European Wilderness Society

Unforgettable On-Arrival Training Experience in Vienna  

Last week, I had the most amazing experience during an on-arrival training organized by the National Agency for volunteers. This four-day training provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with other volunteers, share our impressions of Austria, learn about our projects, and get detailed information about Erasmus+ and the European Solidarity Corps. It was also a chance to voice our expectations and concerns about our time in Austria.  

Making Connections  

The training kicked off with a delightful walking tour through the picturesque streets of Vienna. This informal setting allowed us to chat about our experiences and reasons for coming to Austria as volunteers. The friendly atmosphere made it easy to connect and quickly form friendships.  

Sharing Our Projects  

The second day focused on presenting our individual projects. We each shared what we were doing and what tasks we were responsible for. Despite the diversity in our projects, one common theme emerged: although many of us had no prior experience in these areas, we were all eager to learn new things and contribute positively. The presentations highlighted our collective willingness to dedicate our time and effort to meaningful work.  

Understanding Volunteering Responsibilities  

On the third day, we met representatives from the National Agency. They provided valuable insights into our roles and responsibilities as volunteers. A key principle emphasized during this session was that we are volunteers, not professionals. This distinction is important because it shapes the nature of our tasks and expectations. Many volunteers shared how volunteering had been a fun and life-changing experience, helping them achieve greater personal and professional success.  

Language Learning and Exploration  

Learning German is a crucial part of our project. Although it may seem hard, especially for those without prior experience, we exchanged tips and tricks to make it more manageable. Some useful resources included EU Academy courses, Duolingo, reading books, talking to locals, listening to podcasts, and watching movies or series with German subtitles. The key is not to fear mistakes, as they are a natural part of the learning journey.  

Vienna vol.2

In addition to indoor training, we explored Vienna each evening. The city’s breathtaking cathedrals, palaces, museums, and parks left us speechless. Vienna’s unique magic is found on every corner and street, making it a place where adventure never ends.  

But the most important thing about this training was new connections. I am more than happy that I met other volunteers. Time, we spend together is one of the unforgettable memories for us. We cooked together, sang, danced, played, walked, hung out and did much more, but 4 days was not enough, so we planned future activities together as well.  

I am continuing my volunteering at EWS and can’t wait to meet other volunteers again. 

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