Final report from Kata

I spent my EVS at Outward Bound Romania. It was a meaningful experience with lot of adventures.
It was a quick decision to apply for an EVS project and I was surprised when I found out that I am chosen for the project. The timing was just perfect I wanted to leave my current job and  learn more about the world to broaden my horizons.

I accepted it and I moved to Romania for 9 months. At the beginning  I was  a little bit lost in a strange city. I felt alone although my colleagues were friendly and supportive. They took me to the best places where I could meet nice people and learn folk dance. It helped me a lot to integrate and find local friends and company.
My accommodation was in Marosvásárhely and during the winter I worked in the office. I helped to write projects and I was making graphic design, logos, leaflets and posters as well.
After spring the outdoor programs began in the youth center of OB, in Sovata. At the beginning I was there mainly during the weekends, but from May when I almost moved there, because of the quantity of programs.
The adventurous and magical journey begins. This was what I enjoyed the most. I took part in outdoor programs based on experiential education as a participant and assistant trainer as well.
I attended a Training of Trainers course where I got tools and techniques to use in experiential education. After the training assisting on the outdoor programs I deepened my knowledge about non-formal education. I was involved in planning and implementing activities. I learned how to design a program according to the group's needs and expectation and I lead activities as well.
During my EVS project I tried to take part actively in a local social and cultural life. I have attended folk dance courses where I learned dances, songs and habits from the local region. I went to theatre, concerts and other cultural events. I have been in a folk dance camp where I have seen how substantial is for the locals to preserve their traditions.
Those programs provided me a wide range of possibilities to meet many interesting people and make new friendships. I have met people from different backgrounds and nations. Spending more time with them I realized that even there are differences in our way of thinking and different point of view I could find the way to understand each other.
The project provided me opportunities and enough time for focusing on myself and for self-reflection. I have learned a lot about myself I realized my skills, strengths and weaknesses. I had  opportunity to overcome my fear of the heights, to complete a hiking tour with sleeping outside in winter, which made me stronger physically and mentally. Overcoming these challenges I realized my own boundaries and potential.

It was one of the the best periods of my life full of memorable experiences. I have learned a lot about myself about facing challenges, problem solving and persistence. I am thankful that I could share those moments with wonderful  people in a familiar atmosphere. I am glad that I could meet them and I hope we will see each other in the future. 


The real sense of experiential education

The last weeks spent in the spirit of learning about myself and the methods of experiential education.

I  have had the honour to participate on the first OBR Staff Expedition organized this year, which was my very first OBR expedition.
It was a long weekend with shopping, days of walking in snow and rain, getting lost at the night, searching for camping place, sleeping in a tent in a cold wet weather, cooking oatmeal and lentils,  trying out snowshoes, learning how to use the compass and map, walking with heavy backpacks, seeing bear steps, splitting up and unexpected meeting, searching for spring, debriefing and finally getting back and having a delicious lunch and peaceful talk.
After the first night we woke up on a snowy morning. Coming out from the tent after a cold night with a little sleep I was just standing and wondering what am I doing here?! I really don’t like being cold, feeling coldness that got under my skin was far away from my comfort zone and it nearly paralysed me. Because I was part of the food team I forced myself and started to make myself useful and we prepared something to eat for the team.
Afterwards continuing our expedition the sun came out and everything seemed to be pleasing and likeable.
There was an another deep point for me: on the second day the group split up into two parts according to the path we wished to accomplish. When I choose the shorter and easier route I didn't even suspected that it will turn into the harder one. It became dark and started to rain, my backpack felt heavier end heavier. We could only move forward slowly on the path with slippery leaves, stones and branches. Than we noticed fresh bear steps in the snow. I didn't wish to met any bear on that path, suddenly I forgot my backpack and started to go as quickly as I could and also singing to scare off the bear. After a few hours of walking we were in the faith that we are near to our goal according to the map and time, but we realized that we are only on the half road, so we decided to get down of the ridge and find the asphalt road. We needed to go down on a steep slope and in the dark we didn't know exactly when and where would we find the road. Jocó helped me with my backpack which was heavy and wide. It was hard to move on with that between the trees and bushes. At the beginning I didn't want to accept help, but after we arranged our backpacks I admitted that it was much easier and safe to move.
Finally we found the road and in that moment we met with the others as well. It was a surprising and marvelous moment even if the others were in the belief that we are already at the camping place cooking the dinner.
The real understanding of those deep experiences appeared when I get home exhausted but still waiting for the next Training Of Trainers expedition with new people and tasks. Being in a warm bed I realized how lucky I am: I was sleeping outdoor just two nights knowing that after those three days I can return back home. There are many people outside who have to live in this or worst situation not know when and where does it end or even if it is ever ending.

A few days later the TOT –Training of Trainers began.

It was a memorable 10 day with circles, team building, activities, tasks, feedbacks, debriefing, expedition, „earthquake“, losting and finding each other, getting "slanina", rescue , spare food, chocolates from Moldova, ropes course, belaying, knots, wall climbing, practical part, test, saying goodbye.. :)

Yes it was long, exhausting sometimes even frustrating but mostly exciting training with lively moments as well. There was a great group of young people with various backgrounds, strong personalities,  dominant characters. It gave us an opportunity to learn not just from professional trainers but from each other as well.

we are going and going..

It was a bigger milestone in my life than I expected, given me significant experiences. I am happy that I could learn those things about myself and those details about the outdoor education. I am looking forward to practic them on the OBR courses.
The highlight of the training for me was the expedition. I was looking forward to it, but it wasn’t anything I expected. My shoes were breaking my ancle. I started to feel it on the beginning of the expedition, but I didn't expected that it will become that serious.
On the first evening it hurt but I hoped that on the next day it will be better. Unfortunately on the morning I steel felt the pain, but I don’t want let it to stop me and ruin the expedition. During the day it was getting worse and worse and I tried not to focus on the pain. I got a bandage on my feet, but it didn't really help and in the afternoon every step became painful, fortunately we were passing on an easy path. In the evening I faced the fact that a badly steep hill leads to the bears cave - our camping place for that night. The others seeing how I move decided to take my backpack and with the help of Eugene I get to the cave. As I could lean on him my leg didn’t hurt at all and even the path didn’t seem so hard.
On the next morning I couldn't step on my leg and I realized that I can't get down from that place. The team got a task and we should go on quickly, so they started to solve the situation how to get me down from that place. It was obvious that I couldn't make it even if I will lean on somebody, it would be dangerous for both of us. So the real rescue had started and I just stood there impotently, incapable while the others tried to solve the situation. It was a strange, uncomfortable feeling. My brain was full of thoughts about how to handle this, what would be the best solution. After all David took me down from that steep hill on his back and I was carried back to the OB center. I had a rest and I was wondering, processing the last two day's events. I just couldn't accept that my condition was so bad that I had to leave the expedition. After having a shower, sleeping like a baby and in the evening still waiting for the others to come back I admitted that it was a good choice.
Then with the help of the feedbacks I realized that I could ask for help and maybe get back on the second evening to the centre, because I was just injuring myself and it wasn't good for the team as well. During the expedition it didn't even coming to my mind that I can say no and leave it. I just want to be with the group, go on and don't give up. Although this way I couldn't be there effectively.

the beginning of the expedition

on the third morning of  the expedition
These powerful experiences of those expeditions and reviewing the actions I have performed in the past showed me that there are situations when I can say „no“.  If I want to help others firstly I need to find balance in my life and learn to accept help from others. In addition there are no bad decisions. Once you make a choice according to the circumstances you are at the moment. Later you should face all the consequences knowing that it was the best choice in that situation.

The next step of my journey is to not forget what I have learnt and practice it in my future life .


I am back ;)

I am sorry that I ignored the blog in last two months. It wasn't because nothing has happened, simply I was too lazy to write. Finally I got the inspiration and I am ready to share with you the most meaningful experiences of my last two months:

In December we have the year-end evaluation meeting in Sovata, where I finally met almost all the OBR trainers. It was a memorable weekend with full of funny, emotional and delightful moments. It was nice to meet all of those people. They had a lot of question about me, my home and our culture. So I decided to make them a little party before the Christmas holiday. They learned the most interesting and amusing facts about Slovakia and my home by playing entertaining games and I made also our traditional dish: byndzové halušky-juhtúrós sztrapacska.  Either they liked it a lot, or they were just too polite, but it was eaten really quickly, so I consider it as a success :)

My viewpoint is that the perfect Christmas is at home. So I went back to my village to meet my family and  friends. I spent a lovely peaceful week with them and I came back to Marosvásárhely curiously waiting for the new experiences. Fortunately there was no lack of new adventures.
Even the winter couldn't stop us to go and explore the nature. Thanks to Picur, Orsi and Bella I got the chance see the Székelykő. It was a memorable experience to got up there even if the weather wasn't the most ideal. There was a big fog that day, so we can't see anything from the top, but it didn't discourage us. We simply used our imagination, and I have to tell you the imagined view was much more impressive than the real one (I googled it after coming home).

I take part also in our ski camp where I learned to ski with the children. It was funny to be the eldest one and learn with them. I really enjoyed their endless youthful enthusiasm which gave me a lot of energy.  At the end of the week I could come down from the hill easily, so in the future I need to go on in practice and try not to forget the basics. In the evenings we played a lot and on the last night we have a crazy party. It was great to see and feel the children energy after that exhausting week.
In my free time I am going on the folk dance lessons and parties in the city, as a mentioned in my last post. It is awesome that there are more occasions weekly when I can learn to dance and meet amazing people! :)
Sztrapacska everywhere
Happy birthday Iza!

The OB Team

Ski camp


First experiences

My first month of my EVS project full of memorable moments has already passed.

I have spent two weekends in Sovata. I was helping in the School of Experience program. The center is in a charming valley surrounded by beautiful hills, far away from everything, I got the feeling that it was made for the Outward Bound. I can´t wait for the spring to come, when I can spend more time there.

Until then I will work in the office, what I enjoy as well. It is nice to work with so thoughtful colleagues. I was warmly surprised that they remembered my birthday and threw me a little party in the office with cake and I got presents. I´m really grateful for that, they made me feel more like at home.
We went also to a folk dance party and I found out that in Targu Mures are many opportunities to learn Hungarian folk dance. I am really glad about that, because I always wanted to learn it and  you can meet nice people there, too.

Last week I completed my on arrival training in Predeal, which was full of powerfull experiences: loosing my backpack and getting it back, meeting crazy people, discovering the city, taking long walks, snowballing, snowfighting and laughing a lot.
To tell you the truth it didn´t start well. I was travelling to Predeal by bus. When we finally arriwed I get out of the bus happily and while I was walking to open the trunk the bus suddenly started off and left. I waved furiously but the driver didn´t notice me. So I found myself staying in the middle of a strange city without my luggage. I called my mentor and fortunately she arranged that the bus coming from the other direction could bring it back to me. After an hour my backpack was in my hands again and I could get to the hotel hoping that now only good things can happen. And I was right! :)
The view from my room

I had an amazing week. It was great to meet other volunteers from all Europe. We learned a lot about the EVS, Romania and cultures of each other. We worked, played and partied together- every night. :)
The highlight of the training was a trip to the nearest peak. We have a magnificent view from the top. The snowy landscape sparkled so brightly in the sun that it seemed like a dream. It just reminded me how much I love nature.

The whole training gave me a huge support in my project. The talks with the others made me realise that even we came from different countries we have similar reasons why we became volunteers. We have the same expectations and also fears from our project. It gave me new ideas and inspiration how to use the 8 months of volunteering. I am more excited to learn new things, get new experiences, explore the country than I was before.

Thank you Team Bora-Bine and the others ! :)

Hope to see most of you again on the mid-term training and the others also someway, somewhere!


Let´s get the project started

Hello dear readers of this blog!

My name is Kata and I just became a volunteer at Outward Bound Romania. I have the honour of writing the first post on this blog. 

I am from Slovakia and I am 26 years old. After I graduated I moved to Budapest and started to work as a designer of heating systems. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me as I expected, so I decided to broaden my horizons by doing volunteer work. I always enjoyed working with people, especially with teenagers and children. Working here is a great opportunity to learn more about it. I hope that during the project I can develop my leadership abilities and gain my self-confidence.

Something about me:

I grew up in a small village near to Kosice therefore the nature was always close to me. I love taking long walks, hiking, jogging. I enjoy going out with my friends, having fun, dancing. I also like cooking and according to my friends I am quite good at it. (Well, nobody had died yet, so I consider it as a big success :) ) My other passion is handcraft especially jewellery making. I also enjoy knitting, suiting, painting in fact I love every activity which needs creativity.
Furthermore my family is really important to me. I adore my parents, I am absolutely grateful to them for their support. I have a younger brother and sister who I can also rely on. Without them I wouldn’t be here.

My first days:

Firstly I have to mention this lovely city. I haven’t seen much of it, but I already felt in love with the main square. I have a weakness for the seccesion, so I am absolutely impressed by the charming colorful buildings.
I really appreciate the warm welcome and support of my colleagues, they are kind and helpful. My first impression about the project is definitively positive. I am looking forward to see what the next 9 months will bring.

I will be back in a short time to share with you my newest experiences.

I have already taken some photos of my favourite buildings of the main street, enjoy them!

The Palace of Culture
The Old City Hall

Ortodox Cathetral
 National Theatre Targu Mures
An adorable building in the center


Stepping Outdoors

The EVS project, entitled Stepping Outdoors, is funded by the European Comission Erasmus+ Programme and is organized by Outward Bound Romania-hosting and coordinating organization- in partnership with the Hungarian Élményakademia Közhasznú Egyesület -sending- and the Slovak INEX -sending-  organizations. The project is running between November 2014 and March 2016.

Our first volunteer Katalin Görcsös started her service on the 1st of November 2014 and will be with us till the end of July 2015 and the other volunteer will also join for 9 months in May 2015.

The goal of the project is to to share good practices in the field of experiential education and to challenge young people to actively get involved in the societies life and to become active citizens.