New OPES Volunteers join EUSA

New OPES Volunteers join EUSA

The European University Sports Association (EUSA) with the EUSA Institute have received four new volunteers who have joined for a 10-month internship at our office and partner organisations in Ljubljana, Slovenia, supported by the national civil service in Italy in cooperation with the Italian Organisation for Sports Education (OPES).

The programme is designed for young male and female Italian citizens aged between 18 and 28, and helps provide them with opportunities to work in the non-profit sector in Italy as well as selected organisations abroad.

Following a rigorous application process, Arianna Caruso, Giovanni Fabris, Ludovica Appetiti and Valeria Leoci were selected as the four volunteers to join EUSA and the partner organisations in Slovenia, based on their passion for sport and their drive to work in the field of sport.

After a month’s training in Rome, three of the new volunteers were able to travel to Ljubljana just before the Coronavirus pandemic worsened in Europe, but were unfortunately unable to be joined by their fourth colleague before the borders closed.

Amid the easing of lockdown measures in Slovenia, the three volunteers in Ljubljana were this week officially welcomed into the EUSA Office.

All four volunteers have been kept busy with various activities, tasks and projects from home as well under digital and online guidance from EUSA and OPES staff members, and are understandably eager to meet the entire team once social distancing restrictions have been eased, which will allow for the full contingent of EUSA staff to return to the office.

Here is a bit more about each of the new volunteers:

Arianna Caruso defines herself as a sportswoman: that’s why she imprinted her professional career in Sports Science, having undertaken a Masters’ Degree in Sports Science and Technique in 2018. From the age of 9, she practiced Track and Field sports, specializing in Hammer and Discus Throw over the next decade. However, from an early age, she was fascinated by martial arts, and, in her university years, she tried Judo, Tai Chi Chuan and Boxing. It is now over a year that she is devoted completely to Aikido, her new passion.  

Arianna joined EUSA to increase her knowledge about sport and sport activities in a new and different intercultural and international environment. Arianna is not new to volunteering: she is a Red Cross volunteer who has been very active in this period of the COVID-19 emergency, helping out her hometown with her Red Cross Colleagues. Hopefully, she will soon join her colleagues Ludovica, Giovanni, and Valeria in Ljubljana once the restrictions in Italy will allow her to finally depart, so to start this new sports experience in another country!

OPES volunteer Arianna

Giovanni Fabris graduated with a degree in Economics and Statistics at the University of Turin in March, discussing his thesis remotely from Ljubljana because of COVID-19. He decided to take a gap year with the aim of clearing his mind about what to do and study after his Bachelor’s Degree.

Giovanni chose to join the EUSA team because he finds the challenge of promoting sport and healthy lifestyles in an international environment particularly motivating and suited to his interests. In fact, sport has always played a major role in Giovanni’s life: since his childhood, he has been involved in several different sports, including football, tennis, swimming, skiing and volleyball. Last summer he discovered road cycling, and has since developed a growing passion for it. Giovanni has previously taken part in two international volunteering projects related to archaeology, but this represents his first long-term experience abroad.

OPES Volunteer Giovanni

Ludovica Appetiti hails from Rome, where over the last few years she has practiced as a dog trainer, after attending a professional training course. From a young age, she was fascinated by sport, participating in different kinds of activities such as volleyball, swimming and krav maga. For several years she has also practiced equestrian and skiing.

Ludovica loves to spend her time outdoors, where she gets to embrace her true passion: hiking and trekking. She chose to spend the next ten months as a volunteer in Slovenia at EUSA to be in contact with a lot of sports activities, to be able to work in a totally new area, learn new skills and, last but not least, to enjoy Slovenia’s beautiful nature. Her previous volunteering activities were carried out in dog shelters in Rome, and this is her first long period of volunteering abroad.

OPES Volunteer Ludovica

Valeria Leoci comes from Brindisi, graduating from the University of Bari with a Masters’ Degree in Primary Teacher Education and from the University of Basilicata with a Masters’ Degree in Tourism and Cultural Heritage Studies, following which she gained work experience as a primary school teacher. Since 2015 she has participated in different Erasmus+ projects, including a youth exchange and a training course in the field of sport, and took part in the European Youth Event 2018 at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

She recently volunteered for Ashoka Italia Onlus and in Autumn 2019 she attended a short term European Voluntary Service project at Ocean Znanja NGO in Zagreb, Croatia, during which she facilitated two sport activities for high school students. She decided to involve herself in civil service at EUSA to experience promoting sports among university students in an international context and to enjoy life in Ljubljana and Slovenia, which she loves for its beauty, incredible nature and good practices. This is her first long term experience abroad. Valeria enjoys doing outdoor activities like hiking to explore new places and in recent years she started to learn dancing, trying out different genres.

OPES Volunteer Ludovica

For more information about the Italian Civil Service and OEPS, please visit www.serviziocivile.gov.it and www.opesitalia.it.