The on-arrival training
Welcome back to my EVS diary! I have just gotten back from my on-arrival-training in Zvolen and wanted to write a bit about it.
The on-arrival-training is a mandatory part of every EVS year, and usually the national agency (in my case IUVENTA) organizes it. For my training a group of 17 volunteers from all over Slovakia made their way to Zvolen, a nice little town in the middle of Slovakia, to stay, learn and have fun with one another for five days. It was interesting to meet all these different people - and of course our two Slovak hosts – and get to know their work placements and their cultural backgrounds. The Germans again were outnumbering every other nationality, but we also had a lot of volunteers from Spain and some from Greece, Italy and Latvia. I very much enjoyed to hear the different languages and to catch up on the things the others have done so far during their EVS.
The training was very mixed in content, we had some lessons about our responsibilities and the Erasmus+ program, but also exhausted ourselves in teambuilding games and two very nice field trips to Banska Bystrica and Slatinka – if you haven’t been there you should definitely pay these beautiful towns and their surroundings a visit! Especially Slatinka is a place that you probably won’t find in many travel guides, which in my opinion is definitely not a reason to not go there. The small village is located in an idyllic setting of beautiful woods and small mountains, right next to the Slatinka river. Especially now in autumn the nature surrounding it looks stunning, because the trees are changing their color and everything looks like it has just been painted freshly for the production of a major motion picture project. Slatinka was supposed to be flooded by a huge artificial lake in the 70s, but the project was never executed and the people who were forced to leave their homes came back slowly. Now the community tries to restore the beauty of their home once again, supported by the work of other EVS volunteers. If you get the chance to drop by at their place they will be happy to tell you much more about the village and their work over a cup of fresh self-harvested herbal tea.
Probably one of the best things about the EVS trainings is that you get to know many other volunteers and make new friends, whom you can visit in other parts of Slovakia and maybe someday everywhere in Europe, and who will definitely drop by at your place if they happen to be in town. The European Voluntary Service is supposed to connect the members of the European Union with each other and from my experience I can say that they are definitely doing a good job. After my on-arrival training I do feel even more like a European and I am glad to see my training group again during our mid-term training.