During the preparation to go to the On Arrival Training in Malaga, I was nervous. I knew I was going with the other EVS Volunteers from another organization. I had met them during the week, and got on well with them. However, I was still nervous. Maybe because, I was so comfortable being in La Laguna, that going away for a week, felt like I was uprooting again. Despite the reassurance from my coordinator and my mentor, I still had doubts and I also (to save myself from disappointment) did not have any expectations.
So there I was, at the Tenerife North, on Monday, waiting with the other EVS Volunteers to board the flight to Malaga, mainland Spain. The flight was only two hours and some minutes. Looking down, the landscape reminded me of a quilt, with patches of different shades of brown stretching across the lower south of mainland Spain. The terrain was almost flat with a few noticeable bumps here and there. When we got closer to landing in Malaga, the landscape changed instantly to mountaintops, a few rivers and some areas visibily green. Summer had arrived in Malaga, which cannot be said for La Laguna yet.
The training was in Torremollinos, so we had to get on a train from Malaga airport. With the four of us, we managed to get to the Youth Hostel. We were the first to arrive, so we spent the afternoon looking for a place to have lunch. It was really hot and beautiful. The beach was five minutes from the hostel. It was a peaceful environment to be for a training.
The training itself was a superb experience. The trainers were a fantastic team, very energetic. It was an intense training. In the mornings, when some of us (I am not a morning person) were sleepily arriving at the training room, the trainers would be active. They had the energy of all of us EVS volunteers put together. There was twenty of us from fifteen different countries in one room, from as far as the South Pacific (me) to the Middle East and Europe in general. The cultural exchange was an educational experience, especially during a session when we had to present and break down some of the stereotypes of our respective countries. There were many dynamic activities during the training, which brought all of us closer one way or the other. We are basically, a circle of friends when the training ended.
Personally, I learned a lot more about the origins of the Erasmus+ programme, the European Voluntary Service program and other important information that an EVS volunteer should know (the rights and responsibilities of an EVS Volunteer, where to get help, CIGNA Insurance, daily life in Spain etc.). I did a pre-departure training, but the on arrival training for sure, clarified a lot confusing information. By the end of the training, I was more motivated to get the best out of the EVS experience, be it good or bad. Amazing cannot even begin to describe the volunteers I met, the trainers and sessions itself. It was a superb experience, and I came out of it open minded to cultural differences, ideas, personalities and a positive outlook on the whole EVS experience.