I’m Francesco from Puglia, Italy and I’m spending two months in Tirana at Beyond Barriers for a short-term EVS.
Actually the time here is running so fast and unfortunately we have just 15 more days to take advantage of this awesome experience. During our lasts conversations we started to think about how it will be to come back to our “normal life” and we already feel a little nostalgic. Yes, I know, two months are not that much to get used to a new environment, people and situations but I can affirm that we created very nice relationships between us (12 plus 4 Evs – 8 Italians and 8 Germans – hosted by BB), with the tireless staff of Beyond Barriers and the Albanian people who are very hospitable, friendly and … they speak a italiano perfetto!
Moreover I won’t bring back to Italy just new friendships but for sure new skills and knowledge. Here I had the chance to work side by side to people very well experienced and – let me say very patient – who taught me in a very short term many basics and notions and shared with me many expertise and information about their work in the field of youth work and volunteering. I’m really interested in this area and I’m sure I’ll continue to be active in my future.
At Beyond Barriers I’m working with children with different abilities and promoting volunteerism in high schools and universities. At the beginning I felt very sad going to schools and seeing the living conditions of the children and knowing about their past.. But I think the strongest experiences make you really grow up and now I feel more sure of myself and I feel even more useful.
One of my tasks is also to gather information on what Albanians think about European citizenship. We are proposing a questionnaire concerning what they expect from the access as a member of the EU and which are the negative aspects. From the answers given by the “man of the street”, I can see that the entrance in UE is perceived as a change of pace and an economic, social and political relief. As a European citizen I feel it’s time to think about a Europe much more inclusive and open-minded!
At Beyond Barriers I am also engaged in project management linked with programs fostered by the EU, in particular the Youth in Action Programme. I had the opportunity to understand in a better way how to write a project, how to deal with the partners, how to manage the outcomes of a project. Furthermore the knowledge and competencies I’m acquiring during these two months of EVS will be extremely useful to me, to increase the opportunities and the quality of the services offered by the association I founded with some friends of mine in Fasano – my hometown in Italy – and to empower and enlarge its network. Asap Europe as soon as possible is a non-governmental association promoting international mobility of youngsters through training courses, seminars and cultural exchanges within the Youth in Action Programme, disseminating the values of volunteering and social inclusion and to raise awareness about European citizenship.
So.. Who better then Beyond Barriers to have a real experience in the field I want to work in and to gain the knowledge I need in order to better run an organization?
Thank you very much for the opportunity you gave to me and, above all, for your friendship.
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