Together with Kate from Moldova and Maro from Armenia we started to live our life in Campobello di Licata. We had fun together, shared our feelings, stories and concerns. We were interested in each other’s culture and we found out that even that we are so different, we share this experience together and this made us so close from the beginning.
We worked 35 hours a week at Kalat and started our own projects, which was for me to prepare courses about ‘Soft Skills’; short courses about personal development like motivation, empathy, teamwork, decision making and how to remember. I started to develop the courses and to combine theory with interactive activities. Maro and Kate worked together to promote the Summer Camp and they worked on the database of all the partners Kalat had in the last 20 years.

We started to learn Italian by ourselves, by using digital books (below this blog you can find the titles of these books). ERASMUS+ provided an Online course called OLS (Online Linguistic Support), but it didn’t help me to learn the language.
I experienced that day by day I learned more and I could express myself more, but still I was struggling a lot to learn the language, especially because this language is so different than the languages I can speak, Dutch and English.
But what helped is that everybody supported me in a nice and comfortable way to learn Italian, by speaking slowly, helping me to express myself and to correct and explain the grammatical rules. Learning by doing really helped me, but it was still hard for me to learn the language just by my own without a course and a teacher.
The other girls could already speak 4 other languages including a Latin language as French and Romanian, for them it was much easier and also the fact that they have always been bilingual made it easier to switch between languages.

From the 12th to the 19th of March, we went to Nola (near Napoli) for the On-arrival training. Here we did the whole week activities with 60 other volunteers from all over Italy. There were 20 different nationalities and we all shared our experiences, during the activities and during our free time at diner, lunch or after the activities in the evening. This training gave us the opportunity to think about our experiences, what we learned so far, what the differences are between our own country and culture and Italy. And we could reflect on our own project and what we would like to change or improve.
Every day we had four hours of Italian lessons and 4 hours of activities with the group. These activities were based on intercultural exchange, teamwork, personal development and sharing our ideas about EVS and our individual project. But we also received some practical information of our EVS like what the Youthpass is (which competences we can use) and the rights and duties of a volunteer.
But besides the on-arrival training which was interesting and fun, but also sometimes very intense and tiring, we spent one day in Napoli! The last evening we danced together with the group different cultural folks dances and we had fun together. We said goodbye but we continued to keep in touch during our projects.

These books were really useful for me to learn Italian:

Parlo Italiano (Level from A1): This book is divided in chapters and gives you the opportunity to learn the language step by step from introducing yourself, how to talk about work, family, the house, how to greet someone, how to ask for directions etc. Every chapter consists short understandable dialogues in Italian, list of common phrases, exercises, short explanations of Italian and list of the most common words.

Nina Ricci – Via della Grammatica (A1-B2): This book is a bit more organized in a scholastic way than the first one, but also very useful and structured. In this book you can find more information about the grammar and besides that there are exercises and puzzles.

About Iris Kampers

Ciao a tutti! My name is Iris, a 23 years old girl from The Netherlands. I'm a Social Worker and Sociologist in Spé. I worked with different groups of the society, like people with mental disorders, homeless and/or disabled people. What drives me in this field is to understand people and find ways to make their lifes easier and more enjoyable. I've always been curious about other cultures and how someones' culture and background can influence them. The daily life and culture is totally different than in Holland. From the first moment I arrived in Sicily I fell in love with this mysterious Island and since then I enjoyed every day of my 8 months in Sicily to the fullest. In my blog at this website I'll share my experiences and love of Sicily. I hope I can inspire and encourage others to discover this beautiful Island, its rich culture and to meet the generous and warm people!