Thursday, June 30, 2011

Multicultural impressions

Within the EVS program all of the volunteers participate in an on-arrival training. We get more information about the EVS program, the country, our rights and obligations and our further opportunities through lectures, games or other activities.

My on-arrival training was in Coma-Ruga between 12th - 17th June. I really wasn’t in that mood to go. I thought that it would be full of eighteen-year-olds and I couldn’t find the common voice with them…
Anyway, my arriving was a disaster. It was my third time in Barcelona, but I still didn’t know too much about the city. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to find the way from the bus station to the Arc de Triomf railway station. Well, a 100 meters during 25 minutes…but it wasn’t a surprise from me. Ok, I wasn’t nervous, I had time. But then. Of course nothing is easy: there was a broken train on the way from Arc the Triomf, so I had to find another station. Everybody was really kind and helpful expect those people whose job was to give information. I managed to find a businessman-looking black guy who helped me a lot, but soon after the situation became a bit scary, cause suddenly he had to go to the same station with the same train, and he became too helpful. I was absolutely sure that I musn’t follow him, no matter how kind he was. But nothing happened, he was really in a hurry and nice, anyway: I needed, so I got a metro ticket from him as a goodbye present.

Of course I managed to get to Coma-Ruga. The group was a big surprise for me: probably the youngest volunteer was 22, but his way of thinking was older than his years. There were youngsters from all over Europe: from France, Greece, Romania, Poland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Estonia, Russia, Germany, Bulgaria and another girl and me from Hungary.
You could think that it was just a four days long holiday next to the seaside, but no. Our timetable was full enough, from 9:30 to at least 22:00 (with a 2 hours long break after lunch) and e.g. on Wednesday we finished the obligatory tasks at about 01:00 p.m! Of course the activities after dinner were always easier, like the international night (everybody introduced her/his country) or a historical Spanish movie screening (Las 13 rosas).

During these days we had the opportunity to meet with leaders from the National Agency, with ex-volunteers, we could get to know better the Spanish history and culture (e.g we made human towers), improve our Spanish skills and discover some of our potentialities through games.

You are not alone
This training is created also for the reason to give opportunity to the volunteers to meet people in the same situation. First I thought that we were int he same situation since we were volunteers. But during the training I realized that we were in a similar situation also before. The whole EVS program is great itself, but I think – and now I’m more and more sure - that it is chosen by youngsters who want to change their life, because they are not satisfied with one part of that.

I can say, I wanted to be a volunteer because I wasn’t satisfied with my life. I didn’t really like the city where I lived, my job was a disaster (without any professional developing) and of course I never found the „perfect” boy. I wanted to learn and see more, have new, useful experiences and I felt this opportunity was the best for me. I realized that most of us had the same reasons and I knew what they felt when they spoke about how they hated their city, their good-for-nothing job or how hard to find a nice and responsible guy. No matter where you live. Another important conclusion for me that till now I thought I’m from a really pessimistic country. But we are not alone…I think that whole Central Europe is a bit pessimistic. (Sorry Girls, I felt this.) I know that the economics is almost the same (bad) in the countries around Hungary, but now I know how the youngsters feel in connection with this. It’s not so different from the average Hungarian way of thinking.

We arrived there as strangers but said goodbye as friends
As for me the team-building was the best experience, a bit of a miracle. Unfortunately, I was working at a company at home whose owners never paid attention to their workers, so we didn’t get any opportunities to develop our team. (Of course we did it on our own, but those were private initiatives.) But I think it would be very important: whatever it is – a trip, a dinner, a party or anything else together, - the employees can feel that the company appreciate their work.

Of course I have friends at home who work at „open-minded companies”, where the leaders are aware of the importance of team-building. So I’ve heard some stories. As I remember they were like: „well, we had a trip together and then we had dinner, and, well, we got drunk together.” Or something like this. I don’t remember I ever heard about a „real” team-building program, like ours. This was a really well thought up and connected program.

Imagine 33 strangers with different cultural backgrounds, that makes the whole thing more complicated. Lots of us, but mostly the Northerners are a bit „colder”: they don’t even want to touch others and of course, „No kisses and no hugs, please!” As my Swedish flat-mate says, they don’t give kisses even in the family, just hugs. As for me, I’m Hungarian (maybe the others are more opened than me) but if I can choose I do not touch, kiss or hug strangers. And I’m really satisfied if I have my so called intimate sphere! I hate if a stranger move in it! Of course if a person is a friend, that’s another story. But can you say after four days that somebody is not a stranger?

The team-building games were focused on touches. My favorite memory is from one of the first games. We had to greet each other in different ways. First with eye-contact. Then eye-contact with smile. Then waving. Then handshaking. Then hug. Huuuuuuug??? Noooo, ooooh, noooo! „We don’t want to hug strangers!” Everybody exclaimed against it! But of course we did it, and it wasn’t that bad. My most memorable was a „cold” German hug from Peter. I wouldn’t call it a real hug it was just pat on the back. :)
Then we had more clever games, with more touches, and some time to get to know each other better. And the result? We are not strangers any more. We learned to help each other and to trust each other.
Maybe this is the point: trust. The last game was only about that. Would you ever lie on your back from a 2 m high wall if you knew that there are a „bed” from people’s armes under the wall? No, definitely no. But after four days we could do it. It wasn’t easy, but everybody who was brave enough to try, could do it.
Another surprising result was the way we said goodbye: with hugs. Everybody gave hugs to anybody else, even the Germen guy for me. A real, not just a „German hug”!:)

I got lots of new impressions, knowledges and relationships just in four days. I could learn from the others and from their experiences, learn about Spanish history, culture, language and a bit more about myself. This is the pack I got from my „on-arrival”.

You can read an article about us:)

Bases of the "Human tower":

No comments:

Post a Comment