On-arrival training in Toledo!

I didn’t have any expectations about on-arrival training. I wasn’t excited nor scared. Maybe because since I arrived to Spain, my life has changed so much that I have decided to be open for experiencing new things without unnecessary analysis.

The journey started at the train station in Toledo. Two of the coordinators greeted us and led us to our apartments. They were speaking  only Spanish so at first I didn’t understand that our apartments take place in a castle!  For sure I am not a princess but I was rapturous.

We had a few minutes for ourselves  to unpack, eat a dinner . And the activities started. The first of them was called ,,Breaking the ice”. That was the right name.

We were divided into two groups: lazy and active ones. I was the lazy one, of course. The actives were changing their places. The lazies were sitting on their seats the whole time. We needed to talk to each person  about  the one personal subject and drawing one part of that person face. So at the end everybody had  the portrait made by other participants.

I think that exercise helped us a lot to get know each other and communicate with ourselves without feeling embarrassed. But it wasn’t the only thing we needed to do that day. Each of us had to pick one green and one orange piece of paper from the hat. The green one was with the name of person you needed to take care of the whole training. And on the orange one was the name of person you needed to secretly kiss to make that person a ,,ghost’’. The last “alive’’ person win at the end of the training. Nobody knew which participant can kill you or which can kiss you. It was the first evening and I have already been feeling so excited and interested. Because what could happened tomorrow?

The next day started of making our paper facebook profiles. It was a demanding exercise because we needed to answer some difficult questions like: What do we want to do? What do we want to see? What kind of friends do we want to have? And finely, who do we want to be? The simple exercise transformed into a personal conversation with ourselves. That day we had also a quiz about Cigna Insurance. The idea was simple, we are in the other country so we need to know the rules of insurance. Due to a form, the activity turned into a crazy competition. Everybody was involved and focused on questions . After that we created our own training hashtag which is #EnjoyVS. Check it out!

Wednesday started with a walk. During that walk we were discussing about things we want to learn during EVS or in our life. When do we plan to do it? And where, and how…  At the start it was hard for me to choose one of many things I have always wanted to learn and I haven’t started yet. I realized that I am inconsequent about it and if I really want to learn something I need to arrange it. Right now!  Moreover we made badges with the symbols of our ,,things to learn” to remember our resolves.

The fourth day was more intensive. We were talking about genders stereotypes and divisions. The whole activity was called ,,Pink and Blue” and it end up with the subject of feminism.  At the beginning the subject was overwhelming until one of coordinators explained us who can actually gain thanks to changes proposed by feminists? Maybe it not only for woman convenience but for the harmony of living together, the man and the woman. Maybe nobody suppose to be on the top of the world hierarchy?

This day was also special because we saw Flamenco performance prepared by fantastic local dance group. I was amazed  the grace with they were moving on the stage.

In last day of activities the most important thing was self-esteem activity. We needed to walk around the castle. There were hidden questions and requests those we suppose to ask ourselves. Some of them were really important but difficult, like a simple: How are you? or What is your dream as a EVS volunteer? After that we could ask our coordinators about their EVS experience, their doubts, duties, happy moments and values. That was really helpful to understand the whole EVS process.

All things I described  they were just a small part of what we have done at the on-arrival training. The skills we developed, the information we gained, the friends we met and the changes we have never expected to take place in our lives are not that easy to put it in words. So if you want to know what an amazing experience is on-arrival training and the EVS project,  go on an EVS! You won’t regret!

Izabela