Geoffroy: From the flat country to the little big country

28.02.2023 13:55 EZS Slovensko
Close your eyes and, for one minute, imagine you’ll go in a far far away country you had never visited yet. Is Slovenia being far far away from Belgium? Americans and Russians will tell you it is not. But for me, the little Belgian from his quiet Ardenne Forest, it is. You must know, I am a kind of Bilbo Baggins, the guy who appreciates chilling in his little village without special adventures. Yes, indeed, the province of Luxembourg has some common points with the Shire: a rural place with lot of farms and quiet old people.

Oh, and before to continue this text, it is Slovakia and not Slovenia, sorry. That is the first thing you have to know before coming to this country. Ah, and it is also good to know Slovakia is in central Europe and not in eastern Europe. And, most important, do not tell them Kofola is a kind of Coca-Cola, this is not the same.  

So, why Slovakia? Because I felt a need of adventure and the opportunity of ESC, like Gandalf the Grey, came to my door with a good project. Promotional activities, eco-village, workcamps with castles? It sounded good. After a moment of reflection and two meetings with Louis from the Compagnons Batisseurs, I finally took my decision and jumped to the night train. I expected a Hogwart Express but it was a little different… no wizards in the train but, hopefully, no Dementors too. I was (and I’m still) optimistic to find some magic in this volunteering in Slovakia.  

This adventure in Slovakia began by a nice meeting with the workers of INEX and Peto, my mentor who show me the city of Bratislava for the first time. It was during the evening and, honestly, seeing the castle, enlightened in the dark, above the city and surveying the historic center was a beautiful experience. 

I really like the skyline of Bratislava because you can see it is a nice mix between the old (the castle) and the modern times (UFO Tower). Thanks to Peto for this first visit.  

And after the discovering of Bratislava, it was my turn, some days later, to introduce Belgium in a Tea Meeting with INEX. It was a really and funny good moment to explain some details and facts about Belgium, which is still popular for her chocolate. I think there were more than 20 people at this event. It was a little stressful, of course… My first presentation in English. But finally, it was a happy moment and a good opportunity to meet new people around chocolate and brie. 

It was the occasion to explain my project and my exceptions. Indeed, I’m here for the Promotional Activities project. It means, focusing on online promotion of volunteering, making videos for TikTok, working with Canva and much more. For me, it will be a good way to evolve in the digital universe.  

So, nice evening before my departure for the On-arrival training where I met other ESC volunteers. It was in the Most Slavy Hotel, at Trencianske Teplice. A very very nice place. It was very interesting to learn about the project of the other volunteers, who were from all around Europe: France, Belarus, Ukraine, Turkey, Sweden, Romania... Sonia and Martin, coordinators of the On-arrival training, gave us some opportunities to learn about each other's. Thanks to them for their dynamism and their energizer.  

Between some interactive activities with the other ESC volunteers, I even had the opportunity to be interviewed by Impulz Press, a local media. You can find the interview here - check the video from 10:20 - listen to it and enjoy my Francois Hollande’s english skills.  

And fun fact about the travel from Bratislava to Trencianske Teplice: I met the former neighbor of my uncle at a bus stop… Of course, the world is small but my optimism for this project is big.  


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