The On-Arrival-Training is part of every EVS. Normally it takes place during the first two months a volunteer arrives in his or her hosting country. In our case, it started on the 20th of November and ended on the 26th of November. For this reason we had to travel to Sibiu, where the OAT took place that month. Of course this week did not go by without any mishaps, surprises and new intercultural discoveries. 🙂
When we arrived in Sibiu, our first challenge was to find our hotel. Out of coincidence, two German girls, who I know from my pre-departure-training in Germany, recognized me at the train station and consequently, we made our way to the hotel together. While wandering around the streets of Sibiu without having any idea where to go (not even Google Maps helped..), we met a lot of other volunteers and finally, after one hour of walking through the city, found our hotel (which was at the other end of the city).
In total, we were 65 volunteers from 15 different countries and different age groups ( 18-31). As I am the youngest volunteer here in Tusnad, it hadn’t surprised me to discover, that I was also the youngest one of all the 65.:) Because of our large number, we were divided into three different groups with two trainers each and had four sessions each day. On the first two days we mostly talked about the EVS in general, all the actors included and about the rights and responsibilities of us volunteers. On the next days we mostly talked about intercultural differences, conflict management and setting personal goals. The sessions were really interesting and useful, not only for my EVS but also for my later life.
The other volunteers were all very nice and interesting people, and we all bonded quickly. In between our sessions we always had coffee breaks, where we had the chance to get to know the other volunteers better and also during the meals, the tables were always mixed. In the evenings we normally sat together in a big room in the hotel and just spent time together (of course there was a lot of drinking involved as well :)). But almost all the evenings, due to the loud noise, we were sent to our rooms (where the party continued of course :)).
On one of the days, we also organized an intercultural evening. Everyone had to think of something creative to represent his or her country. In the end we were enjoying ourselves with Turkish, Armenian or Polish folk dances, French etiquette and Hungarian folk songs.
But what would be an OAT if we wouldn’t get the chance to explore Sibiu? 🙂 For this reason we were divided into different groups of four or five people and each group received different tasks, which were to carry out in the city. My groups first challenge was to translate the tasks into English, as they were given to us in Romanian.:) After we succeeded, we made our way to the city centre, where we were greeted by the sight of the beautiful Târg de Craciun.:) We had some easy tasks, for example finding out about cultural and social events in Sibiu or finding out some famous personalities of the city. But the really interesting tasks were, to ask the Romanian citizens about different topics. We had to ask three different people about their opinions of the future of Romania and we received quite interesting answers: Two men had a quite positive view of Romania in the future and thought also quite positive about Romanias entry into the European Union. One other man on the other hand (who was Hungarian) said, that ”everything sucks”, Romania needed war again and an annexion to either Russia or the USA…So the views differed themselves greatly. Moreover, we had to give one Romanian an item of us, and he or she should give us something back. We gave one man an apple and in return he bought us all a cup of tea, because he didn’t have anything else.:) After all we had a pretty interesting evening in Sibiu with a lot of intercultural experiences (not to mention getting invited for dinner by an American :))
On the last day of the OAT, naturally everyone was sad to leave again, when we all had just started to get to know each other. Nevertheless, we all promised to visit each other in our cities and now we have more reasons to travel around Romania.:) Us four from Tusnad made a good advertisement and already received some visitors.:) So, in general, the On-Arrival-Training was a very nice and useful experience for me.:)