Mariana, the FCV volunteer has returned from her on-arrival training in Coma-Ruga, Tarragona. The training was held for the first time since 2019 offline! Let’s discover her experience!

The main aim of the training was to share all valuable knowledge about volunteering to the newcomers in Catalunya. This included classes on the mission of European Solidarity Corps, YouthPass and experience exchange with the exvolunteer. 

This small town gathered volunteers from various countries: Austria, Ukraine, Italy, Tunisia, Germany, Georgia, Norway, the UK, France and Belgium. Despite the cultural and linguistic differences most of us built long-term friendships. 

Our day was starting at 8 AM and we were falling exhausted but happy to the bed at 10 PM.

On Tuesday 24.10. we were concentrating mostly on getting to know each other, breaking the stereotypes, and fears about volunteering. 

One of my favorite activities was the creation of a ¨Passport¨ where the participants had to get to know about your preferences and also make an improvisatory drawing of you. It was very exciting to see how other people see you and how they go out of their comfort zone by asking almost a stranger about his her hobbies or preferences. 

One of the main advantages of the training was that every single activity was based on teamwork and reflection on it. The organizers Mireia, Nien and Maria were concentrating on our feelings and learning outcomes from the exercises. Moreover, we were analyzing our behavior patterns that helped us to fully understand what is SOLIDARITY and avoid unconscious exclusion of someone in our future projects. 

Wednesday 25.10. I think, was the most impressive and fruitful day! Imagine, that 25 people from different countries that have never seen each other before had to manage to communicate without words and without a possibility to see! 

This might sound like an episode from the movie ¨ Mission impossible¨ with Tom Cruise, but we managed to do it! By creating the strategy before, splitting into smaller groups and communicating with claps we were able to find all the hidden objects in the small forest!

This ¨mission impossible¨ was followed by the session on conflict management that helped us to analyze our mistakes and solve the misunderstandings. Nonetheless, we were not isolated in Coma-Ruga but were engaged in searching for solidarity in the nearby town El Vendrell, which once again proved that solidarity can be achieved even in the smallest places with the smallest population. 

Also, we had a session on the program of ESC, its vision, rights and obligations that was followed by a very active discussion. 

Thursday 26.10 was full of activities on the socio-historical and intercultural context. We were even creating our own memes and taking part in Taller de Castells (traditional human tower). At the end of the day, we had a reflection time ¨ peer-ejas¨ and went to the beach to listen to the sounds of the sea. 

During the last day of the training we were mostly working on our individual volunteering path: what kind of personal and professional skills we want to develop, what methods we can use to achieve this and overall action plan. To make it easier for the participants, the representative of ANE, Ramon Closas visited us to share useful insights and inspiring stories from the alumnes!

And, the cherry on the top, we finished our training with exciting Circuito de tirolinas to get more adrenaline! 

I am more than grateful to be an ESC volunteer because I met like minded people, learned valuable information and am ready to share it with my entity and the rest of the world!

Mariana, ESC volunteer from Poland