I’m Silvia, I am 25 and I come from Como, Italian city well-known for its lake and situated not far from the bigger and industrial Milano.

I grew up in Como, but when I finished high school me and my twin sister, Laura, decided to leave our comfort zone, our house and our friends, to start the university in Trieste, situated in the eastern part of the country, at the border with Slovenia.

When I enrolled at the university, I choose the Bachelor degree in Political Science and International Relations in Trieste. After graduation, I wanted to continue the international studies, so I choose to enrol at the Master in Diplomacy and International Cooperation in Gorizia. I completed the two-year master in March 2019 and decided to leave Italy and engage in a volunteering experience abroad.

That’s the main reason why I started looking at the European Solidarity Corps’ website in order to find something that could fit my interests. When I found the ‘Be your own leader’ project, based in Constanta, Romania, I was particularly interested in the informal education methods of learning and teaching, as well as in the main purpose of the project: raise awareness among the youth living in Constanta through the development of critical thinking skills.

I already had one experience working with an NGO in 2016, when I left for two months to go to India, so I was kind of prepared to leave my family and friends, but every time it’s different and you never know what it is going to be like. That is also a good part of the whole challenge: you know what you leave behind, but you cannot be sure of what you are going to live then. Although I am a rational person, I also think that to grow personally and not only, we should be positive and follow our instinct, even if it is not always easy. This time, I decided to listen to my instinct and book the flight to Constanta.

I’ve always wanted to visit Romania, as well as other Eastern European Countries, and I was pretty excited to go to Constanta, because I’ve lived in a port city for the last six years and I really wanted to see how it was like, how people live here, how the profoundly different historical events have modelled the development of the city and its inhabitants’ ways of life.
Of course, I also had some fears, I think that’s normal when you decide just from one day to the other to throw yourself in a new experience with people you do not know and in a place you have never been to.

However, fears and bad thoughts were mainly related to the possible expectations I could have and that could be let down, for instance questions like ‘what if the group of volunteers will not fit good together?’, ‘what if the accommodation they will give us is not big enough for all of us?’, ‘what if I am going to miss my boyfriend, friends and my city too much?’ ran in my mind. Anyways, I did not have the time to overthink about this kind of worries, because the few weeks before my departure I have been so busy preparing all my stuff and clothes, cleaning up the room I was living in in Trieste, that time passed so quickly and in a eye blink I had just landed in Bucharest and was on the bus on my way to Constanta!