We had daily presentations and talks about European solidarity corps and the Erasmus plus program.
We learned about the relationship between our organisations and the sending organisations. From this
we gained greater insight into the network of support that is available to each volunteer. The leaders explained the various roles within each organisation from creating and managing the project to the people who are responsible for helping volunteers. We came to understand that there are many aspects of sending and receiving volunteers and most importantly that there is a person behind each step to ensure that areas such as support, health, documentation and information are all available to each volunteer. From this we gained a greater understanding of the wide scope of social work and the drive behind the people who work to maintain such projects in order that they can contribute to the good of society.
Connecting key concepts to help us understand the large support network available to volunteers.
We had daily Spanish lessons and group discussions. The leaders explained the importance of understanding the language and culture of our host country. On the last day we had the lesson outside and we learned a Spanish song.
Talk with the high school students:
– We visited a high school and spoke to groups of students about our individual projects and about our experience as a volunteer. This was helpful as we were able to hear different perspectives on volunteering from the students and we could also share with them our reasons for choosing to volunteer.
⁃ This also gave us an opportunity to exchange experiences with the other volunteers. We learned about each other’s motives and reasons for volunteering which was insightful. From this we realised how varied the projects can be: from working with kids to mentoring adults to working with monkeys! It was interesting to find out about people for whom volunteering had been a long term goal and for others who had become a volunteer by chance and had found themselves pleasantly surprised. Some had come from careers they loved and some were striving students but both cases people thought the experience in their projects would help them to gain important skills either for their work or employability skills for students. What everyone had in common was a decision to spend this time in their lives on helping other people and each were passionate about making a difference for others which was encouraging to see.
Visit from European solidarity corps
They wanted to hear our experience so far and how we felt about the network of support available to us. It was nice to see representatives from the European solidarity corps and to learn about their work and the ways in which they believe that projects like ours help to connect people in society.
Visit from ex volunteer
We heard about how he became a volunteer because he felt that he wanted a change in his life and to do something for others. Many of the volunteers could relate to his experience as a person who had a career that he loved but wanted to experience working to help other people. After his experience he changed his career path and he made lifelong friends.
We participated in various team building activities which helped us to have fun and at the same time discuss areas that we come across as volunteers.
- We had to create a map of the key concepts that are associated with volunteering such as gaining skills, knowledge, intercultural experience and friendship.
- In our groups we were given a list of countries and we had to create a Drama based on the stereotypes of those countries. The audience then had to guess the countries. The aim of this activity was to highlight the lack of knowledge we had of each other’s cultures. In a creative and lighthearted way this was to encourage us to see that stereotypes are often negative and not the whole picture of a country and that we should be curious and keen to discover the good in other cultures.
- We were Given materials and had to create a way to protect the egg so that it wouldn’t break when it was dropped from the roof.
Group challenge in the town
We had to interact with people in the town and achieve out set tasks:
Teach a song in another language to a member of the community, find members of community to flamenco dance with, ask to exchange an item in a shop, we had to ask a local business if we could help out…
We had time for some games and met great friends