From Sicily with love: Interreg Italia-Malta, volunteering at JobMatch2020

Hi! My name is Alma I’m 28 and I’m from Galicia, a beautiful region in the North of Spain. I studied Law and a master in International Studies, and since June I am in Palermo as a member of the Interreg Volunteer Youth (IVY). I volunteer at ARCES, a non-for profit organization established as a University College of Merit, developing the JobMatch2020 project.

ARCES's team

Why did I become an Interreg Volunteer?

One thing I will always regret is that I did not have an Erasmus stay when I was in college. I don’t know why I decided not to go, but I’ve been missing an international experience since then. Two years ago, I started a traineeship in the Europe Direct office in A Coruña, this was an amazing period of my life, I developed a lot of skills and I learned a lot about the European Union and the importance of the European Cohesion Policy and the different Interreg Programs. When I was about to finish my traineeship, I found out about the Interreg Volunteer Youth opportunities and I felt that was my chance not only to finally have the international experience I always wanted, but also to cooperate and collaborate in the development of a European project.

Why JobMatch2020?

When I was checking the volunteer offers on the IVY website I considered several options, but when I read about the JobMatch2020 project I made my decision. This project is focused on facilitate the mobility of workers from the Malta-Sicily region in the fields of circular and blue economy. Both islands have a big blue economy traditional sector, as it also does my own region, so I felt like there was kind of a connection there. On the other hand, I think that a circular economy system is one of the main goals we have to achieve in the following years to guarantee a sustainable way of living. Keeping both things in mind, JobMatch2020 became the right choice for me. (And also, Palermo in Summer, who could resist that?)

Ok, but what is exactly my role?

If you have ever played an online RPG this can be easily explained: I’m the support. This means I’m here to help. I carry out a wide range of tasks every day: searching relevant information, writing articles, making calls, translating documents… Anything! Due to my previous experience working in the European field I feel like I’m really trying my best to help develop this project. ARCES office has a great multicultural environment, there’s always something new to learn and share and this is really giving me an even more enriching experience.

And what about Palermo?

Every time someone asks me what is like to live in Palermo, I always feel like I can’t answer this properly. Palermo is just unbelievable, as soon as you arrive, you feel at home. Friendly people, beautiful places to visit, amazing beaches, something new to discover in every corner and, of course, delicious food. Any cons? Well, sometimes it’s too hot here and if you are not used to it, as is my case, it can be a little hard, but for that there’s granita!

I have finished my volunteering period in December, so if you want to stay updated on my experience you can follow me on Twitter (@AlmaGonzalez176)!

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