This is a reference for Mihaela Amariei

On-arrival Training (O.A.T.)

The training activity took place
in Predeal, Romania
organised by NA Bucharest

Aims & objectives

On-arrival training takes place upon arrival in the host country. It introduces volunteers to their host country and their host environment, and helps them to get to know each other.

The training course had 4 major objectives:
1. The volunteers will describe the role of every partner involved in each step of the EVS project and the rights and responsibilities of the project implementation team: Volunteer, HO, SO, CO mentor, AN;
2. The volunteers will identify how different aspects of culture have an impact on their learning experience in an EVS project;
3. The volunteers will be able to identity and deal with the specific aspects or Romanian context (history, geography, myths, civil society, social life, behaviors, mentalities, etc);
4. The volunteers will identify their personal motivation and learning objectives connected to the activities to be performed during the volunteer stage.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

I had 19 participants coming from 10 countries (Turkey, France, Georgia, Lithuania, Hungary, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Peru, and Armenia) that were doing their EVS stage in Romania in 9 different NGOs.

Training methods used & main activities

I am going to give examples from the first and second day of the training course.
I used only non-formal learning methods adapted according to the training course objectives. For example: in the Get to know each other session for the Name game I used a metaphoric method: participants found in the training room, on each chair, a toy stuffed animal. Each participant chose animal/chair and said his/her name, country of origin and the sound produced by the animal, or an act of imitation. I continued with a method for knowing each other better named EVS book: the portrait of each participant was drawn in group, taking turns for each element of the portrait, and then on background music, moving and dancing, participants were exchanging portraits in order to find out various information about the person whose portrait had in hand. The questions were given by trainer. After that they created a portrait gallery. They were invited to visit it the next morning for the recap session called “Visit to a Romanian museum” (they also visited their project galley made in another training session).
For introducing the training objectives and finding out their CEC (contribution, expectation, concerns) the participants created a collage representing a landscape with different shapes cut in advance from colored paper: sun (the course objectives), clouds (contributions), and a river with fish (expectations), and stones (concerns).
Diverse Icebreakers and Energizers were used before, during or after each session according to the group dynamic. Some examples: Shark Island, Fruit salad, Salute styles, Song and dances etc.
For introducing the EVS program and YiA context I used the game “How wants to be a millionaire”. Participants were divided into 3 teams that answered all the quiz questions, and if questions required clarification were offered answers.
Cultural awareness and stereotypes session was done through an exercise that included a role-playing game developed by participants divided into 4 groups. The participant’s involvement was very high, including those with language difficulties engaging in a high extent. The role play was built on stereotypes; each participant had to interpret a specific role of the different cultures of origin. Finally, a discussion was made on the basis of the evidence found in the interpretations presented and we discussed the stereotypes.

Outcomes of the activity

Course objectives were presented from the first session and made a correlation with expectations, contributions and concerns about the course. At the end of the course, before the evaluation session, we returned to their presentation and their degree of fulfillment. The assessments of volunteers appreciated meeting the objectives in a high extent.
We stressed the general context of YiA and EVS, and at the end of the course all volunteers involved were able to pinpoint the roles, rights and responsibilities of each actor involved in EVS. Chosen methods contributed to setting the elements, alternating non-formal methods (role playing, puzzle-play, Mind map etc.) with clear roles and with question and answer session when further clarification was requested.
Topics related to intercultural component and Romanian context were among the most popular in the whole course, the methods used varied: role playing and simulation, quizzes, Q & A, working individually and in small groups, brainstorming. Concepts and more theoretical elements content were presented in a graphical way, more attractive on a flipchart or PowerPoint presentation.

Strengthening learning motivation was correlated with stimulation of volunteers in order to make presentations more creative and varied (the most valuable example is the session dedicated to the design of personal development plan), which was created in a diverse and interesting way by each participant, focusing on skills acquisition and capitalization and transfer of training experiences in other contexts.
All these result we were able to observe and analyze through the evaluations made: observation, short non-formal evaluations after each day, reflection groups. Also at the end of the course we had an evaluation form were participants expressed their opinions regarding all aspects of the training: reaching objectives, utility and structure of content, materials, tasks, methods used, group dynamic, team work, communication, logistics, and trainer’s performance. We received very good qualifications.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

I was one of the two trainers. After dividing the tasks with my colleague, my role was to fully or partially prepare, deliver and follow-up on the training course with the participants. Practically I carefully prepared each training sequence for each day, deciding according with the training course agenda and the learning objectives, on the various non-formal methods I will use for each training session. Also I discussed with my colleague the communication process among us which led to a very good networking between us and participants. In the communication process with my fellow colleague I used a strategy based on complementarities and balance regarding the course topics and interventions when necessary. During the course I also proposed changing some non-formal methods adapted according to the needs of the participants. After the course I kept in touch via e-mail with the participants by sending them contact lists of other EVS volunteers and also lots of useful electronic resources for their EVS stage and their personal development process. I also contributed to editing the final report of the course for the NA, uploading the evaluation forms and sending them to the NA.

I worked on this training for 5 days as a full time trainer.

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