Behind every departure, there are thousands of reasons hidden. Some leave for work, some leave to run away, some leave to find new hope, some leave to have fun, or to have a new beginning.
I am Angelica Ignisci, 22 years old, and my departure comes from many reasons that brought me to decide to spend 6 weeks in Novi Sad, in the Northern part of Serbia, thanks to AIESEC Italia.
AIESEC gives you the possibility to live a volunteering experience in more than 120 countries.
Apart from my adventurous soul, the desire to discover a new culture (even though it is pretty close to Italy, Serbia stays special for its particular diversity) and the will to challenge myself in a new environment, what actually drove my choice was the desire to reach a bigger goal, that with my small and apparently meaningless actions, could actually be more concrete.
My volunteering project was about teaching Italian in an elementary school, to children between 7 and 12 years old.
Here are the reasons why I would recommend a volunteering experience abroad:
Discover a new culture. Last winter was one of the coldest of my life. I’d never seen snow constantly on the ground for 2 weeks, -16°, frozen hands and feet in spite of gloves and socks. Nevertheless, Serbia knew how to welcome me with a warm hug and make me feel home. The love for food, the signs of thousands of years of history, the architecture with buildings between modern and traditional, the stunning landscapes, and last but not the least, the people, the most caring and helpful I have ever had the chance to meet while going abroad.
Challenge your comfort zone. I study law and I know nothing about “teaching”. Before leaving I was afraid about not being able to create a conversation with the children and not being able to organize remarkable activities.
It’s actually when you step out in a totally different reality, far from your daily routine, that you are able to discover your full potential. Going out of the comfort zone, means that you are able to discover your limits, challenge them and overcome them. A volunteering experience becomes an introspection tool to re-discover all of those qualities that have always been part of ourselves but we never put into practice. Like the ability to empower the people around us, or the ability to easily find solutions in difficult situations or the ability of being aware of our strengths and weaknesses.
Create your international network. I shared my experience with 7 young people, coming from different corners around the world: China, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Greece, Turkey and Russia. For six weeks I had the constant feeling of travelling and discovering new traditions and cultures, by staying in the same place. Leaving for a volunteering experience with AIESEC allows you to get to know people from all around the globe, and to get in touch with schools, organizations and institutions on the other side of the world, building connections that will last for the rest of your life and will create a link between your daily life and your dynamic international experience. Enrich yourself with new perspectives, opinions and lifestyles.
Embrace the chance to leave your footprint in the world.
In Serbia, I had the chance to teach Italian to young children and to share my roots and culture. It was an incredible opportunity and the children were not the only one to learn. Teaching diversity can make a difference in a world that needs tolerance and being open minded. In Serbia, a country on its path towards cultural diversity, a group of children will be able to make a difference, showing how everybody in the world has the right to receive quality Education, to take their steps towards the future.
Volunteering is an opportunity and it never goes in one single direction. In the moment in which you decide to give your contribution to change the world and make it a better place, you are also growing up and changing. Take care about your good small actions: you will enjoy them for a long time!