From Sardinia to Edinburgh
We’re excited to introduce another one of our incredible volunteers, Vittoria, who writes about her experience as a newcomer to Edinburgh and becoming a Festival City Volunteer.
I’m from Sardinia and I’d been working as a Controller in the Financial Services for 17 years. Last year, I decided to quit because I wanted to challenge myself to experience living in another country and to learn about people and different cultures. I also wanted to improve my English.
I knew I wanted to come to Scotland because I had watched many documentaries, seen photos and had heard about Scotland’s history. From the moment I arrived, I felt charmed by the history and architecture of Edinburgh and the greenery! Initially, I stayed in Edinburgh for a little over a month and studied English in a private school. When I returned to Italy, I knew I wanted to come back and so made plans to spend the summer in Edinburgh – and here I am!
Before arriving in Edinburgh, people always told me that the British weren’t that friendly. This isn’t true! I’ve met so many fantastic people and whenever I’ve been lost or I don’t understand something, strangers stop to help me and people speak slowly to make sure I catch their words.
I was eager to keep improving my English so when I saw an advert on Facebook to become a Festival City Volunteer, I was instantly excited. I thought that it would be a fantastic opportunity to get to speak English, to listen, get to know people and to see the festivals and their performances up close. Being a Festival City Volunteer is an amazing way of getting to know all of the festivals and to help people from every age and culture.
Overall, being a Festival City Volunteer has been incredible. I love to help people because it’s a great way to feel good. I’ve only had a few shifts and I have already spoken to so many people, had amazing conversations and felt like I have really made a difference.
I have also enjoyed being able to attend cultural experiences as part of the Festival City Volunteer programme. I was able to go to the preview of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo which was breathtaking – I was speechless.
Most of all, the experience of being a volunteer in the festivals and getting to watch performances has inspired me to keep changing, to continue challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone and do things I never thought I’d be able to do.
I think for anyone else who was thinking about visiting Edinburgh and staying for a while, I’d tell them to just come. It’s possible to get by with very little English as everyone is so accommodating and they try to explain things as easy and slowly as possible.
Edinburgh is an amazing city and I would love to come back because it’s a city that has caught my heart.
Thank you, Vittoria, for sharing your experiences. The Festival City Volunteers team is lucky to have you!
If you’re thinking about coming to Edinburgh or have just arrived and are looking to get involved in activities, improve your English or make connections, get in touch with the Welcoming Association. As part of their mission, the Welcoming Association supports migrants to build new lives in Edinburgh, providing a wide range of classes and activities, all available on a free of charge, drop in basis. They create opportunities for locals and newcomers to come together, so that experiences can be shared and diversity and learning together can be celebrated.