Meeting with like-minded people

A must-do for ever EVSler are two seminaries in the land of their project - one after arriving (On-Arrival) and one around the middle of the stay (Midterm).

Aim of the On-Arrival-Training is it to learn general information about the EVS and to become clearer about your own project and role in it, and to meet other volunteers who are in the country for a similar timeframe, to have a few like-minded people in the same situation that you can contact when you feel like it.

Of course the training shouldn’t usually take place 2 1/2 months after the beginning of the project, but because of the summer break where no trainings take place it was unavoidable in my case.

By now I am actually very happy about that.

Because the people I’ve met here are absolutely wonderful.

We’re a very colourful bunch of people from different countries, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Romania, Armenia, Finland. Despite all the differences between our characters we manage to find similarities and conversational topics in next to no time.

Day One: Arrival and Get-To-Know

If you spend one full week on a limited space (in this case the dorms of the Central European University) with a bunch of people, and you meet these people again at the Midterm-training, getting to know each other is of vital importance.

And with so many different people, super interesting, too. Instead of a simple round of introductions we are thrown into cold water as a group and have to solve 25 tasks ins 25 minutes, together.

With means like these and other group-feeling strengthening games afternoon turns to evening pretty soon and strangers into friends.

Day Two: Trust is Trump

To strengthen the group as a whole further we spend the morning with trust games in groups up to 10 people - we’re 28 EVS volunteers in total in this training. These games wake the team spirit and especially trust. A major challenge for me was it to actually rely on other people - not to trust, but to give up control.

These games bound the group together a lot. But if you get handed through a spider web made of robes by four people only to be accepted by the other four people on the other side, that’s just natural, I guess.

Day Three: Visit of the National Agency

But of course the On-Arrival-Training is not supposed to only consist of games and fun - we are also here to learn something about the Erasmus+ insitutions and background information about the EVS.

For this reason we are visited by two employees of the Hungarian National Agency - the NA manages the EVSler in their project countries and offers further support on questions and problems.

This means for us: thinking of lots of interesting questions and getting answers and explanations to all possible themes - which places in Hungary should you visit while you’re here, what legal effects does the change of the EVS to the ESC (European Solidarity Corps) imply, how do I use Cigna correctly (the Erasmus Health Insurance).

In the end there are a few questions we would have liked to discuss a little more, but all the open points have been addressed.

In the evening we meet up - without the teamleaders - in our trainings room and play a few games togehter. It’s great in what a short time we managed to grow together to one big family.

Day Four: Ralley through Budapest

Not all the projects are as close to Budapest as mine - and so a trip through Budapest can’t miss in this training.

To make the whole thing a little more interesting we seperate in groups of 4-5 people and get a bunch of tasks to complete (if possible) and document our progress on Facebook. There are a few more serious tasks, like making a survey about volunteering with the people we meet on the street, but also very funny tasks like bathing your naked feed in the Danube.

After the trip all the groups meet again to roam the streets on their own, without rules and without duties.

Which ends up in us staying out into the early hours of the morning in Blaha, wandering through the streets from pub to pub, always searching for more music and affordable beer.

My own support group

The training is not over yet but I already know that I want to keep in contract with at least a few of these people for a very long time. They are the ones sharing most of the experiences I make here and can understand me the best when I start talking about my project.

We already plan to visit each other in Hungary - and later in our own home countries.

I am really looking forward to spending some more time with them.

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