- Can you introduce yourself in a few words ?
My name is Adriana Pizzi, I am 32 years old, I am Venezuelan and I did a master’s degree in ecotourism in Scotland where I lived for 3 years.
I am vegetarian, I love nature and travel. I am such a jovial person that I have wrinkles from smiling.
I love living in the tropics and I’m in love with Abidjan.
- What motivated you to choose Train & Travel? and how long have you been there?
When I finished my studies in ecotourism, I wanted to work in an African country in this field. Most of the jobs that caught my eye were in West Africa (i.e. I had to speak French) and they also require an “African experience”. So I thought it would be better if I learned French and looked for a volunteer position to start acquiring this “African experience”.Since my brother lives in Abidjan ,it was logical to seek opportunities in Ivory Coast. In my research, I saw Train & Travel, an association with which I identified as soon as I read what it was doing . Following this, I sent an email to Bénédicte to let her know of my interest in being part of her association and she very kindly accepted me.
I spent ten(10) wonderful months within Train & Travel as a project manager
- How was your integration into the association?
It was both easy and difficult. It was easy because the team gave me a very warm and difficult time because when I arrived I didn’t speak French so communication was difficult and everything was slow for me. But between English, the signs, the smiles and the translator, we have always managed to communicate effectively.
- What has Train & Travel brought you personally and professionally?
These ten(10) months have been marked by considerable learning and growth both personally and professionally. On a personal level, it was difficult to take a position without speaking French but Bénédicte always gave me a lot of self-confidence and constantly told me not to let that be a limitation which is true and I am very grateful to her. Professionally, I gained experience as a team leader. Working with a totally different culture permits me to understand that we shouldn’t set barriers or limits , but we have to knock on many doors and that there will always be someone ready to help and contribute to the association.
Working at Train & Travel has opened new doors for me. Thanks to the work here, to learning French, to the “African experience” I was able to find my new job. In life,every door opens a new one.
- Have you met some difficulties?
Yes, of course. But every difficulty has a solution as long as you don’t get discouraged. During the project, we encountered a lot of last minute changes, not to mention some inconveniences but that did not stop us because our determination was greater. Together, we have taken up these challenges and, above all, learned lessons.
- What is the best memory you have of your volunteer work at Train & Travel ?
The implementation of the project. Indeed, thanks to the project we were able to give free training to 21 women so they become tourist guides.
Seeing the result of all the efforts put by the team has been very gratifying. I Was excited to go to work every day and see these participants learn things they didn’t know before, without of course forgetting the day of graduation, a moment that was very emotional.
- What are your plans after this experience?
I will live in Sierra Leone where I will be responsible for the ecotourism of the <<Tacugama Chimpanzee
- What advice would you give to someone who wants to volunteer at Train & Travel ?
That there are so many things to do! When I was at Train & Travel, I never considered it volunteering, even though it was. For me,it was a full-time job,so I committed myself and fully invested in our mission. If you want to contribute to the empowerment of Ivorian women and if you believe in the potential of tourism for the development of a country, Train & Travel is the right address. It will make you acquire knowledge and skills always with an optimistic mindset. Do not hesitate to send an email to become a volunteer of the association. You will not regret it and it will open many doors for you.