we are the italian EVS’s that are participating to the project “eUrope has no borders”. We have been in Tirana more than one month and finally we manage to tell you about our adventure!
We are 13 volunteers from Italy, Germany and Turkey and we live, work and have fun together.
Our house is located in the Student’s area of the city and we really really like it. Many students crowd it from morning till night, and we have been literally adopted by the locals: our trusted bar provides us awesome breakfasts, Jozi welcomes us with love in his tavern where burek, rakija, wine and popular music are never missing. Not to talk about the students who are volunteering for BBA: they are always ready to help us and have fun with us, making us discover the best local places of the city.
Our work consists into different activities: promoting active citizenship and European citizenship in the high-schools and universities, playing and organizing activities for the children of some “special schools” that deal with youngsters with different kinds of mental and physical disabilities.
Volunteering keeps us busy from Monday to Friday, and all the week-end we take advantage of our free time to travel throughout Albania and discover the Balkans. Our next stop will be the North of Albania and Montenegro, we can’t wait to leave!
Our cohabitation is very intense. 13 people, coming from different countries and different cultures, create an explosive mix! It is not always easy to stay together and satisfy everyone’s needs, but with commitment and creativity we are trying to build a small-scale Europe in our home. It’s not an easy task, but it’s fun.
It’s not easy to describe in a few words the city that is hosting us. The first thing that catches your eye is the multitude of contrasts: On the street, in the traffic’s jungle, you immediately notice plenty of legendary Mercedes from the 80’s and brand new expensive SUV’s, luxury pubs facing onto streets with no drains.
However, the element that characterizes the city is the openness of it’s inhabitants toward the foreigners. We arrived to Tirana carrying with us some prejudices and stereotypes, that disappeared soon after we came into contact with the people and the local culture, characterized by an extreme kindness and sense of hospitality, that applies to all the Albanian community.
We believe that the only way to understand what the EVS is , is to live it.
For us it is a unique occasion to test ourselves, learn new languages, new cultures, getting in touch with different ways of living, but having also a splendid opportunity to travel, be together and grow up, as a group and personally. Our luggage, on the way back home, is going to be filled by many intense moments that will accompany us all life long.
Daniele, Virginia, Emanuele, Francesca, Erlanda