Experience, culture, traveling, learning, unforgettable….these are just few of the words that come on my mind when I think of my EVS in Florence – Italy. The benefits of doing a voluntary service in a foreign country are numerous. Taking this opportunity after my graduation was very big step for my personal maturity and the feeling of be independent and take care of myself on my own. Spending nine months here has thought me to many things like: good time-management, have more self-confidence, to be even more open-minded because of the continuous encounter with many people from different countries and also adjust in the new environment. My EVS was about nature, environment and territory. It began with pruning the olive trees in one public park where we also had to do some workshop with the branches and build a kind of fence in the valley of the park. Our next task for most of the following months was working and helping to the gardeners in the Botanical Garden of Florence also called Giardino dei Semplici which this year has its 470th birthday. It was founded in 1545 by the Medici family which historically made a lot in giving the style and the face of the city that we have the pleasure to see today. For the summer period in the months of July and August, we as volunteers had the privilege to reside inside the protected territory of Maremma Regional Park. The work consisted of monitoring the beach Principina a Mare on the Tyrrhenian coastline in the province of Grosseto. During the stay there we were an info point place at the entrance of the beach and we were giving information of the walks that can be done in the park and all other possibilities that the park was offering. In the free time I visited some of the towers in the near hills, did a canoeing ride in the river Ombrone, went to the Talamone Aquarium and many many bike rides around the splendid landscapes of the surrounding. it was possible to visit some near cities around, one very cute was Castiglione della Pescaia. In the park I saw one of the most magnificent and memorable sceneries and felt the tranquility under the starry sky. Even more amazing was that the animals were passing in our yard and so we had the chance to be in closer touch with wild boar, deers, fox and hear the melody of the birds that inhabit the forest around us. It was a perfect getaway from the city buzz. I was lucky to stay in one of the most beautiful regions of Italy – Tuscany. It was great to explore the city of Florence and to find something new every single day. I met so many new people and made friendships from around the world. On the formations, that every volunteer attends, there is the chance to share your experience, knowledge, ideas, improve language, maybe meet your love of your life :-)… I had my most exciting year here, and would definitely recommend to any of you to take the challenge, decide when is the right moment for you and choose well the country and the type of project that you want to do, and don’t be afraid or hesitate because you can only gain a lot by introducing some diversity in the everyday life. And what can you wish more that a time full of traveling, learning new language, getting familiar with new culture and cuisine, friends from around the world and many unforgettable moments and adventures.
Emilija (Macedonian EVS in Italy)