Arrival and Middle Term Training are more than (just) free food.

              Author: Angela Maddalena

I was supposed to write an article about Middle Term Training but, to be honest, I decided that the main point here is not a silly amount of infos. Besides,if you are reading this article, you’re probably involved in the EVS world and situations. If this is the case, you know everything about Middle Term Training; i.e. what it is and how it works.

If not, and there is always a chance, well, I’ll tell you in short: Middle Term Trainings, just like Arrival Trainings, are meetings of volunteers who live more or less in the same country and during the same time. The aim of these meetings is to provide volunteers information and contacts to live their experience in the best way possible, to help them with the documentation and finally to offer them a clear point of view on the EVS “situation”.

At least, this is the story as I know it.

To be honest, the volunteers’ goal, during these meetings, is mostly linked to food. I’m telling you this because it is true, and not because I want to be funny.

Us, the volunteers, we are very happy to eat fancy things made just for us in fancy hotel kitchens.

We are also happy with fancy hotels themselves.

But what is it, this Middle Term and Arrival Training, other than food and bathtubs (when provided), and what did I find in there?

As you can see, I choose to talk about something else, not just about the mere meeting: I choose to talk about friendship.

I really don’t want to sound cheesy; as a writer, to sound cheesy is my biggest fear. Still, I don’t think it is very usual and ordinary to have (and to find) friends like those I met, and I feel the need to explain you the reason I am talking about them in such a way.

If you are an ordinary skilled person, without big mind troubles or with a “problematic” behaviour, well, chances are that you’re surrounded by friends: as life provides us with people, and we only have to meet them and hang around with them.

I was, personally, surrounded by lots of friends before I came to Sofia. And I tend to be kind of picky, when it comes to friendship.

Nevertheless, supposing that it is not that weird to have friends, why do I feel it different this time? Why do I feel the need to write about something so common as friendship?

The reason, my dear reader, is that I don’t think this is a common topic, at all.

On the contrary, I firmly believe that, in a certain way, it is the most important topic you can talk about. And I will tell you the reason in a second, if you keep on reading.Why should you live your own life, if not for sharing it with someone else?

And here comes to help the famous paradox, do you remember it? “Does a tree make any sound falling in the forest if nobody is there to listen to it?”

My friends, the ones I love the most, the ones I miss so badly, back in my Country, those with whom I spent the most incredible days of my life until now, well, they cannot understand the forest where I am living.

For them, I make no sound.

So, for what reason did I came here, all alone?

Thank to some tree goddess, i didn’t have time to realize how messy i was: Arrival Training happened to take place in the perfect moment, providing me with a new environment.

Of course, people are part of your personal environment: without them, you are a lonely, soundless tree.

So, here we are: the heart of the matter. All of us, we were waiting for this, without even realizing it.

Blessed ignorance: which prevented me, or better us, to see what we were missing, until the moment we found it. A new mirror: lots of pair of eyes, staring at us in a different, deeper way. Spying our reactions, our body language, our aims, searching for those we wanted to drag nearer, in that tiny amount of time. Undoubtedly, nobody likes everybody, and you must choose. But, oh, how naturally it happened! I witnessed, with my own eyes, the game of selection. I witnessed, with my own heart, how easy it is to really get to know someone when you refuse to hide under the mask (o shield) of “proper behaviour”.

Like wild animals, big or small, we were smelling the air, the thin air of those new lands.

I saw it happen from the inside. I was part of it: how similar souls attracts or pushes away similar material. Well, it never happened to me before to use so many physics related metaphors, believe me… But how else could I explain it?

Let’s try, then, with a style I’m more used to: it was a natural call for allies.

Only in my first year at the university, I experienced something similar. Still, it wasn’t this fast, nor even this deep. What made us believe we had the chance and the duty to open up to those complete strangers, to allow them to get closer and to see what really is there, in the back of our eyes?

I would say it was necessity, but don’t get me wrong: necessity is not always a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that we were moved by the need to use somebody. Necessity, as the Ancient Greeks would say, is the most powerful force in Kosmos. Even the Gods used to know it: Necessity cannot be defeated, nor talked into different points of view than her own. She is, basically, what can never be changed.

So, here we go again: our necessities brought us together, in a different, faster and deeper way than usual. And I’m glad for this: my fellow trees, in this forest, they see me, they hear me, they feel me, since we belong each other.

It was necessity, it was luck.

It was not at all a decision, it just happened: thanks to an “imposed” gathering, I found a better place.

So, in the end, this is what I really want to say: sometimes things are not as they seem. Sometimes, even boring things result to be beautiful opportunities, because of luck. Or necessity. Because sometimes, those two things are one and the same.

Arrival, Middle Term, mandatory activities, whatever label you would like to stick to them, are also, and basically, an opportunity, if you feel like giving it a try.

So, just take my words for what they are, a small tip: give Necessity a try.

 I did it and I’m very glad I did it!


The “Angie’s Blog” is a rubric led by Angela Maddalena (Italy)

and is part of the project “Freedom of (Hate) Speech“.
It is funded under European program “Erasmus+”,
KA 1: European Voluntary Service and Training Course for Youth Workers.

National Agenda for Bulgaria: Center for Human Resource Development