One of the most difficult things to do as human beings is getting out of the comfort zone and find ourselves in new situations, changing friends, changing the place of work or changing the country we live in are some of the examples of changes that challenge us and allow us to grow, but what happen when we expose ourselves to all this situations at the same time…
Leaving your country, changing the stability of your work, arrive to a place where you don’t understand a word, where the customs are different, the food is different is a huge challenge even for people who called themselves “independent”.
Well, that’s exactly what I did, I leave my country, my family and my language behind to be a part of a volunteer program and frankly there’s no handbook to teach you how to overcome the change and although the experience of every person is unique, is always good to have someone giving you an advise from time to time. That’s how I see the on-arrival training, as an opportunity to share with people who is living the same experience as you, people who could became of great help during difficult times that may come.
It lasted 6 days where we received a small introduction the polish culture and the polish language, we received a series of tools to plan, prepare and do workshops, we had a cultural integration between 12 different nationalities, we worked on teamwork and also we received advises on how to face the problems and solving conflicts. This last part, in my opinion, was the most relevant one because during the volunteering time we will have problems, it could happen at the project, with the people we live with or where we work and it’s good to acquire this skills in order to face this kind of situations properly and therefore be able to cop the volunteering year (or months) in the best way possible.
The training took place in Warsaw and we stayed on the “Agrykola” hotel, a place that although is located in a big city, it allows you to somehow disconnect of the city life style. The schedule was simple: breakfast at 7:30-9:30, then the first session from 9:30-13:00, lunch time from 13:00 to 15:00 and the second session 15:00-18:00 and “dinner” at 18:00-19:00. During each session we also had a coffee break. All sessions were held according to the schedule, and with a dynamic that managed to attract the attention and managed to keep the group’s energy always high, something that is not easy when you work with a group of 26 people of different ages and different nationalities in the same room, but we had really good trainers, two people that you can see that they are well prepared and that they actually like what they do.
Six days, twelve nationalities, two trainers, many activities... ONE experience that allows you to find people who has the same goals as you and gives you a series of tools to make your experience as a volunteer even more meaningful.