Associazione Agrado

mercoledì 20 settembre 2017

Chiara in Lisbon - How to rediscover yourself in a different country

It is very common, nowadays, for young EU citizens to feel a bit lost once they have obtained their University degree, once they have reached a goal that took years of planning, commitment and, let's say it, sacrifice. That inebriating feeling of endless job possibilities is quickly overcome by uncertainty and anxiety, especially when your ambition makes you want to reach for the stars, but your impatience transforms any challenge into an insurmountable obstacle.

I do not have any data to confirm how common these feelings are amongst my peers, but I am sure that was my state of mind when I decided to apply for EVS in Portugal.
 After more than 3 months working in Check-IN, a non-profit organisation that promotes youth mobility and non-formal education, I can say that I am very grateful for this experience. I am given the opportunity to enhance my administration and communication skills in a very friendly and openminded environment, I am growing more and more interested in how EU institutions work and I am becoming more knowledgeable about EU project management. Thanks to my EVS, I am figuring out what my next step is going to be, and I am sure I will be able to make a more accurate decision.

 Needless to say, living in Lisbon has also reawakened my passion for culture, music and anything in between! This vibrant city has so much to offer, it is hard not to fall in love with it. It is so welcoming and beautiful, that it attracts people from all over the world, with different talents and points of view. This also gives me a chance to get to know different opinions and, consequently, to reinforce or modify mine.

Truth is, sometimes you just need to be positively shaken up, you need to be reminded of how far you can go, how much you can accomplish. The daily challenges you take on in a foreign country, from the bureaucracy to an unknown language to understand, are a simple way to rediscover yourself under a different light, a way to learn something new about who you are and what you want.

Although what I am stating has a strong individualist approach, I cannot overlook the importance of my daily interactions with other human beings. This EVS has given me the chance to meet wonderful souls, friends and colleagues that are the main reason why my experience in Lisbon is so fulfilling.
Erasmus+ projects, such as EVS, contribute to strengthen the ties amongst EU citizens. A new culture to explore is a great way to broaden your horizons and I encourage whoever enjoys taking on challenges and learning more about themselves (and others) to apply for European Voluntary Service. Get ready to be shaken up.

martedì 11 aprile 2017

Serena, da due mesi a Salamanca

Il mio SVE a Salamanca, Spagna

 "Io e Gisela, ex alunna di Santiago...Da 2 mesi viviamo insieme, e mi insegna le parole che sul vocabolario di spagnolo proprio non si trovano"

 Sono a Salamanca da 2 mesi e 5 giorni.
Sono a Santiago da 2 mesi e 5 giorni.
Ho lottato tanto per avere questo posto. Ho pianto tanto e l'ho voluto con tutta me stessa. Il mio sogno è sempre stato quello di lavorare in una casa famiglia.
Ho fatto il tirocinio in un centro giovani a Empoli, nella mia città vicino Firenze e sono rimasta molto colpita da come ci si sente a lavorare con gli adolescenti, avevo sempre lavorato con i bambini.
Il rapporto che crei con un adolescente deve essere basato sulla sincerità e la fiducia, a loro non basta giocare.
Sentivo però che mi mancava qualcosa. Volevo di più. Volevo vivere la loro vita quotidiana, volevo i loro pranzi e le loro cene, lo stomaco chiuso quando sono innamorati e lo sguardo perso..e questo lo trovi solo in casa famiglia.

A Santiago sapevo che avrei trovato tutto questo, ma Santiago è diversa dalle altre comunità che ho visitato.
Santiago da una seconda possibilità a chi non vuole darla nessuno.
Santiago è educazione non formale, giocoleria, teatro, ballo, canto, cinema, animali, lavoro, piante.. è il contatto con tutto ciò che può far bene al cuore.

Le giornate, soprattutto per i ragazzi, non sono sempre facili e il compito che mi sento di avere è quello di alleggerirgli certi pensieri che a 15 anni non si dovrebbero avere.
A Santiago succede che parli con Alberto, 10 anni, che ti dice che suo padre ha una macchina italiana, una Giulietta.
Entuasiasta le dico..che bello! Lui mi guarda dritta negli occhi, neanche sa tagliare bene la carne ancora..e mi dice ''tiene più alla macchina che a me''.
E' stata dura buttar giù le lacrime.
E allora io sento che finchè sono qua quando mi chiede ''Quieres jugar?'' io  gli sfoggio il mio sorriso migliore e lui gioca felice a pallone come qualsiasi bambino di 10 anni, anche se magari vorrebbe farlo con sua sorella.

Serena, 20 anni, in crisi mistica tra lasciarsi andare completamente col cuore o continuare ad usare ancora un pò di razionalità.

mercoledì 15 marzo 2017

EVS in Cyprus- "Nature Success stories" first Activity!

First activity: The “Chronothermometer”

Our first activity was in the Primary School of Ayia Varvara. The idea was to speak to the children about how much time waste need to degrade and how important it’s to follow the 3 R’s, Reuse-Reduce-Recycle. To do so we decided to use a “chrono-thermometer” to show how long the materials need to decompose. We decided to build a thermometer as example and then to let the children building their own thermometer. Of course, we instantly thought it looked like the best idea in the world…but then putting in place was a bit ‘more complicated than expected!


The article in original is from Almyras EVS volunteers Blog:

martedì 1 novembre 2016

Rural Intercultural in Romania

Volunteering in Romania

This is the final report from RURAL INTERCULTURAL EVS project in Craiova- Romania that foresaw many volunteers from different parts of Europe.
Associazione Agrado was glad to be partner in it and we thank a lot Pasquale, our EVS volunteer, for his curiosity and passion and Silvia, from the Hosting Organisation Soroptimist International  Craiova, for her care!

Seven young volunteers decided to have a journey in an unknown land, very close to Transylvania. To help, to grow, to experience and to have a lot of fun.
It was what the “Rural intercultural” EVS project was for Monika, Bojan,  Kubra, Emine, Semih, Ceylin and Pasquale, who left Macedonia, Turkey and Italy, to work with children and youth in the south of Romania.
They had the chance to explore rural and urban areas, to see contrasts, to bring their support where it was most needed.
I give you their experiences, to inspire you on your own journey:

During my project after ı visited rural schools and saw that they don’t have enough opportunities and don’t know a lot of things about the worlds but still they can struggle with these poor conditions, ı told myself that ı should learn a lot of things and improve myself to help them better.
In my future I’ll use my experiences that ı got in EVS. If ı struggle with any problem ı’ll remember how ı managed to  handle with my problems during EVS.
My volunteering experience helped me to become more active, more flexible and open towards new ideas by other people. I became more creative with all the activities, but also I learned to take risks and cope better with it than I used to do. This whole experience made me aware of the importance of young active people in the community, working on projects and setting examples for others. It gave me a bit more of an idea of what I would like to do in my future and that I could use all the connections that I made with other volunteers for future projects.
I gained a lot of respect and understanding for other cultures, by this experience I became open-minded and learned how to be patient towards differences and find solutions easily. This will help me in the future as I develop even more because I want to work on projects more actively, collaborating with people from other countries.
Also, by helping the teachers and working with the children I saw that I influence them in terms of opening their horizons towards new cultures, towards being active in their community and also encouraging them to learn English more actively by making them see it is something that will improve their communication skills and possibilities in the future.
This entire seven months process has been a learning experience for me. Starting from an everyday-life informal learning, which was unplanned like the culture, the cultural differences, the lifestyle, to all of the non-formal education that I gained through working with children, helping the teachers in their work, making crafts, organizing workshops, and to the formal education which came in a form of Romanian language classes. By all this I became aware of my personal ability to learn, the best ways to do it and that the non-formal way of learning suits me best, so by this I saw the difference in the learning styles between what I experienced so far in the schools that I studied and at the university. I
also learned how to organize better while learning or working in order to give the best of me and gain better results.

Many of the stereotypes that i had about Romania were quickly changed by meeting new local people from Craiova and Romania in general. They helped me in every situation needed and they guided me to the right direction, just to fit in to the society better.
The teachers were amazing because they were letting the kids do what they want without setting some sort of boundaries. They were extremely creative with their paintings, crafts and any other activities that we were doing. They looked and felt free. That is what i enjoyed the most about working with them
This experience helped me to overcome some fears that i had such as speaking in front of strangers or a large crowd, it made me more aware of organizing my time more efficiently and i increased my punctuality. It made me realize how important it is to meet all the people involved in the project and beyond, because maybe those people can help you and be a factor in something in your future, you never know what can happen. 
I became more creative and more open minded when it came to the activities that we were doing with the kids. I learned not to be afraid to take risks, that it was okay if we made mistakes or not being afraid to ask if something was unclear.
Over all, this experience helped me see myself in a whole different perspective and position that i never thought that i would be in. And it made me realize how much powerful the youth can be.

I developed a quite impressive number of social contacts here in Romania during my EVS. I have been very curious towards the language spoken, the culture and the different style of life. I realised how important is to build a truly European citizenship and how this can overcome conflicts among different culture. EVS is a great program that fosters integration across and outside Europe. I met new people and made new friends outside Europe.

Romania was my first abroad experience. I was a little scared before I came here. Different cultures, different people… it was hard to adapt at first. But there were Turkish friends at the building where I stayed  and they helped me adapt. I had the chance to meet many foreign friends. Because of this I developed my foreign language learned new cultures.
The biggest contribution of this project to me is the knowledge I gained about the autistic children, people in need and school children at the villages. This helped me organize activities such as fingerprinting, play-dough. We prepared food and gave away clothes to people in need. We organized activities in the village schools’ as well. Being able to learn, help, and see the smile on the faces of these people made me really happy.

Let’s do great things together! Let’s EVS!

sabato 22 ottobre 2016

Emma alla scoperta di Lisbona

Very first Emma-steps in Lisboa!

Ola! I am Emma, 23 years old, Italian - grew up on a hill, in a small town in Tuscany. When I turned 18 I moved to the Netherlands, Rotterdam, where I started art school, as an Illustrator. During my bachelor years, I got the chance to take a minor in cultural diversity, focused on social design and worked in an internship as a designer for a small NGO in NYC. After I completed my bachelor in July, I was - and still am - quite confused about what I want to do next, with myself. I know I want to be a "social" change maker and that I'd like to keep designing too, but haven`t come up with a formula yet. I also still want to learn new languages, travel and live in different countries - don't want to miss out on challenges.
So I had decided to start a second bachelor in Arabic and Middle eastern studies and signed up for it, it would be in Venice - back south, almost back home... somehow I felt it was too soon though, I had just gotten out of school two months before! So when scrolling my FB page on a rainy dutch afternoon I saw a call for EVS volunteers at Checkin association I was like: I have to try this! I had spent a few days in Lisbon during a trip a couple of years ago and left promising myself I would have lived here at some point; I had been struck by its multiculturality, kindness and rythm... and there was my chance up for grabs!
And so here I am: ready to start, learn, contribute, doubt, challenge and re-think myself a little, in this pastel-colored and lively place, inside the Oh so nice Checkin team! Thank you Portugal for having me over, sou muito grata! Can't wait to get to know you better :)
Ripreso da

mercoledì 19 ottobre 2016

Federica at her first EVS month in Lisbon

Here I am!

Hi my name is Federica, I’m 27 and just one week ago officially began my experience here in Lisbon as an EVS volunteer.
Before to decide to apply for this opportunity I hadn’t planned anything but unfortunately my job contract would have expired a few days later. Everything happened almost by chance even if I’ve always had the idea on my mind to do this kind of experience before getting too old. So, I found the vacancy, applied, did all the interviews with the hosting association and - go!! Everything in less than a month!
And now, here I am since almost one month and everything seems to be amazing!
From the first moment, all the team of my hosting organization made us feel like home, and supported us in all we needed. That’s why I feel that even if we began just one week ago, we already are a “Big Family”: all the Check-IN team, other EVS volunteers from different countries, local volunteers or simply friends.
Along this adventure, which will last until next October, I hope I will manage to support the Team in all the activities as much as I can and at the same time take with me experiences and unforgettable life moments.
Next step: on arrival training in Braga! Hoping it will be a moment to share with a lot of new people and volunteers from different EVS projects here in Portugal.

(kept from Check-In - Oportunidades Europeias Para Jovens- Facebook Page)

mercoledì 28 settembre 2016

Words and images from the EVS project "Youth for future" - Bucharest- Romania

Associazione Agrado is proud to show the results from the EVS project "Youth for future" that was implemented between 1 October 2015 and 30 April 2016 in Bucharest, Romania. Thanks to Asociatia Tineri pentru Dezvoltare Durabila - ATDD and thanks to our volunteers Carla and Matteo!!

This is the video about the activities:

We explain the project through words and images...

The current education system in Romania faces a lack of practical skills to be transferred to students from small ages. Most of the teaching methods are based on theory and big amounts of information, thus the students reach the point to have a serious lack of practical key competences, which are essential for personal development since early ages. The civil society and NGOs have an important role in trying to sustain the young people since early ages, in order to implement complementary 
methods of non-formal and informal education, in order to sustain the development of individuals.

In order to create an entrepreneurship environment for children aged 5-10 from Romania, Asociatia Tineret pentru Dezvoltare Durabila implemented an EVS program, where 6 volunteers from Spain, Bulgaria and Italy were working for 7 months with children in schools. The project “Youth for future” proposed a different approach for the work of youth in the field of volunteering using non-formal education. We aimed to create the impact for participants and the local youngsters as the activities were implemented to multiply the concept and the activities experienced in all the communities of the partners, so we could integrate the concept in a mainstream for youth work, with a lot of visibility and participation of the community.

 The main objectives of the EVS stage were:
1.       Development of entrepreneurial skills, cultural skills, communication in a foreign language, social and digital competences for volunteers and young people using means of non-formal education.
2.       Development of the "Small Entrepreneur Interactive Guide".
3.       Creation of a large-scale network with the role of a meeting point for young people, volunteers, NGOs, youth workers, etc
4.       Implementation of youth events with young people from Bucharest.

 and to our volunteers Carla and Matteo!