Five impressions of our first month at YEE

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Exactly one month ago, we took the bus for the first time to the YEE office, to start our Erasmus+ volunteering project. We arrived with this exciting and also a bit apprehensive feeling that you are not sure what the future will hold. Now we are one month further, and luckily the anxiety is gone, although the excitement has stayed. Already, we are many impressions and experiences richer.

1. Green and bustling Prague

The YEE office is based in the beautiful city of Prague. The first thing we noticed when we arrived was how green Prague is. Everywhere there are trees growing in between buildings, and there are pockets of hilly green heavens in the middle of the bustling city that is rare to see in such a populated city. On top of that, the public transport is clear to understand and goes very regularly (even in the night!). Lastly, the abundance of vegetarian restaurants, festivals and free culture made us fall in love with the city.

Femke and Eurgain exploring the city

2. Learning about local culture at the harvest festival

The volunteering project at YEE also includes volunteering in, the centre where YEE is based together with many other organisations. On our first week, we had a baptism of fire in terms of the Czech language and culture while helping out at the harvest festival in Toulcův dvůr. This involved a lot of improvisation and communication with hands an feet. Luckily everyone was very helpful and we could enjoy Czech food, music and dance.

3. Czech language

It is very strange feeling to be in a country where people in the bus, shop, and restaurants are talking to you and you cannot make any sense of what they are saying. Czech is difficult… But it is definitely fun and rewarding as well. It’s nice to have kind reactions when we attempt to say hi (ahoj) or thank you (děkuji) in Czech. It’s also fun to find at least some words that you recognise from other languages (drinky, workshopy, studentka). And lastly, pronouncing words such as zmrzlina (ice cream) or smrt (death) or čtyři (four) is definitely a challenge. For the latter, we heard that even some Czech are struggling with the pronunciation of the famous “ř”!

4. Meeting other volunteers

All volunteers from the Erasmus + programme in any country or project need to attend an on-arrival training. In our third week, we headed out towards Kralupy nad Vltavou, a small oil town, to have five days of training together with 25 other young people who are doing voluntary projects in the Czech Republic. We learned more about Czech Culture, non-formal education, all volunteering practicalities, the other projects and our personal development. Most importantly, we formed new bounder-crossing friendships and planned many visits to each other’s Czech hometowns.

5. Volunteering at YEE

In between discovering the city, going on training and volunteering for Toulcův dvůr, we were trying to figure out how YEE works in terms of the office, board and member organisations and how we could contribute to its functionality. In only one month, we learned how to write funding proposals, wrote articles and recipes for the office cuisine project, made a newsletter, worked on the YEE website and many more. A flying start really!

To conclude, a very full and exciting first month, that hopefully promises the same for the eleven more months to come!

By Femke and Eurgain, Erasmus+ volunteers at YEE 2018-2019

More info on volunteering and the European Solidarity Corps:

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