środa, 28 sierpnia 2013

EVS On-Arrival Training

Before going into details about the exact events, let me tell you in a few words what an on-arrival training is. This is an obligatory training for all EVS volunteers during which they are given more information about the host country, they learn how to overcome their fears concerning their projects and get to know other EVS volunteers. It is all happening in the form of interactive workshops and group works.

We were really excited to finally arrive to Hotel Agrykola which was our accommodation and main place of activities. We had lunch altogether, then it was time to start our first workshop. After a quick introduction, our trainers, Marta and Wojtek took us to Łazienki Park as it is in the neighborhood of Agrykola. The task was to form random groups of three and until the next stop the group had to discuss certain questions.  It really helped a lot to get to know some things about the other volunteers. Then came a little Geography test. Firstly, we had to form the map of the word on the basis of where we are from and then, the map of  Poland, on the basis of where our hosting organization is. In the evening some of us decided to take a walk in the city and we ended up in Stare Miasto.

The next day, in groups the task was to have a little role play and to find solutions and give advice to volunteers who are not happy with their project for some reason. After this, we were focusing on our own projects. We made posters, booklets and then presented all the positive and negative things about the flat, work, language support, mentor, etc, etc. We also had the chance to explore the differences between our cultures and to find out why some things are the way they are in Poland.

Wednesday came, the programme included a guided tour in Warsaw. As it was raining quite intensively, we finished our journey earlier then planned and went to the Historical Institute where our guide showed us interesting pictures and videos about communistic times. In the evening we got a little surprise from the National Agency: we had dinner in a fancy restaurant.

On Thursday, we were exploring Warsaw on the basis of a chosen topic. The where I was member of had the topic of young people. We visited the university, the library of the university, some cafes and Łazienki Park. In the afternoon it was time to edit all the materials and information that we collected and the next day it was time for presentations. But before that we had another nice surprise. A traditional Polish dance group was waiting for us in the meeting room after our coffee break and gave a performance. We also had the chance to try Polish dances like polonez, krakowiak and we we also sang together with the band and dancers.

Time was going really fast, everybody was having a great time and it was our last but one day. We started with presentations of the previous day’s group works. The topics were finding similar organizations in Warsaw, alternative Warsaw, religions in Warsaw, young people and Poland after the Second World War. After all these, we were talking about some practical information concerning YouthPass and then the activities continued at different places of the hostel. I was participating in the workshop about activities for kids and then went upstairs where we had a little Polish lesson. Then, we were watching videos and presentations of the volunteer’s countries.

The last day, we had some teambuilding games and discussed methods of learning. After the final evaluation it was soon time to say goodbye. Us volunteers could stay in the hostel until the next morning, so after lunch most of us went for a little sightseeing in Warsaw.

All I can say is that this week was one of the best things so far during my EVS. I got to know very useful things, I learned a lot even without realizing it. A big big thanks to our trainers and all the volunteers who participated. I hope to see you soon!

What have I learned?

I learned about Polish culture and history, how to live with 5 other girls in the same room at a hostel and how

to get lost in Warsaw. After this week I feel more conscious about how to do my EVS service in the most useful and still enjoyable way. 

How did it affect others?

Probably the most effect we had on each other. With the help of our great trainers, we had the chance to develop ourselves. The employees of the hostel saw happy people, trying to speak Polish. (with more or less success) They might have not enjoyed our company during the evenings when we were up late and talked a lot. We also met a lot of people during our discoveries in Warsaw. Some of them did not care what we are doing there but most of them were really friendly and eager to get to know why we are in Poland.


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