Virginia Secci

Improve your professionalism through European programmes.

di Carlo Coni

di Carlo Coni

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Discovering youth mobility with a young entrepreneur and her experiences with the Erasmus + programme

Virginia Secci is a regional touristic guide, professional trainer for communication and marketing and project coordinator of Giovani Iddocca Youth Association who told us about her experience with European youth mobility.

Hello Virginia, who are you and what you do.

I am a passionate traveler, a communicator fascinated by the stories, an enthusiastic weaver of relationships.

I am a freelancer in tourism and communication. I am a tourist guide and I work mainly with groups of international tourists that I accompany to the discovery of Sardinia.

I deal with the creation of tourist/cultural contents for the web and, since a few years, I am also a professional trainer for communication and marketing, following mainly young entrepreneurs through training and consulting for the start of their activities.

I am a passionate traveler, a communicator fascinated by the stories, an enthusiastic weaver of relationships.

Since 2011, you are currently, involved in European youth mobility programmes. In particular you are one of the founders of Giovani Iddocca Youth Association: how this was experience born and how did it develop?

In 2011 I discovered the European youth mobility programmes thanks to a training course about european project design promoted by the local touristic agency ” Perda Iddocca“.

From that course, an informal group of young people was born and we built and realized our first project, a youth exchange financed by the European Commission.
From that moment Giovani Iddocca are an adventure started and it is still going on!

We’ve built up a great deal of experience in this field and, even now, we continue to do so by participating in various opportunities offered by European programmes such as Erasmus+ .

In 2018 we officially became the cultural association Giovani Iddocca and, at the moment, we are one of the established realities that guarantee and offer participation in mobility programmes to Sardinian young people, especially those coming from remote and rural areas.

In recent years, through our association, many young people have had the opportunity to participate in numerous youth exchange projects and training courses around the European continent.

Since last year we are the referents and animators of the Local Agency Eurodesk of the Municipality of Genuri, in collaboration with the Municipalities of Albagiara and Collinas, with the aim of encouraging young people to participate in European programs for training, job, volunteering and especially with the commitment to train them in the planning of local and international youth initiatives.

The many youth projects in which you participated helped you for your personal and professional growth. What are the best and most important aspects you want to share about youth exchanges, training courses or European Solidarity Corp?

Participation in the old European Voluntary Service has been fundamental in my professional and personal path. I left for Albania with low self-esteem and came back enthusiastic and much more confident.

On a personal level, living two months in the Balkans has enriched me a lot, surrounded by people from different countries and backgrounds.

But I would like to focus on some skills that all these experiences have allowed me to acquire or refine.
Let’s start with English: my level has definitely improved, I have had a real breakthrough and thanks to the many projects in which I have participated and in which I have spoken exclusively English, I can say that I can now use this language professionally without difficulty.

Can you imagine a communicator who is terrified of speaking in public? That was me! I had to talk about the Erasmus+ programme to school groups and universities during my voluntary work.

If I think that now much of my work is based on public speaking, I smile and I am grateful for that trampoline that was my participation in volunteering. I could go on forever but I think it is enough not to bore the reader!

From a professional point of view, how has mobility helped you build a job?

International youth mobility has given me a great boost to build my profession which, as a freelancer, is based on autonomy. In fact, participating in youth initiatives abroad has given me the motivation to start my own business, thanks to the comparison with other European freelancers.

The comparison with international colleagues has also made me overcome the versatility of my skills, which I finally promote as an advantage of my expertise.

On a practical level I can give two concrete examples of how mobility has helped me to build and manage my work. The intercultural dimension that I experienced in different international experiences became useful to me when I found myself managing large groups of international tourists, often coming from different countries and different socio-cultural contexts.

Concerning the profession of trainer, when it was proposed to me to follow the entrepreneurs, I must say that I had never taught in my life, I found myself using many teaching methodologies that I had experienced and learned by participating in the many youth exchanges and training courses that I followed thanks to the Erasmus+ programme.

As a result of your activity and the many projects in which you have participated, you’ve become an ambassador of mobility. Why do you advise young people not to miss these opportunities?

Because they are a real living example of the effectiveness of mobility programmes. If I had stopped at academic training and internships, I would not have the same professional qualities that I think I have and that others recognise me. In reality, professional skills are the tip of the iceberg.

I think that personal growth is the main goal that can be achieved by participating in international mobility programs, real opportunities to learn, to know different cultures, to build relationships, to have fun and empathize, to feel valued for the qualities you have, without prejudice.

In fact what I always notice in the various youth exchanges and courses in which I participate is that in these contexts young people feel freer to express themselves, a passage that I consider fundamental for the growth of an individual.

How are you spending this quarantine? Are you working on any future projects?

Despite the quarantine keeping me stuck at home without being able to travel, I’m doing pretty well. I’m taking the opportunity to read many books, watch movies and TV series, but most of all I’m studying a new language (if not now when?! ).

I continue my work as a trainer following my trainees through virtual platforms, while on the other hand on the side of the profession of tour guide, at the moment, obviously, I’m stopped so I’m preparing for the end of the emergency trying to study some niche proposals for local customers, which so far I have little considered.

As you know, Treballu was born as a “space for collaboration, exchange and growth”. Do you think that places of coworking and collaboration are fundamental ingredients for the rebirth of communities when the emergency is over?

I believe in cooperation independently of emergencies and in the profession, I can say that I have drawn the most rewarding experiences from the cooperation.

I hope that the historical moment we are living is really an opportunity to make the most of the collaborations and I firmly believe that the communities that base their functioning on collaboration and exchange are the ones that can really start again after this emergency.

Coworking will certainly increase in the post-emergency phase, a situation that will require a more sustainable use of resources and therefore also the redesign of workplaces.

Above all, it will be the mentality that will change, or rather, those who approach the world of work with a view to sustainability based on cooperation and the sharing of physical and virtual spaces will be the winners.

Segui Virginia

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