The whole experience of EVS is about learning: learning a new language, learning about culture, learning or better say acquiring new skills at the new ‘workplace’, etc. However, I would say that the focus of the EVS is actually learning more about ourselves, and that is what makes it so different from traditional way of learning.
Some of the topics we discussed and the place where we had our discussions (not too bad
Julia and I were supposed to meet at the A Coruña bus station with all the volunteers from the regions of Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria, to go to a village called Culleredo near A Coruña (we weren’t that lucky to see other town) for a 5-day training. We were 22 in total, coming from different countries like Denmark, Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Czekia, Slovakia, Estonia, Russia, Turkey, etc. all staying in these regions of Spain for 9 months.
The training was well organised and full of activites. One might even say a little bit too full. That one is me, and I guess all the other volunteers The workshops’ topics were related to some practical things (e.g. EVS organisation, insurance, personal project), intercultural and communication challenges, and there was also a language course every day. Of Spanish, of course.
Some of the activities we did
As I’m trying to think of all the topics we discussed, it seems that the things that I remember the most are some reflections after the games we played. Just to explain a little bit what the workshops looked like – most workshops started with a sort of a game or a competition (e.g. the wall game, submarine, crossing the bridge – I’m not giving explanations just not to put spoilers), and afterwards we had a discussion, an analysis of what had happened during the ‘game’. These games revealed a lot about personalities that we had – if you are a person with initiative, or you prefer having someone else do the job; if you like doing things on your own, or you rely on others, etc. These games confirmed some characteristics that I believed that I had, but also made me want to work more on some other that I’m not that good at. I’m marking it all down, just to see if there is any progress at the end of this 9-month-self-development process.
At school, I was always told what to study, what I ‘had to’ learn. Now I come here, and tutors ask me ‘What do you want to learn?’, and honestly, I’m a bit confused. How to decide?! What should I learn?! I don’t know, I don’t know… They are asking us about our fears, our expectations, our abilities, our attitudes, our competencies, our styles of learning… A lot of words with meanings that are not completely clear to me at this point. And that is the point! I’ve done formal education, spent 18 years of my life learning what I was told to, just to get papers. Don’t get me wrong, those are important as well, but I’ve been missing what is nowadays called ‘non formal education’.
I was so lucky to get this opportunity, to truly experience what ‘non formal education’ is all about, and LEARN HOW TO LEARN!