In November, the six volunteers of Ostrava made their way through half of Czech Republic, off to the small town of Kralupy nad Vltavou to finally attend their On-Arrival training!
In this article, though, I want to focus more on the stuff that happened and the experiences we had apart from the official program - because there are surely a lot of stories to be told!
Most of us didn’t really know what to expect, only we were told by ex-volunteers and coordinators that the on-arrival was a really special experience. We would meet a lot of people, learn some new things about Czechia and have a lot of fun. And hell yes, we had!
The whole “getting-to-know-each-other” part went quite well, we were 26 volunteers from about 10 different countries. I was really happy to also meet some Germans again, living among a group of people were 2 guys are French and 2 people are Spanish can be quite exhausting and sometimes frustrating. “Bora Bora” unfortunately isn’t always working. For those new to this topic: “Bora Bora” is a common, very important rule that ensures everybody speaks English or another language everybody knows in international groups like this one we were in.
On the on-arrival some people where quite disappointed by the French. We had A LOT of them and after the program they were always a really closed group, making it hard for everybody else to join.
I have to say, it’s not always like this, I made some good experience with the Spanish in Ostrava, we went to a Chocolate Festival, four Spanish and a German, and all of them really made amazing efforts to speak English only. I was so proud! :3
We all met some totally awesome people on this training course; intercultural events always bring up so many interesting stories! I was actually so amazed that I started a kind of journal called “People of my EVS” where I will collect photos and short texts or quotes about some persons I encountered in my year here.
Essi is a lovely girl from the north of Finland.
On the on-arrival training we were complaining about the sun going down already at 4 pm but she told us that where she lives, in the winter they almost have two months of darkness! Also, in the summer her town lives in full brightness for about a month, she told us about some crazy festivals at that time where people are drunk or high the whole day and totally lose track of time. They often don’t know if its day or night.
For us, this is insane and almost impossible to imagine. I would be SO depressed after 1 month without sun, I am sure. ^^
Essi was a little depressed for another reason though, at home she has snow at her front door for about 7 month in the year. Whereas in Czech Republic, there was still no sight of snow at the end of November. Until the 18th when we woke up with a little snow all over Kralupy. Essi was so happy she almost cried! And then there were also my Spanish Ostrava-neighbour Jorge who didn’t really experience snow in is life and also Pedro from Portugal who seriously has never ever seen snow! Which is also extreme for some of us. After all, I took some adorable pictures of Jorge touching the snow, throwing a snowball and stamping in a frozen puddle for the first time, having the fun of his life. It was amazing to see all those different reactions!
In the program of the on-arrival we had some really useful Czech lessons, some help with our mini-projects, the opportunity to talk with girls from the Czech national agency about some problems, a short trip to the mountains and so much more! Even though it was so much fun, it was just SO SO exhausting. So after this week almost all of us took a day off to just do nothing for a day ^^
But after all we had some nice days and finished our experience with a (really cold!) day in beautiful Prague! For sure we made some new friends in this time and for sure we will meet them again!