IL BLOG DEI VOLONTARI DEL CORPO EUROPEO DI SOLIDARIETA’
Attività con lo SPRAR di San Petro in Amantea – by Maria Chatzikonstantinou – volontaria europea 2023
During my stay in Amantea, I organized and took part in many different activities in the community. One of my favorite ones and most meaningful for me was the time I spent collaborating with SPRAR in San Petro in Amantea, an association helping immigrants and refugees.
Every two weeks I used to go to San Pietro to do various recreational activities with the kids hosted by the association – three adorable young girls. We did arts and crafts like painting or creating toys from recycled materials, along with more energetic activities like dancing and theater play. We also watched movies together and I even taught them a bit of English.
On the other hand, the three kids really helped me to improve my Italian since it was the language spoken in all our meetings.
This experience has helped me discover my passion for working with children. Their creativity, spontaneity, and unique perspective on the world are truly amazing! Witnessing the excitement and happiness on the girls’ faces after each morning we spent together was an incredibly rewarding experience. It filled me with a sense of positivity and accomplishment that will stay with me even after this project comes to an end.
News da Amantea – by Sara Martins – volontaria europea 2023
Some of the activities I would highlight as my favorites are: the opportunity to help some students with English conversation sessions and see how they have evolved. And the organization of linguistic Tandems, since in addition to allowing the sharing of experience and the practice of English, they give us the opportunity to meet new people.
I keep my position with regard to this experience being quite positive, having given me the opportunity to meet new people with different cultures and backgrounds and Italy and Italian culture.
News da Barcellona – by Serena Borgese
della finca del Canyadell dove alloggiano le ragazze e i ragazzi e la gestione del piccolo orto ecologico di cui si stanno occupando.
Promoting Multilingualism in Calabria by Maria Chatzikonstantinou
It feels like only yesterday that I arrived in Amantea, ready for a new adventure, and yet we’ve already reached the project’s mid-term! Before participating in the “Green Languages” project I’d never imagined I’d get the opportunity to work on so many different things branching out my interests in new and unique directions in such short period of time. So, what are some of the activities we’ve done so far?
First of all, my colleague and I are supporting the Convent Centre’s activities on a weekly basis. Our hosting organisation is a Language School so we offer twice a week English-speaking sessions for people who want to improve and practice their English skills. Working towards this goal we are also co-ordinating Linguistic Tandems:
locals who want a chance to speak English in a relaxed environment meet in a bar or a cafe once a month.It may sound difficult to make strangers speak to each other in a foreign language but after some warm-up techniques we’ve prepared (unconventional introductory questions, cards with various conversational topics and questions) everyone loosened up and started chatting. Finally, we are also promoting multilingualism in the community of Amantea by giving English lessons to immigrants and elderly people in collaboration with a local elderly association.Besides all these I am also working very closely with children. We have so far organised tw
o seasonal-themed art and crafts workshops (one for Christmas and one for Carnival) for young children which also function as a non-traditional English class: the children are expanding their vocabulary while making Christmas decorations and Carnival masks. In addition, we are also collaborating with the local association helping refugees and immigrants. So, twice a month we are doing creative play activities (painting, theatrical play, crafts using recyclable materials etc.) with the children living in the association’s facilities.
At last, as spring arrives and the weather gets better and better I cannot wait to plan more environmental-oriented activities. A gardening workshop and a beach-cleaning day are already on our to-do list. I’m sure that the second part of our project will be us productive as the first, full of new
experiences and interesting people!
My experience so far by Sara Martins
My experience has been quite surprising, it was a surprise to the number of things that happen every week in such a small city. Beyond the activities we have been developing in the convent, I am part of a book club, I do theater, I have Italian classes. It has been an amazing experience with how open people are even with my clear problems with the language. Regarding the activities, I am very happy with what we have been able to do, however, I am very excited about the change of season so that it is possible to develop more outdoor activities.
Generally speaking this experience has been quite positive with regard to the opportunity to meet new people with different cultures and background. On the other hand, it has been an excellent opportunity to meet Italy, since living here offers me more mobility through country and allows you to make small trips to neighboring cities.
Calabrian Adventure by Joana Condado
When I arrived in Amantea, I found it interesting that being a small town, everyone knew each other. In the beginning, when I was walking on the streets, local people stared at me, but after a while, everyone has been quite friendly.
In Portugal, in April, we celebrate Easter, but in Italy, the following day they celebrate Pasquetta and each group of close friends go out to the countryside for having a pic-nic and gather together. I learned that normally this specific celebration is a bit “restricted” in terms of invitations since ideally only old friends meet and celebrate, but to my surprise, I’ve got an invitation.
I also learned that in Italy there is a clear distinction between North and South, and among the Southern regions, “Il Calabrese” fascinates me.
Would you believe me, if I tell you that every week a local came to my house door for offering me fresh fruit and vegetables?!? I loved it!
Regarding my project activities, I gave Spanish lessons at an Elderly local association, I also had fun creating a short film about how important Calabria is for the locals and the foreigners who live there. If you want to take a look at it, visit the profile @escincalabria.
Moreover, our project coordinator, had the idea to create a weekly language tandem, where basically every Thursday my colleague and I would go to a bar to practice languages. It was an open activity, there was no commitment to come every week for the students and there was freedom of choice, one time we could chat in English, another time in Spanish, another time in Portuguese, French and Italian.
In my spare time, I studied Italian and traveled a lot. I visited Tropea and Pizzo, breathtaking places in Calabria. I visited Naples and the Amalfi coast, Rome and Florence. And I also took the opportunity to do sports and go to the beaches.
The Italian seawater is transparent and has a crystal blue tonality, which we don’t have in Portugal, although, the is made up of stones and rocks instead of sand as it is in Portugal.
The host organization made an effort to make us feel comfortable. On my very first day, they offered me dinner, pizza of course. They also helped me to get to know other foreigners in the area and other organizations already established in Calabria. More, on festive occasions, families cooked me Easter lunch and gave me an Easter chocolate egg. I’m grateful for all the things the organization has made for me!
Finally, we come to the part that everybody wants to read about: the Italian food!
In the country of ” Vespas”, breakfast is sugar based, in general, they eat different types of cakes and croissants with cream and a cappuccino. Pizza and the ice creams are good and bigger than in Portugal. The best pizzas I’ve tried were in Naples.
I left you with a curiosity that greatly surprised me in this country. From 7 pm to 9 pm, there is a kind of meal before dinner, the so-called “aperitivo”. People go out with friends to have a drink and eat something light, later they go home to eat again! I guess there is a method to every madness
Best wishes for your excellent experiences and cultural exchanges, dear future volunteers!
Incontri linguistici alla Cantina Amarcord, di Amantea
di Constantina Kafetzopoulou
Why do we only think of classrooms when it comes to teaching? Of books and homework?
How can a Caffè-Bar become a place where young people meet to learn a language by talking to each other, playing games while enjoying an “aperitivo”? The only thing needed is Passion to bring a change, people who love their job and people who are open to new ideas and concepts.
When I saw for the first time, 15 people from different countries that didn’t know each other and didn’t feel comfortable talking in English, opening up after a while, sharing thoughts, making jokes and starting being friends, I realized that this could be the beginning to many more.
What practically happens when we meet for the English Tandem is that the participants get the chance to learn for free English in a non formal way. Some of the games that helped achieve the goal were Taboo, Speed dates based on certain questions, Broken Telephone and more.
Finding concepts to motivate young people on Learning is not always easy, but once it is achieved, there are many positive aspects except of learning.
Il mio Corso di Spagnolo per l’AUSER di Amantea
di Joana Condado
At the beginning of teaching Spanish lessons in AUSER, I thought it would be a challenge.
What if my students did not understand something specific how could I explain, at the time I wasn’t very fluent in Italian.
The first day of teaching finally came and all of my future students were there waiting for me. I was impressed. The class went superb, they were warm and friendly and taught me a lot of new Italian words and of course, I had a taste of the Calabrian dialect.
Every Tuesday they welcome me with smiles and tell me a bit about their lives. It is a real pleasure for me to go to AUSER.
We have celebrated International Women’s Day together at AUSER, where they offered me a lovely rose and invited me to a party.
Our Spanish course it’s not just a language course, every Tuesday afternoon it’s our time together, it’s a place in time when they enjoy each other’s company and have fun.
I would like to state that the most successful and happy people in life, are not the best ones in terms of results, but instead, the ones who have more commitment and live it to the fullest.
Thank you to all my students and the Director of AUSER Prof. Tonino Perricone for showing me kindness all the time.
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