In this short article I share my experiences of the fist two weeks in my ESC project in the Czech Republik.
I arrived in Ostrava, the third biggest city in Czechia, on the 18th of September (a Friday) and spend the whole weekend getting used to my new life in this to me completely foreign country. I met my flatmate for the first time and spend all of my free time with my parents, who stayed til the 20th and discovered the city with me.
On the following day, Monday the 21st, the real adventure began, when all of us volunteers began our project with four days of teambuilding. We got to know each other and our coordinators during fun games and interesting presentations centred around our project. Although I was very tired everyday after our program, I felt good and optimistic during these few days of teambuilding. When Friday rolled around, I was excited to finally move to the place I can now call my home for the next 10 months. Yes, my flatmate and I had to move again after the first week of our project in Czechia, because the school we are working at now is in Frýdek-Místek a village near Ostrava.
My first day of work was Wednesday the 30th, because Monday was a public holiday and on Tuesday we had to go the doctor to do a general check-up. After we went to the doctor our coordinator in the school, Helena, drove us to the school and introduced us to the teachers, who were all very friendly although communicating with most of them is kind of difficult due to the lack of knowledge regarding the English language on their side.
This difficulty of communication made my fist few workdays pretty tough and I wasn’t very happy. In such a new environment you are normally dependent on good communication to introduce yourself and build a good relationship with your colleagues and in my case the children we are working with, but this was not possible and I was overwhelmed with this new situation.
I obviously knew that this problem would occur, but still it was pretty hard to accept. But enough of this complaining, even though almost no one could talk to me in English, the kids just found other ways the get a point across. Through hand gestures and and pointing and different things everyone got what they wanted in the end.
All in all my first two weeks in Czechia were filled with both positive and negative new experiences, but I guess that is normal. I will just continue learning Czech and will try to teach the kids some English so we can speak to each other in the future :).