Volunteering experience of Holyanna in Mladiinfo Czech Republic

My first month in Brno, surprises and rebound…

People told me “But why are you going to Czech Republic? What idea went through your head?!
It’s super cold there! What will you do there, you who is cold when is just less than twenty degrees?” And the only thing that I can say for now after one month here is: “Yeeeees you were right, it is so cold for me! Please bring back the hot temperature and the sun!” When I left Toulouse in France, we had 15° so yes we can say that it’s a little shock for me, but I get used to it fast!

Why the Czech Republic? At the moment all young people travel in Australia, in New Zealand, something a little bit more paradisiacal and sunny but I heard so many good things concerning Eastern countries, so I wanted to try the experience. But I admit, the Czech Republic is a little coincidence. And it’s the first time I travel for so long and alone so I didn’t feel ready to cross the planet, Europe is a good beginning for me.

For my first day, I was welcoming by my two guardians of Mladiinfo if we can say like that, Sandra and Markéta. I knew nothing either of the country or the city. I had been in contact only with these two girls via e-mail, so when I saw them for the first time, I was really relieved because I could finally put faces to names. They were very friendly and welcoming. It was the first time that they welcome a stranger for volunteering in Mladiinfo so they would like to do this well and it was a success. They were always here for me, they showed me the city, best places of Brno, good restaurants… and explain me all about the culture. Yes, because sometimes it’s a little bit different. The first day I went to the restaurant, and when all the other people have finished their dishes, a waiter came at once to collect their plate. But when I had finish, I waited 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes… but I didn’t understood why! Nevertheless I had put well my cutlery in my plate as we usually do in France. However, I didn’t know that here it’s necessary to put the cutlery of the right-hand side on your plate, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything. I could wait  for a very long time haha!

Except this small experience, I was not totally disoriented. It’s sure, people speak another language and it is more difficult than in France to find its way but it’s not as if I arrived in Asia! I find approximately the same food than in France, if am a totally lost I try to find a young person to ask my way in English. Yes you hear well, a YOUNG PERSON, because here good luck to find a person older than thirty years who is fluent in English, but let us not be severe, it is similar in France.
And again I didn’t say to you? Unfortunately none of my roommates speaks English… just one or two words thus now I know all the techniques to try to communicate with somebody who speaks not at all your language: to make signs in all directions or sound effects (rather ridiculous sometimes when I rethink about it).

But don’t be so negative! Both associations where I’m actually volunteer are so great, people were very welcoming IMG_20160228_132330-2and happy to get know me, the French girl, who would have been work with them during 5 months. And when people welcome you like that, that’s always pleasant! I help Industra with some events they organize like theater or exhibition and promote the international mobility with Mladiinfo. Industra coffee even asked me to cook them a lemon pie with meuringue tipical from France how you can see just here in order to sell it, what honnor! ;D
Even if I admit it, I was enormously stressed at the beginning… How I will be able to help them knowing that I have never worked in English? It’s sure I have different skills but to make the same thing as I make in France now in English becomes at once much more difficult…
But finally after one month here, I realize that people are understandable and do everything to help you when you do not understand. I have the impression that in several moments it is complicated to show your real potential because of the language barrier but we always reach a way or another, to give the best of us and to show what I can do. All you need is the desire, motivation and be open minded! Yes this is the main characteristics for to be a volunteer abroad.

In this few words, I can say that my first month in Brno is rather positive. I met a lot of people and discover new places all the day! We will see what the future holds for me, you will know from my next article the next month. And as we say in France “Bisous bisous” 😉