If you read this magazine regularly, probably you could see that from time to time there are being published some articles about foreign people who stay in Chiari. So I am one of them.
My name is Alex and I come from snowy Russia. And that was the first thing which I was impressed by Italy – your weather here. That’s so different from what we have in Russia. I left my country when there were – 20 C and I arrived to a small sunny city where you live with +15 in March.
In Russia I graduated university and I studied psychology for 4 years. My project in Fondazione Istituto Morcelliano was dedicated working with kids in after school activities like ludoteca. I would never forget my first days in this place, because when I arrived to Italy, I had never studied Italian before. When I came to ludoteca, I was surrounded by children who were asking me a lot of questions and I could not understand anything. That feeling of embarrassing was with me during first 4 months while I was doing my best to learn some Italian. I got some results right before Summer had come and the children camp in Oratorio began. Grest was amazing, it was probably one of the best experience in my life, since I got the same experience in Russian Grest and honestly, I must say that Italian one is better. It is better organized and the program had a great concept. I remember that first days probably animators and assistants were more confused by me and my Italian than children with find I could build communication more quickly than with adults. With time, I felt being more included in all activities and working process. For me there was an important moment, when assistants started trying speaking English with me, what I need so much. It was a symbol that they accepted me and they had interest in me. Thanks to Grest, I could realize that mostly children are the same: they smile when they are happy, they cry when they are hurt. It doesn’t matter where the children are, they are still children.
From September thanks to my organization who supported my initiative, I could organize two language courses: conversational English course for teenagers and Swedish course for adults. I am very proud of this experience, because to teach languages when you don’t have one common language with your students is quite unusual. I was very nervous to run a language course with the teens, since I am from another country, I do not speak Italian properly and I had no clear idea what I could do with them and I was not sure that they would be interested in making lessons with me. But already after two lessons I could see that they were really open minded and really friendly towards me. During our lessons, they taught me a little bit Italian and they could share more Italian culture, also I learnt a lot with them.
With my Swedish group I was absolutely happy during our meetings, every week I was waiting for our lessons. That is a great pleasure to meet people who has the same passion. With the participants I was glad to share knowledge about Swedish language and culture. This experience was very exciting for me: a Russian guy is teaching Swedish language in English for Italians. Also I could feel a great support from these students since they always gave me advices about organizing my staying in Chiari and they were always ready to give me a hand if I need it. With them I had a chance a lot of things because their own stories to share.
During those 10 months I enjoyed my staying in this small city, in Chiari. I enjoyed the nature which was very easy to reach by foot. I could do some bike trips around. One of the biggest trip was going by bike from Chiari to Iseo and on the way back the bike was broken so we had to go to Rovato to take a train. I am very thankful to everybody who I met during my EVS project, because everybody opened his/her door to the world from which I could learn new things. Thank you Italy and Chiari for warm hosting, hope to see you again!
Also there is available a video of Alex after his volunteering time.