Italy. The country full of beautiful architecture, powerful art history, full of smell of pasta on every corner and loud laughter. A country full of life with a heart in the palm of hand. My Italian experience completely changed me. It helped me turn into a better person. It changed my view of people, of the world but especially of myself. I have learned seize my own identity. Every day it taught me to be more fearless, a more kind and selfless person. I spent half of a year in Bologna, in Italy. Here I worked with mentally disabled people in one of the center of Saint Clare.
As a student of art education I took the opportunity to lead a small art studio here. It was very beautiful but really hard work. In the beginning I had a little problem with understanding of some clients but smaller feelings of fear were immediately replaced by a feeling of fulfillment from the fact that art and creation bring a new joy in the lives of our clients. Thanks to that work I have learned to overcome myself, to push my limits. I have learned to face the own small challenges of everyday life and keeps my heart still open. To serve and be here for those who really need it. To serve people without expecting anything in return. It was often physically and mentally demanding for me but during the harder days were helped me my great colleagues, Italian ice-cream after the work or just a sun shining in the sky. Living with my roommates helped me to see how I can live a more adventurous life but on the other hand it was quite difficult for me get used to differences of opinions, mentality, overall live style.
Sometimes I had the feeling that each of us just played our own game selfishly. Just for ourselves. I will not lie I missed home very much often! I missed my faithful friends, family, my small and beautiful Slovakia. But also thanks to that experience I realized the love, belonging and pride I feel for my home country.
On my Italian travels I met some great people who will stay in my heart for a long time. I made some awesome trips, tasted really delicious meals, I visited famous art galleries, I was walking through the picturesque city streets listening to the rumble of motorcycles in every step. But before my experience got a real summer vibe Coronavirus arrived. Life in Italy has changed by a hundred and eighty degrees in a matter of days. That is why I decided to leave Bologna and finished with my project prematurely. Even this is life, unpredictable, haha. But Italy has won my heart and will stay in it forever. I would like to go back there often because I have such a small second home there.
The project was funded through the European Solidarity Corps programme.