The story of an Italian guy who likes pineapple on pizza

Hej hej! My name is Gianluca and I’m from the homeland of Pizza, Pasta and Mandolino! Italy! Currently taking part in the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) for one year as a volunteer in Växjö for Nätverket SIP. I would like to tell you a bit about myself, and why I chose to do this change, to be a volunteer and what I have found here.

We are in March now, and I’ve been here for a little more than four months, and most of my free time was spent searching for food that is not (easily) found in Italy. And obviously, the first thing I ate was the Hawaiian Pizza (or pineapple pizza), ’cause why not? And it was (please Italy, don’t take away my citizenship) really good! Now all of you are thinking ’You said you wanted to talk about yourself, and the first thing you do is talking about food?’, and the answer is ’yes’, I was so focused on food, that I had no time to feel lost in this totally new environment. That’s the kind of person I am. 😀

What I can actually say about me is that, in the beginning, I was scared and anxious about doing this; new places, new people, new language… but the moment I got down from the plane, fear and anxiety totally left me. I was here, I had done it, this was the beginning of something new, and I had to make the most (food) out of it! I’m not going to tell you ’Everything is good’, or something like that, all things and all places have pros and cons. But it’s going to get better, and it IS getting better. One of the biggest pros (if not the biggest one?): The people. Nice, helpful and understanding. The cons? It’s rainy. And snowy. But I like the temperature, so not really a disadvantage for me, for now.

Gianluca taking out dogs from TLC center.

And the volunteering work? I’m loving it; lots of different tasks that work doesn’t get boring. I’m talking about hosting Yoga classes, taking out dogs, helping with Photo Editing and with Video Editing classes, checking and sorting books and cables (lots of cables). It takes time to adapt, but it’s totally worth it. On a side note, when I came here I was really uncomfortable with being near the dogs, but the fantastic friends made in the Tender Loving Caring center (TLC) helped me so much that now I’m not only able to be with them, I enjoy being with them! 😀

In the end, I’m happy to have made the choice to participate in this ESC program. These first months were really great. I was able to make  many new experiences, to learn so much and to already change something in this short amount of time! I can’t wait to see how much more this place and this volunteering work has to offer! And how many different types of food I can still try! 😀


This is me: I’m Gianluca, 27 years old and I’m from Avellino in Italy. I am ESC volunteer at SIP in the city of Växjö in Sweden from November 2021 to October 2022.