After the email confirming your successful application the next thing that is included in the EVS programme is the pre-departure training day. I was really looking to this day and I knew this would be a great opportunity to see the other volunteers going to our placements and find out more about what we going to do. We had already made a Facebook group because the Red Cross had emailed us all the names of the people on our placement which was good so we had already chatted a little but it was great to see them in person (some I had already seen on the interview day so meeting them again was nice knowing that we weren’t in an interview)!
As I live in Newcastle, the Red Cross payed for my accommodation for the night before and for the train to and from London. The accommodation was part of the University College London halls and was only a short underground ride to where the head office was which was really convenient. Although I didn’t get there until quite late, the other volunteers that needed accommodation were already there and met up for a drink so I would recommend contacting the other volunteers before to maybe organise something. It is a great chance to get to know the people first in an informal setting. After all, you are going to be living and working with them for the next year!
On this day itself we learned about our rights and responsibilities as an EVS volunteer and about the Red Cross in general. Furthermore, we considered potential problems we may encounter and the support network where we could find solutions. We also brought any remaining ID for necessary checks and completed other essential paperwork. It was a good day and I came home with my information pack, knowing a lot more about the year ahead, feeling supported and prepared by the Red Cross.
RECCOMENDATIONS for pre-departure
Contact other volunteers to get to know them a little more- maybe set up a facebook or whatsapp group.
Contact the volunteers from previous years to find out more of the projects
Find out a little about Halle and Germany to prepare yourself
Start learning German!!!! (or if you already know some get practicing- there are several excellent apps on the computer/phone such as DuoLingo which you can use for free)