Hi, my name is Chiara and I am 23 years old. In May of this year, I accidentally came across the Facebook page of the Kora, thanks to which I discovered the existence of many interesting international projects. It didn’t seem possible. I could have an experience abroad without paying anything!  So, without thinking about it too much, I sent my application for a project in Portugal on environmental sustainability and, after a month, I packed my bags and left as a volunteer for the European Solidarity Corps. The two-month experience in Portugal, together with three other Italian volunteers, was spent at the “Quinta das Relvas” farm, where I learned a lot, both practically and theoretically, about permaculture and bio-construction.

The activities went from taking care of animals and plants, how to manage a sustainable vegetable garden, how to set up a tent, to the construction of an entire house, starting from the foundations, with eco-friendly techniques. I met people who were really prepared and ready to share their knowledge and experience. It was also a perfect opportunity to improve and practice English.

Another important aspect in my opinion has been to come into contact with cultures and languages more or less different from ours, in addition to the links that have been created over these two months. I understood the importance of how to relate to others, the importance of their stories, their nuances. I understood that we all make more mistakes than we are willing to admit and yet mistakes have taught me much more than anything else. The experience was overall a pleasant and instructive parenthesis, or perhaps a chapter, in my story. It doesn’t matter if life will take me in completely different directions. What is certain is that what I learned at Quinta from Relvas has indelibly marked my way of seeing the world and will certainly influence my future choices.


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