Monday, March 5, 2012

On-Arrival EVS Training – Day 3

    This third day was orientated towards the culture of the country, how to learn from the point of view of the stereotypes, how to improve self management by resolving our problems and the unplanned event.
    We should have talked about Estonian culture during the first part of the day but we continued our talks about the movie The Singing Revolution, the consequences for the country, how it was seen from different perspectives, from Estonian politicians, the Russian minority and some events that happened a few years after the rebirth of the country as Estonians call this day of August 20th, 1991. I don’t think it was the way they planned to talk about Estonian culture but since we were older (>24yo, except for little Sean who was 20) than the average group they usually had, we could talked longer and get into details, something that could not have been possible if the group was younger. After we had to make a list of the possible problems we could face during our activities projects as volunteer and rate them by probability and importance if they happen. I only thought about four problems and without deciding before hand to make a ranking, the results reflected my thoughts. It was interesting I rated it that way since it wasn’t planned at all.
    An important part of the EVS is to learn from others. Our trainers went for a different approach by using stereotypes. They made a list of the countries we were from and told us to write what we thought about any of those. Surprisingly, all countries got a lot of stereotypes and not only Italy, France or Ireland. Since we couldn’t talk about everything written on the board, they decided to go for some unusual ones. Like for me, although people wrote a lot about food and how we enjoy it, I had to talk about our character and some aspect of our nature. It was better not to go for the obvious. 
 How to sing about stereotypes
   During the last activities in the morning, Kristina asked us about what we wanted to for the evening. We knew it was supposed to be the sauna moment but she wanted to propose something else. She talked about a concert given by a local group of jazz from the 1930 and 40’s. As soon as she said the word jazz, I raised my hand like Kristina did. I didn’t hesitate since I love this kind of music. She didn’t know if we would agree to pay the entrance fee since it wasn’t free. But for 150 cents, it was nothing. We had the Thursday night to go to the sauna so we opted for the concert that night. It resulted in a good choice. The band was great and I appreciated they announced their songs in English for all the audience. They alternated fast and slow songs, known ones and their own compositions. At one point, the leader tried to imitate a Frenchie talking about music in the Latin Corner in Paris thinking no French would be in the room but nope, I was here. He as so confused and was ashamed to have done it but I actually found it very funny. After, we went to see the old castle ruins. As it was already night time, we couldn’t see much of it but we found on the way back home a nice big swing. We were all grown-ups but it was nice to be a little child again!

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