Hello everyone! We are Clara and Sofia, two Italian volunteers who cooperate with the Italian Cultural Center of Tbilisi. Two weeks have already passed since we have arrived and, in our opinion, we are greatly adapting to the city mood. What brought us to Tbilisi? We left respectively from Venice and Rome to reach the Georgian capital where we will stay until June. And this has been possible thanks to a program funded by the European Union which allows young people from 18 to 30 years old to move throughout Europe taking part in different projects.
What are we doing in Tbilisi? We are taking part in an intercultural project; the goal is to spread the Italian language and culture in Georgia and, at the same time, strengthen relations between these two countries through an exchange between young Italians and Georgians. This is exactly what the Italian Cultural Center is trying to do, since it is a non-profit organization that spreads the Italian language and its culture. There are many initiatives in which we are taking part, one of these is the presentation of the ESC project among university students. We believe it is of fundamental importance to make them aware of the existence of this opportunity and show them that it can be the perfect chance not only to grow personally and professionally, but also to get to know and come into contact with new places and cultures. Therefore, on Friday January 27th, we went to the University of Georgia to present this program to Georgian students.
A brief presentation on the European Union was needed and we started from a simple question: what do you think European Union is? in order to understand their opinion about it. Maybe because of shyness or because of their young age, they didn’t express themselves much and this allowed us to start our explanation.
From a summary about the history of EU and Georgia relationship, we have finally come to describe the ESC project, first of all reporting our experience. We pointed out that travel costs are fully refunded, that accommodation and meals are provided and that there is the possibility of having a small pocket money for personal expenses.
Furthermore, we introduced our hosting organisation, the Italian Cultural Institute, which also covers the role of sending organisation, should they wish to take part in some ESC project and be sent to Italy (or Europe) to carry out the same task we are dealing with here in Tbilisi. We underlined that there are tons of other projects across Europe that they can apply to through the ESC program, according to their preferences.
The result? They didn't seem to be aware of this initiative, but we seemed to see a strong interest in this opportunity and when asked "What do you think? Would you like to take part in one of these projects?” the response of some students has been positive. We are pleased to know that we have left a mark and have spread curiosity about the ESC project among young Georgians. It is definitely the best way to overcome cultural barriers, allowing a significant cultural exchange. Hopefully, we expect to to see these young students working in some NGO in Europe.