So, we are here in Cluj..
.. what can we share with you about our first month of EVS experience? Huh.., it seems difficult because of one main reason – soooo many things have happened! Let´s try to put into our story a bit of a structure:
/ Our arrival
Let´s start with our arrival. So, we arrived here in Cluj-Napoca one by one. By the 1st October there were three of us – Liya, Baru, & Gloria. To be a full team of four EVSs we must have waited for almost a month because our last-arriving colleague Joana landed on 24th October. Now as I have mentioned all of us, let me introduce us a bit. We come from various countries, yet we have one important mutual characteristic – curly hair! Well, that´s something you can check out in the picture! But also you might be asking, where do we come from – Liya comes from Bulgaria, Gloria from Italy, Joana is from Spain, and me – Baru from the Czech Republic.
/ Settling down in our apartment
First days after our arrival were very much about settling down, making few first steps into the city to discover it a little bit, and mainly arranging our apartment, so we could feel good there – actually to get the impression of being at home J. But all of that couldn´t have been finished before Joana´s arrival. Now as we are altogether, it starts to really feel like a new home!
/ New friends
And now one important and amazing thing! We got to know soooo many new wonderful people! Let me share with you one impression of mine. I felt like I was meeting at least one new person a day for the whole first month! It was so intense! And it was soooo nice as everybody was very kind and friendly to us, which we can be just very grateful for!
Minte Forte community is pretty wide and all of their members welcomed us much more warmly than I have expected! We felt accepted, welcomed, and supported! Also, there is another information which cannot stay left behind – we weren´t the only foreigners in Minte Forte at that time. There were three Icelanders for one-month long exchange experience as well and that was even more enriching our first month experience.
Together with the Icelanders we have been provided with trainings, which were covering very wide range of topics. All the workshops had very high quality and were very much useful. The first one lasted for two days and was about mental health. I believe that nobody will ever forget how important it is to focus on the context of every specific situation or a life-story, and also we will never forget to be aware that nothing is black and white and that rather we should always try to have in our mind an image of a “continuum”. The next three days long training was about non-formal education – helping as to cover the whole process of delivering a workshop. I believe that it helped us to understand how this procedure goes and what it requires from our side and in this way really made us prepared for our upcoming activities. The last two days long training was about the group dynamics and difficult participants and also this one gave us many useful ideas how to face challenging situations. Yet the most important thing is that all the trainers are part of the Minte Forte community, which means that whenever we need to ask or discuss anything regarding our activities, we always have a network of people who are ready and available to help us and answer our questions.
/ Romanian volunteers
And I forgot to mention one thing until now – what a mistake of mine! There weren´t just Icelanders and us (EVSrs) in the trainings but also the Romanian volunteers who are our co-facilitators for workshops in schools. So each time for each workshop, there are two of us – one EVS volunteer and one Romanian volunteer working together. That means that we are altogether a team of eight very unique people accompanied by our beloved coordinator Ovi.
/ My personal feeling
Closing this article, I want to share my feelings with you. I don´t know about my colleagues but for me the first month was extremely fast, demanding, and wonderful.
And when I say fast, it means that the month felt like a week! Crazy! Though, I am very happy to be here.