Sunday, 4 August 2013

On-arrival, Albena: the famous EVS training

Dancing an improvised version of horo with a local Roma lady, Albena. 

All EVS volunteers have to undergo training. On 19-24 July we had our 'on-arrival' at the Black Sea resort of Albena, organised by the Bulgarian national agency. There have been nearly sixty trainees in total - EVS volunteers from projects all over Bulgaria - some of them 'on-arrival' like us, others 'mid-term'. 

Four trainers were giving us workshops, supported by several other people from the national agency. 

The training, of course, is not just about partying. A typical day included a couple of three-hour sessions, separated by a two-hour lunch break - the latter typically spent at the beach. 

I was not the only one thinking the sessions were fun but intense. We did: ice-breaking games in order to get to know each others, our projects & countries of origin; psychology workshops (personality types, negotiations, conflict management); classes about practicalities of doing an EVS (volunteerism, AXA insurance); plus creative tasks such as designing posters, shooting short films & running for quests all over Albena. 

We were given an in-depth presentation about Bulgaria and a language lesson, afterwards taken to a traditional restaurant to sample some more of the local cuisine and to watch folk dancing & pre-Christianity style fire shows while eating.

Most of our training sessions were animated by quick exercise sets (yes, you have read it right) in order to awaken our happily exhausted bodies and reset our brains. Even if at times I felt as if I was back at the kindergarden now I think that it was actually quite an effective way to make us learn.

All in all, it has been a good time for most of us, both information- and networking-wise, as well as a chance to uncover yet another Bulgarian destination. 

Thanks to Marionela, Nora, Svet and Atanas, our trainers, who have put some additional knowledge into our heads & for their innovative approach; and to everyone present for making it a worthwile experience. 

I am not going to go into details about the free time we had between & after the sessions but one of my colleagues claims he has made 'friends for the lifetime'. I can add, the new skills and contacts are likely to last beyond our EVS projects.



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