My first volunteering experience : Zula

Zula participated in the group volunteering experience VOL’IN GREEN last summer and is giving us a testimony of her experience

Hors Pistes offered to 25young people from Europe to experiment «team volunteering» with the European Solidarity Corps in Marseille (France). This 30 day experience (in may-june 2021) gathered together 25 young people from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Romania, Lithuania and Georgia in Marseille to :

• Discover environmental associations based in Marseille and the region (national parcs, pedagogical farms).
• Exchange about healthy and responsible lifestyles.
• Develop projects around environmental protection and biodiversity.
• Share moments of collectiv life in an intercultural community.       

Since I finished school I always wanted to take part in a project abroad: on my list there was ESC, of course, work-away and au pair as well but I never found the courage to propose myself for those spots; until one day I saw an Eufemia (an assocaiation based in Torino) post on Instagram about a project regarding ecology, zero-waste and lowering our impact on the earth so finally I decided to try, I sent my application and they took me.

It was one month volunteering divided in four weeks, each of them in different locations, its name was VOL’IN GREEN


ECOLOC  ( Barret sur Meouge)

On 17-05 I left my house took a train and arrived in Marseille with two other girls from Turin. We stayed one night in the city with some other participants from Spain and Germany ready the next day to go to our first location: BARRET SUR MEOUGE. The group was complete, the Romanians and the French joined us.

In Ecoloc new things we’re waiting for us like activities for getting to know each other, the creation of groups for cleaning and cooking and the start of the tradition of the Time-Keeper. It didn’t take us long to bond and to get used to the group dynamic. We explored Ecoloc and its surroundings, set all together some rules for the community life, drawn Picasso portraits and did a lot of funny games.

On the weekend we went hiking and to take a bath in the freezing river of that beautiful village. Sadly we packed all ours things, cleaned everything and got ready to leave Ecoloc.



We arrived in Guillestre, a little city in the mountain. This week was about working with the local farmers, learning new techniques for an eco sustainable agricolture. We had fun cooking in a professional kitchen and connecting with the nature, the air was super fresh and clean and the view was breathtaking. One morning we woke up super early to watch the sunrise but was a total failure because a big mountain was in front of it.

Thanks to a festival we met the local community and we even organised a pizza night during the weekend with the farmers that we helped .

Just like this, the second week came to an end but the environment that we created in the group was unbelievable.. in only two weeks we bonded like we knew each other from years.



The next location was a little island in front of Cannes, that was absolutely awesome: the view, the weather, the crystal clear water, everything was perfect.                                        This days were concentrated in activities like stone cutting, painting walls and doors, well cleaning, soil brushing and tile placement. We had more free time that we used for exploring that little beauty; we celebrate a “wedding” where I was in the role of the priest. I enjoyed every single moment of those days.

We cooked an unforgettable homemade pasta and organised a football tournament.        On the weekend we slit, some of us went to visit Cannes and some others went to Nice where took place a feminist demonstration.

On Monday we packed everything and with our strength brought all to the train station from where we took the train for our last location ..



We had super busy days in Marseille, we met lots of associations that are active in the city like eco farms, city gardens and social associations like l’aprèsM. We also took the opportunity to visit the city and discover places wher youngs meet and hang out. The day of my birthday I let all the volunteers shave my head was really intense moment and they surprised me with a birthday ceremony.

Everything good comes to an end, a sad one, the last day was super emotional we wrote on a paper placed on our back how much we meant to each others.. it was devastating.

I stayed a little bit longer with some volunteers so we didn’t had to face the reality, we hang out, went to the calanques, climbed in the surroundings, went to the beach but eventually also those days were over and we had to say goodbye.

This experience meant so much to me: every day I was learning a lot about the topic, the people and also about myself. I’m finally able to speak English without being ashamed, after the project I took part to two youth exchanges and now I’m about to start my long term volunteering experience in Marseille ready to learn much more and meet a lot of people, all this thanks to that courage that I found a random day of April.


To know more about the project, check out this page!

VOL’in GREEN (group volunteer)


This project has been implemented thanks to the support of the European Union (through the European Solidarity Corps program) and OFAJ through the program « Prends ta planète en main ! »