Noëline’s story as volunteer in Abatino Animal Shelter

Noëline arrived from France in September 2022 and volunteered in Abatino Animal Shelter, Italy, until June 2023, supporting the sanctuary and the rescue centre for local and exotic fauna.

The project was funded by the European Commission through the European Solidarity Corps program and the Italian Agency for Youth.

This is her experience!

Hi, my name is Noëline, and from September 2022 to June 2023, I had the opportunity to travel from France to Italy in order to participate in a European Solidarity Corps project coordinated by Associazione Kora. For nine months, I volunteered in an animal shelter called “Parco Faunistico di Piano dell’Abatino”.

When you decide to leave abroad for nine months, you may find it difficult to leave your comfort zone. Before setting off, I was really scared to leave my life in France. I would have to go and live in a foreign country and temporarily lose sight of all my landmarks, my habits, my acquaintances. I didn’t know what to expect. Nevertheless, leaving and living through this adventure was the best decision I have ever made.

After arriving in Italy, all my fears were gone. I met incredibly friendly people who taught me how to work in the park, how to take care of the animals, and how to speak Italian. They helped me in many situations, going above and beyond their mere role of colleague to become my friends.

By volunteering at the park, I discovered the missions of an animal caretaker. Every day, I was directly in contact with all kinds of animals, whether exotic animals living in the park or injured animals native to Italy requiring care. In learning how to prepare the food, how to clean the enclosures, how to create enrichments and how to provide care, I really lived an incredible yet instructive experience.

This trip has helped me reflect on myself, my skills, my limits and abilities. I discovered how to be flexible and autonomous, which was very new to me. I learned to approach people with ease and to be more outgoing.

Going abroad had given me the opportunity to explore Italy further. I made several trips to the beautiful city of Rome multiple times, with its monuments, its historical heritage, and more importantly its food. Indeed, I was able to savour typical Italian pizza, artisanal ice cream, and pasta of all shapes matched with all kinds of sauce. In addition, I went to the mountains to discover small Italian villages and the many natural parks that surround them.

Finally, I just had to take the plunge and decide to go on an adventure. I learned a lot and living abroad. Volunteering has changed my life for the better. I brought back wonderful memories of these past nine months and I have grown independent throughout this experience. I hope that you who read this article will also have the opportunity to live your own journey by participating in a similar project.

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