ESC Teams at the Butterfly House of Bordano | Mathilde, Mathias, Dafni and Julia Share Their Experience!

The ESC Teams project “Team for Healthy Life – T4HL”, financed by the European Solidarity Corps programme and run by Associazione Joint in cooperation with Casa delle Farfalle di Bordano in Italy, has come to an end!

The overall objective of the project, in accordance with the priorities set for 2021, was to promote well-being and a healthy lifestyle for the volunteers and local communities. It was an opportunity for participants to reclaim a space to socialise in a healthy and safe manner, while engaging in volunteer activities that promote the inclusion of vulnerable groups, health and wellbeing in communities.

Project activities touched on specific themes, in accordance with the host organisation and the needs of the local community:

  • nature and outdoor life
  • mental health
  • health prevention/health promotion
  • conscious nutrition

Discover also the Team 4 Healthy Life project taking place in Belvedere Marittimo at Fattoria Agriturismo l’Arca!

Mathilde’s Testimonial

I have just finished studying and the only thing I know is that I want to travel! I want to travel!
But for that I need money, so I was looking for a job and during my job search, my counsellor told me that she had just received an email for several CES, and it could be the perfect plan for me and my desire to travel. I applied and was accepted! My expectations for this project were personal: I wanted to prove to myself that I can travel alone and make connections with people who do not speak the same language. But also to share my culture and discover others. I think this project fulfilled those expectations, because I met many incredible people and learnt from them.

I learnt from the Butterfly House many things about the butterfly but also about nature. I also learnt how to deal with 12 people and how to live with them. Sometimes it was difficult, because of the lack of personal space, but most of the time it was great. During this project I did a lot of gardening. At first I was not very happy, because it is not something I like very much, but later I realised that working outdoors was good for my health and also for my mental health. I have never felt so at peace (although it was hard at times). But I also helped in the butterfly house, when it was closed, with cleaning different spaces but also the vivariums.

Mathias’ Testimonial

Hello, my name is Matthias. I am 26 years old and French. I have been working full time for 3 years but I needed a change in my life. I already did two short periods of voluntary work before this project, 2 months in Greece and 2 months in Romania. I already knew what a project was and I wanted to have experience and knowledge in various jobs because I still have to figure out what I want to do with my life, in the future.

So I started looking for ESC projects and I saw this project, which involved working in the Casa Della Farfalle, in the north of Italy, a place with 3 green houses, with different tropical ecosystems. It looked really interesting, so I applied and was selected. Group volunteering consists of a minimum of 10 international people to socialise, work and live together for 2 months and is very useful for bonding with people. My project was really interesting, Casa Della Farfalle is a beautiful project with lots of butterflies and different tropical animals, I learnt a lot about it all and I am really happy about it. We also worked in a lake, doing a lot of gardening, it was a surprise and a nice surprise. I really enjoyed the work.
And the place was great, I had never heard of Friuli, it’s not a tourist region in Italy, but if you love the mountains like I do, you absolutely have to go there.

This project was a really good experience for me, I learnt that I like to work hard and well, because afterwards I am very proud of myself and what I have done. I did a lot of activities for the first time, clearing an area full of unwanted plants, needling backgrounds, doing a lot of gardening, etc.
Community life is something special, you have to be patient with others who do not have the same habits, the same way of reacting, the same limits.I learnt a lot from others.

I definitely recommend this kind of project, living in another country with people from a different culture is a unique opportunity, we have some money for this given by the European Commission and we don’t pay for accommodation. And you have some free days to discover the country and the weekend.I took mine to spend every day in the Dolomites, hiking and discovering many beautiful landscapes. My project lasted only two months, but it is so intense and you will experience so much that you will remember it for the rest of your life. A beautiful chapter of my life has closed. It is time to write the next one.
Thank you very much for reading and have a nice day.

Matthias Pierson, I don’t know what I am doing, but I am doing it.

Julia’s Testimonial

Hi, I’m Julia! I am 22 years old, born in Argentina and have been living in Spain for two years.

Since my life has changed so much, I was feeling rather lost about what to do next… I heard about ESC and started reading about different projects to apply for, but the one that completely caught my attention was the “Casa Delle Farfalle” project, two months of living abroad (in Italy) in a small mountain village surrounded by nature and in the company of people from all over Europe… I stopped thinking about it and jumped in in a second!
I could say that I did not make a better decision than this. Now that I have finished this project, I look back and all I see is personal growth and joy. I have learnt a lot! From butterflies, gardening tools and organisation, adaptability, respect and friendship.

We started the project by working in Cavazzo Lake, a place that needed to be cleaned and respected. There we not only cut, transported and cleared the different species of plants and trees around, but we were also responsible for cleaning a pond that was full of human waste. I spent a week’s holiday with a friend I met during the project (I love you, Altea), and when we got back, the second part… We started working on the Butterfly House itself, doing some gardening and preparing the place for closure. In addition, some people worked in the communication team taking photos, videos and interviews with the volunteers and CDF staff.

Finally, during all the projects, we had several workshops and extra activities such as ceramics, rafting, visiting Venzone (a medieval town), and we participated in a Sonorum meditation and other things. In my opinion, this is an incredible and worthwhile experience, I felt that I changed a lot and learned a lot more than I expected. I would say that I still don’t know what my next step in life will be, but I also want you to know that whatever I do after this project, I will choose it with the skills I have experienced in this amazing place with all these incredible people.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in this project.

Dafni’s Testimonial

Hi, I am Dafni, I am Greek-Italian, I live in Greece and I am 31 years old. I am very interested in mental health and well-being, particularly in achieving it through non-formal means such as cultivating a relationship with nature, community living and mindfulness. As I would have turned 31 in September, I decided to take my last opportunity to find and participate in a volunteering opportunity when I was still in my 30s. I didn’t want to participate in just any project, but one that would stimulate me and be interesting to me based on my interests. So when I saw the butterfly house project, I found what I had in mind. The application period had already ended, but I was so enthusiastic and wanted to participate so badly that I contacted them in case they were still looking for people. And then it happened… they interviewed me and a few weeks later I was here… in beautiful Bordano and Friuli.

I met my team. We were a big group of people with different backgrounds who formed a community with a lot of diversity that over the next few weeks, through fun but also difficult situations, would become a team.

When I arrived here, my expectations were mainly to learn a lot about butterflies, work with animals and nature and learn new tools for wellbeing and mental health.

When the project started, and for the first few weeks, I thought that my expectations had not been met and that the work was focusing in a different way than I thought. But now, looking from the other side of the ‘project bridge’, in our last days here, I think my expectations have been met in an alternative way to what I expected, which has surprised me greatly.

We worked very hard to help the eco-museum at Cavazzo Lake and the butterfly house in Bordano, we all lived together in a scout village in the middle of the mountains, we tried many new things and met many interesting people during the activities organised for the project, we travelled around trying to explore the culture of the region and Italy in general. All this taught me a lot about myself, about teamwork and community, about well-being and connecting with nature in a really wonderful and unexpected way. In an unconscious way, living the moments and simply living!

I still have to reflect on what happened here, because it was a lot. I had the opportunity to observe myself and others, to play with my limits and to explore what was outside my comfort zone and I am really grateful for that.

I had a lot of difficulties adapting and it was not always easy, but I am glad I stuck with it and tried to trust the process, because it turned out to be something that, even though I thought I didn’t need it, I did. It was very fruitful and exciting. I am really happy that I had the opportunity to experience this project with the very people who were part of it, learning and getting to know so many different things about people, about cultures, about nature. It offered me a lot. It was very interesting and rewarding and one of the strongest experiences of my life.

I recommend to anyone who has the chance to apply, to do it because it will definitely change you for the better, it will help you grow professionally and personally, it will enrich your life, it will help you learn more about yourself, people, the world and it will create bonds between you, the place and the people in the project that in one way or another will stay with you forever!

ESC Teams

The special feature of the ESC Teams is its short duration, ranging from 2 weeks to a maximum of 2 months. This aspect makes it accessible also to young people who work or study and cannot dedicate a whole year to travel! Despite the brevity of the projects, Group ESCs offer meaningful and intense life experiences, during which numerous professional skills can be acquired. Moreover, by sharing life and work with a group of people, similar to a community, lɜ participants have the opportunity to create strong bonds even in a short period of time.

Discover our ESC projects! 

Read also the Testimonials of Alessandra, Altea, Carla and Eva

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