During the week from 4 to September 8 we had, finally, our on-arrival training in Sofia, organized by the Bulgarian National Agency at the Ramada Hotel, with the participation of 30 volunteers.
The main objective of this on-arrival training is to introduce the volunteers to the host country and, most important, preparing them for the service period and the EVS experience. On arrival training helps the volunteers adapt to cultural and personal challenges. It allows volunteers to get to know each other and to build a network of friendship.
I met other EVS volunteers from around Bulgaria and I was surprised at how many different nations gathered together: volunteers from Germany, Romania, Spain, Italy, France, Turkey and more. The hosting organizations of the volunteers had different profiles, the majority dedicated to work in youth centers, in sport or with disabled people.
The 5-day-program, led by a group of youth trainers, gave us the opportunity to introduce themselves and our hosting organizations, to form new connections between each other and to get to know more about our right and responsibilities during our EVS experience.
We took part in a lot of different activity, with the objective to gain the tools to face every possible situation. We spoke about our own cultures and also about the culture of Bulgaria, our role in this context, how much and if we have to influence or changes what surrounds us. We spoke about why we wanted to participate in EVS, and all of us presented the organizations or projects we would be working with for the next months.
We had a session of guided meditation, helping us to reflect on our experience with EVS, how our perspective might have changed since we first applied and to help us to focus on our idea of personal project. Very important, for me, has been the session on the behavioral models and the methods on the resolution of conflicts inside the group that gave me a lot more than expected.
We met volunteers from Mid-Term Evaluation and with them we have shared advice, activity and wonderful moments together. I’m looking forward to staying in touch with all the other EVS volunteers and using my new knowledge to have a great EVS experience.