Besides work I spent a lot of time with some of the other volunteers, sharing amazing moments from the daily life, funny daily till the hardest moments, supporting each other not to fall in the path. I also spent a lot of time around the city, doing sport, meeting people and trying to discover every corner and making the city more and more mine.
Cultural shock for me was the way of seeing the disabled in Russia. The impression that I had is that they are so much less protected compared to other countries. I have never seen propaganda about people with disabilities, few suitable infrastructures and so many not educated people work with them.
Weather is St.Petersburg is much better than how I imagined. Probably was also one of the warmer winter of these years but it wasn’t a nightmare as I heard from some people. On the other hand is true that the weather changes really fast so is better keep ever the umbrella in the backpack. The most difficult thing about the weather is the absence of sun in some months.
Shag Navstrechu is an organisation that gave me an amazing opportunity and helped me to grow up and develop skills fundamentals both from personal and work side. I hope to have again the possibility in future to be part of this group.
Most memorable moments of this experience were see the progresses of some kids of the orphanage. See that what we were doing was working on and that kids started to open their heart to us were moments unforgettable. I also had many memorable moments with other volunteers. Trips together, daily life and sharing experience helped us to build an awesome connection.
Biggest challenges were understand the russian job approach to people with disabilities, different from the italian and many other european systems where you need for example a special education for work with disable people, especially with kids. Another big challenge was meet russian friends because surprisingly even among young people the knowledge of english language is not so much widespread.
In working with kids it was really difficult with some of them, to come in their own space, make them trust us and giving us the opportunity to do something constructive for them but fortunately was just a matter of time. It was not easy even approach with some kids because I was not able to manage some diseases, I had no idea about what to do and specialists were fundamentals to remedy this.