Last week Lydia and I had our ‘on-arrival’ at the Legends hotel in Sofia. 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’. Three trainers were giving us workshops, supported by a man from the national agency. A typical day included a couple of three-hour sessions, separated by a two-hour lunch break and two coffee breaks. After a hole day of sessions, there was a delicious buffet. After dinner everyone continued with socializing, we had nice conversations and we got to know each other and Sofia and it’s nightlife.
Most of our training sessions were animated by quick exercise sets, in order to awaken our happily exhausted bodies and reset our brains. 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, personal projects, CIGNA insurance); plus creative tasks such as designing posters and making presentations about Sofia and each other. I really liked the way they introduced us to new topics. Because most of the time, they started with a funny (silly) game that didn’t make much sense to us at first. But afterwards the games showed us our behavior in certain situations. Which was really cool, because during the game you were totally unaware of that kind of behavior. It was learning in a very fun way, but although we did a lot of games, we also got a lot of information and there was enough time to get answers to our questions. All sessions were fun and intense. I think that it was actually quite an effective way to make us learn.
All in all, it has been a good time for us, both information- and networking-wise. Being stuck together with complete strangers for a week and by the end feeling you’ve known them forever, is very weird to explain, but it happend.
I got a lot of energy from the training and even more ideas to improve my own experience. We all gave so much inspiration to each other, so I cannot wait to start working on my new ideas, and to see them turning from ideas to reality. And I hope, of course, to visit a lot of people I met again, somewhere in Bulgaria!