This is a reference for Nora Stefanova

Standard EVS On-Arrival Training

The training activity took place
in Sofia, Bulgaria
organised by National Agency "Youth in Action" - Bulgaria
24 - 28 September 2012

Aims & objectives

- Getting the participants familiar with the basic cultural characteristics of Bulgarian people, introducing the dynamics of the socio-political system, underligning key elements of the Bulgarian political system, etc;
- Supporting the adaptation process in a foreign country through discussion of potential problems during the stay;
- Creating a positive atmopshere for building friendly relationships between the volunteers and giving them the opportunity for mutual support during their stay in Bulgaria;
- Introducing and considering key elements of the intercultural learning process;
- Considering different behaviors according to the cultural identity;
- Creating a plan to achieve the objectives in the voluntary service;
- Clarifying technical details, explaining the rights and responsibilities of the volunteer and the host organization;
- Getting familiar with proper behavior models in any conflict within own project;
- Other techincal issues - visas, AXA Insurance, support of the National Agency.

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

There was a group of 13 participants - long-term EVS volunteers in different hosting organizations all around Bulgaria. Totally, 10 nationalities were invloved in the training:
- Spain - 3
- United Kingdom - 2
- Czech Republic - 1
- Hungary - 1
- Ukrania - 1
- Poland - 1
- Turkey - 1
- Armenia - 1
- Germany - 1
- Latvia - 1

Training methods used & main activities

Discussions, short lectures, group work, role-plays, brainstorming, energizing games, individual work, creative tasks, on-the-field task, etc.
Visualizing the perfect own EVS project: having a relaxing musc as background, I give some instructions to the group to get relaxed and comfortable. Through series of preliminary prepared questions and discriptions I lead them through the process of visualizing their EVS future in the best possible way. After reading all the scenario of a perfect EVS project, I stop the music and distribute a questionnaire among the participants, with the following sections in it: "Work Environment", "Target Group", "Activities", "People", "Individual Development", "Keys to Success". After answering the questionnaire, participants are invited to join a discussion on one of the above-mentioned topics by discussing in a group. At the end, all groups are getting together to discuss "the big picture" of the perfect project with all the specifics and challenges in it.

Outcomes of the activity

The main goals mentioned above was achieved. It was a challenging training as there were difficult participants with contradictory characters and conflicts between them. I tried to use this situation as an opportunity and the end of the training was getting the group together and giving them a proactive attitude towards their projects.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

- Creating a positive working environment and open communication atmoshpere;
- Provoking discussions on expectations and providing expectations & change management techniques to participants;
- Enhancing reflection moments and discussion between participants;
- Clarifying technical issues such as programmes rules, roles' rights and responsibilities, insurance, Youthpass, etc;
- Developing effective communication, conflict management and intercultural awareness skills amongst participants;
- Provoking expectations management, negotiation skills and pro-active thinking among the participants.

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

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