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Sardinia, Italy , October 2013 (Thom Norton )

About Placement: I am working at TDM 2000 as a part of a team of 15 volunteers aged 19-29. We have several projects that run on local, national and international levels. Amongst other things I’m currently organising local events and international festivals, preparing to work in schools, doing translations, researching different topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility and social media, the end result of which is to be used in training booklets, and helping lead on English language courses.

From: Portsmouth, UK

Volunteering in Cagliari, Sardinia Follow Blog

Age: 26

Why I chose to do EVS: I had been working in the field of disability youth work from the age of 16. I wanted to do something around youth work, but wanted a change too. The opportunity to do this came up and I took it – It’s one of the best life choices I’ve made so far.

 

About Cagliari and Sardinia: Cagliari is the capital of Sardinia, a beautiful island off the west coast of Italy. Cagliari is vibrant and healthy, and it’s people are warm and friendly. The city is built on 7 hills and has 8km of beach waiting for us in the summer. The part of the city I’m staying in is just outside the old part of town. It’s close enough to local shops and the offices of TDM, and it’s near enough the cultural centre of town.

The island of Sardinia has 3 or 4 main cities and many small villages, all of which hold festivals throughout the year so we’re never short of something to do on the weekend! There’s plenty to do and explore whilst we’re here, plus I’m planning on visiting other friends and seeing the rest of Italy in the future.

My accommodation: I live with 6 of the 14 others I work with in mixed accommodation, and share a room with one person called Josip. We get on really well and have done from the start. It’s warm enough and fairly well maintained. I put money into a joint budget with my housemates and we tend to buy everything we need together in bulk, meaning there’s plenty of money left over to save for travelling. We cook, clean, relax and pretty much do everything else together.

My social life: Most of my social life happens at home or around the office. I have a few Italian friends that I see and go out with regularly, plus a few friends on the Erasmus projects that I’ve met in language classes. On evenings and weekends we play guitar or a few games… whatever we can think of really. On the weekend we’ll go out somewhere local. We tend to go out to various bars and pubs around the town. The nightlife in Cagliari is centred around talking with friends so there aren’t many clubs around, however you still end up out until 6am having had a great time. In the summer we’ll be at the beach in most of our free time.

Learning the language: Before you learn a new language, it’s good to learn how language works. I’ve spent the first couple of months learning basic Italian grammar and can now effectively use a few different tenses and hold a conversation fairly easily. It was very difficult at first: the pronunciation of common words can be very different and the way the verbs change is very different to English. I have 6 hours tuition each week and talk in Italian whenever possible.

Italian is the predominant language, although there is a local Sardinian language that changes from village to village and sounds like a mixture of Italian, French, Spanish, Latin and Arabic. Many locals whom live in the city speak a small amount of English too. On top of that I live with Croatians, a Turk, a Pole and a Lithuanian, and I work with many other nationalities so there’s always something you won’t understand being said. It’s not a bad thing, just something for ease of expression between two people of the same nationality. I’ve started learning the basics of Croatian too so I can understand some of the other parts of what’s being said.