Our long-term volunteers were at their “On Arrival Training” in Roma!
We are more than happy to share their stories with you:
Ruta: “You don’t want to miss it”, they said… “It’s one of the best parts of the volunteering”, they said… and they were right!
One week flew by like 2 days, emotions were just good ones, 30 people from 17 countries – all volunteers and new friends that we met in our “On Arrival Training” (OAT).
It’s not an easy decision to go to live abroad, especially for a long term. OAT is a tool, that helps to understand what are your duties, your rights, while doing volunteering, opens your mind to see what’s the purpose to participate in such a projects as European Solidarity Corps (ESC) and what you can get out of it.
After OAT I indeed had a feeling that a whole new room opened up in front of me – new space. And I carry it all the time with me, but it’s not heavy.
OAT is one of the things that, in my opinion, is difficult to describe and you should be there, to understand, but I will try – imagine 30 volunteers. Some of them are from the same country (like approx. 10 people from Spain, I even met one girl from my country-Latvia), but in general – 30 different people, from different countries, with different experiences and background. There is just one thing that brought us together – we all are volunteers in Italy. Our trainers not only managed to “drop our shields down”, but also made us all like one big team. And for that a big thank you! We did A LOT of workshops in different groups. At the end there wasn’t a volunteer with whom I didn’t work with at least once. We made podcasts, short movies, using various activities we opened our creativity.
OAT activities proved brilliantly that you can look at everything from a different perspective, that everyone sees, hears, perceives differently. And what’s in your country completely normal and obvious is not in others. Why? -Because it’s just not.
I’m thankful for this experience and suggest to all the volunteers to take the chance to participate in an OAT. 😊
Jenny: My On-Arrival-Training experience in Roma 2019
On an early Friday morning we left our beautiful Torino for Roma. It took us about 5 hours by train and there we were in the capital of the country we chose to spend the next year in. We arrived at the Scout – Center met our new roomates for the coming week and had lunch together. The first afternoon was all about getting to know other volunteers who are living across Italy. My first impression of the entire group was very good and luckily it stayed like this until the end of the training.
Our days looked basically every day the same: breakfast, morning session, lunch, afternoon session, dinner and evening session. The sessions in most of the days were about our personal EVS/ESC journeys. What did we expect and how in the end is the reality, was the big question here!
What have we experienced?
How would we handle the situation?
How can we help each other?
What is our advice for each other?
For me it was also really interesting to get to know other volunteers their good and bad experiences and I realized that I was more than lucky and made the right choice to come to Torino and support Eufemia! Thank you for being a great Team!
Between all this “serious” talks we also had a lot of fun playing different games to understand how we, the volunteering project or even our world works. In a non – formal way of education our trainers put our attention towards our rights and duties in this whole program, the youthpass and conflict management. Learning and thinking from and about all these activities made us realize even more why we are doing volunteering and what we are here for.
To sum it all up I want to quote one of our trainers: “And you are giving an impact and as many of you said, you do not even know when this impact will come back or in which form. But you are giving and I think this is the concept … It is the main concept on how we want to set our life: GIVING!
Over the week I have met some really incredible people who follow this concept by heart. They are here to give, but not material things. They give something way more important than that, TIME.
“The greatest gift you can give someone is your TIME. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.”
And that is what we all do. We give our time to all the beautiful projects we have choosen to support during this service in an for us foreign country. This OAT made me realize the chance I have been giving to make a big change in my life and bit smaller one in this world, especially in Europe.
Irene: THE MEANING OF VOLUNTEERING – OAT ROMA 2019
What is the meaning of volunteering? This is something that we learnt in our ON ARRIVAL TRAINING.
These kind of trainings are a must for a volunteer because of so many reasons and I think every single person should have the opportunity to enjoy them. After being in Italy for 3 months we were able to join the OAT, in the country where we are doing our European project and since the first moment we felt a very good atmosphere. The trainers were super kind with us, but also the other volunteers were important during that time.
We started the week getting to know each other and the projects that each of us is developing in here. It was interesting to hear others and to get to know a bit more about their experiences and at the same time, share with them ours. We are all doing different jobs, but all of them have something in common which is helping others and giving our best, at the same time we are also getting something back. I mean, GIVE & RECEIVE.
We got information about our rights and duties, about our insurance, about our mentors and everything that is around us during our volunteering periode. The training was also based on social media so we also improved our skills in video editing and podcasting, something that is more than important nowadays, in the 21st century.
All the activities were funny but educational, and they were also useful to get close to others and to get a good friendship with people from all around Europe. At the end we spent a week together, so we had the chance to be open minded and to meet people who can share with you different values and can teach you also about their origins and traditions.
We also got some tips about how to handle different situations. This experience has all kind of moments and we should be strong enough to manage our emotions and to give the best from ourselves.
We were busy all the time because we had activities during the mornings, afternoons and evenings but it was good because we were enjoying all the time.
We also had time to learn about the culture of this country, and of course we visited the wonderful city of Roma, where we were spending a whole day doing sightseeing and seeing wonderful and historical places like the Coliseum, the Vatican, Fontana di Trevi, Foro Romano, Pantheon, etc.
Something also quite interesting is that we spent the week with two deaf guys who are doing also a volunteering, so we even learnt some sign language and we were aware about how is their daily life, so we included them in all the activities and also made them feel comfortable with us.
Definitively, it was an amazing week and I am looking forward to meet again these wonderful people and to have the next training, the mid term one.
Ana: “Growing up as a person has never been so easy”
When our mentor told us that in a month we should go to the OAT in Rome, I realized that I felt fear; fear of not knowing how to communicate in a language other than mine, fear of not knowing how to relate to people from cultures totally different from mine … fear in general. The day we stepped in the Scout-Center for the first time, the barrier of fear was destroyed and I began to enjoy every second of this wonderful experience.
30 people – 17 different nationalities:
Meeting people from so many different cultures has helped me to open my mind even more and grow as a person. Many of the activities carried out during the week were focused on getting to know each other, which turned out to be one of the most interesting things. This gave me the opportunity to get to know the curiosities of each culture.
All new things are usually a challenge, also for me. I promised myself, before I arrived in Rome, to learn from each activity, person, emotion and culture; today I am sure I got it.
A lot of volunteers joined this week in Rome and together we created what is now a small family; different family and with many peculiarities, but with a common goal: to help others as we would like them to help us in their situation.
An experience where fear has no place and where knowledge is the basis of everything. An experience that has made me value, even more, my volunteering in Torino with our Eufemia Association.