Language changes your experience/ we asked Manu Reva


Introduce yourself.

I am Manuel Riva from Italy I am 30 years old I live the north of Italy till I come to Cuidad Real, Spain.

Where did you do your Erasmus?.

 In Spain, Cuidad Real with Mille Cunti

What steps did you take in order to be selected?

I found the project and after sending a good motivation letter and my curriculum, the organization asked me to have Skype interview and we made an agreement with Mille Cunti to do my EVS with themJ

Why did you decide to be EVS volunteer?

In 2006, I left school and I started working as an unskilled worker in the company where I worked before doing my EVS. Over the years, I have acquired the knowledge and experience that have allowed me to reach a very satisfactory position today, in terms of working and economic conditions, but I didn’t feel any gratification on a personal level. It was a good job, I have the opportunity to improve myself constantly in my field, but I have realized that it’s not in the world of manufacture where I would like to spend my life. I have had the chance to take part in volunteering experiences that have played a fundamental role in my personal improvement, so I wanted to commit myself to this and made it part of my life. I didn’t care about economic wealth; I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, I was eager to make new experiences, to know and to share with new people from different countries, to learn something new and to improve my personal skills.

Which city have you chosen? How did you decide to go the country you went?

 I was looking for a good project more than a place I mean for me project was more important. However; I was very excited about spending one year in Spain! I have been there four times and, even if it was for a short time, I really appreciated the people and the culture! Having the possibility to live in Spain would be very interesting! With all these reasons I decided to come Spain.

What did your EVS bring you?

 I have learnt many competences that written in youth pass. And I leant the importance of participation in the society. Totally new life style; I can say that I have new experiences a challenging every day. I met lot of international people and know more about their culture. Now I have much bigger European identity. I visited many places and most importantly I have learnt different learning process.  I improve my communication skills by working in a team and leant how to tolerate people in a better. I did lot of workshops such as cyber bullying, soft skills, theatre with my team and sometimes alone.

Did your expectations meet the reality in Cuidad Real during your EVS period?

Absolutely YESSS.

What about the culture of the country you stayed in? How about the difference and adaptation process?

As an Italian I did not have a strong adaptation process because Spanish culture and Italian culture are very similar. I did not have big difficulty but I discovered some part of Spanish culture I did not know so now I am much more aware about Spain such as stereotype about fiesta. Now I understand why people take siesta. I know more about local people

Can you tell us something very interesting about your experience?

I loved spending some free days with local people and eating the local food, participating leisure activities with them.

What change in your life after this experience? Characteristically?

Because of Language I realized that I cannot express myself totally. Now I passed these feeling. I think to be more open-minded, respectful and toleration limit and I learnt about feminism that is very strong here  J which is very different from my village.

What about the people you met there?

I had some difficulties I was leaving who I was working but this was the thing I was expecting. I mean from different places, different ages, and mind set sometimes I had challenging to build a relation with them. But generally people in the association I liked working with them. I met many locals and buit very deep friendship with couple of them which is very sattified me.

What is important know about Cuidad Real before starting your EVS?

Before coming here checking internet the association webpage, previous volunteers face book is very important. It will help you what you are going to have and pass through then searching about the city and events.

What do you think about the weather?

I am from a village that rains a lot. Here I was worried about the summer. At the beginning people said that summer is too hot. But for me ıt was quite okey. I prefer sun rather than rain J

Do you think that knowledge of local language is necessary?

In my opinion one thing is that important can change everything about your experience during both the activities and free time. Here, for volunteer English are maybe enough but for locals absolutely Spanish is necessary.

How about budget was it enough to live?

Depends. I spent more than I was given because I had some savings as I worked 12 years. I knew I have a problem about economizing. Even this thing was an experience.

What advice would you give to any future volunteer?

Choose the project fits your best. Check the place you are going. And tray to enjoy as much as you can. I think that volunteering is something that you learn new things every day, so enjoying everything. 

Do you recommend EVS to other people? Short or long period?

Absolutely yes. And long term EVS is better.  At least 9 months you have free days besides Christmas and some fiesta. I think you need to put yourself new situations, people and more. Less than this I mean In 3 moths time you cannot have enough time to do that.

Written by Nahibe Acar

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