Volunteer in Mexico My eight months of EVS in a school in the Mexican city of Puebla are a life challenge, a great opportunity to expand my knowledge, but above all it a psychology graduation and maturation process. My EVS began on 1st of April 2016, I arrived with a lot of enthusiasm and curiosity, I was eager to encounter a new world and eager to know it all. My project is a part of the “Programa Esperanza”, which aims at helping to improve the conditions of schools which fall in a lower economic stratum. I'm volunteering in “Colegio Luis de la Torre”, a school with a kindergarten, elementary and junior high school; I'm currently working with primary school children. As soon as I arrived, the smiles of the children I received made me very happy. They asked me many things about myself, my country, my family and my traditions; and I was amazed how curious they were. It was great to discover how fantastic it was for them to be able to learn that there is a country with a difference in hours, where they can catch a bus at a specific hour and place, or a place where they don't eat chilli or other things! I soon planned non-formal education activities like games and songs in Italian. I created activities to teach the children the names of colours in Italian, days of the week, and about Italian traditions or icons like famous monuments Colosseo, Torre di Pisa. I also taught them about typical food like tiramisù or spaghetti and how to introduce themselves and to describe their friends in Italian. I use non-formal education activities to develop the emotional capacity of the children. The school needs such activities and I could also combine my psychology skills with my volunteering experience. I used the games to develop their respect, friendship and their ability to work in a team. Once a week I focus on activities for parents with problematic children, for example, we had moments of reflection on the parents’ situation and their relationship with children. The project is a fundamental part of my experience but my EVS was also about learning to live with a Mexican family: so as to get used to their habits, lifestyles and to cook Mexican food (fantastic Mexican food!). When I arrived my lifestyle was very different, but I learned about Mexican culture pretty fast. I learned to go slower and to appreciate the time and to enjoy the different moments of the day. I'm completing this experience with a different vision of my lifestyle and how I can connect with other people - I learned to stay alone and this has given me the tools to plan my life as I like. I think living this experience allowed me to see new places, to know new people, new ideologies and it made me stronger, the realisation that I am unique with my limits and my strengths.
Tamara Del Puppo (EVS in Mexico)