and Paolo. They have been very tolerant and always trying to help if needed.

Two months is a very short time to come back home as a new person, but long enough to start that process. Do it, do an EVS. Risk, even if you are afraid. One can gain so much more.

Grazie a tutti,

Ljubica Simonova

P.S. Ottimo means excellent, great. It got the sound of the double T and the louder O at the end, very typical Italian, louder way of expressing oneself. And also it has a gorgeous meaning. You can`t be unhappy while saying it.