The First Language Coffee

The long-term volunteers have enjoyed their time being a part of the preparation stages for the Balkan Youth Festival. We have done a great job, finished many of the tasks, created events and been a part of the 1st Flash mob. Yet, there was one more event to prepare – the Language Coffee.

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The Language Coffee is a linguistic exchange between people from different countries. It is a perfect chance to meet new people and learn new languages in a relaxed environment, with a cup of coffee or a drink.

We have been working on the preparation for the Language Coffee for almost a month –  coming up with original activities, preparing decorations, making posters, making a presentation about EVS, designing a flyer, making up games, and finally creating an event on Facebook.

The week before the event was very intense. We had to finish everything on time. Fortunately, the short-term volunteers helped us with the decorations, so we could have focused our attention on rehearsing and fixing all the possible mistakes to make the best event possible.

Finally, our day arrived. The Language Coffee took place on Saturday 3rd, in the Café Bar Iceberg. Upon getting to the cafe, approximately half an hour before the starting of the event, we couldn’t believe what was in front of us – it was full of people waiting for the Language Coffee. There were all the short-term volunteers, some Bulgarian volunteers and some locals who wanted to join us. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and all the participants were relaxed chatting and ordering some drinks. The event was about to start.

We began by introducing the presentersLeticia, Maja and Aniol, along with our special helpersRado and Tsveti. Maja opened the event with a warm welcome, and afterwards each one of us introduced himself/herself in Bulgarian.

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The 1st activity of the afternoon was a presentation about the EVS, aiming to give more information to all the participants, and celebrate the 20 years of its existence.

Then we proposed an interactive game to familiarize the participants with some EVS related words, such as:

  • volunteer
  • National Agency
  • mentor
  • coordinator
  • Sending Organization, etc.

The next thing to do was inviting the participants to come before the audience and write down one of those words in their own language on the poster, and then read it out loud.

The second activity, called The blank map of Europe was in groups. Therefore, we separated them in the funnies way that  we could think of.  What we did was handing out small pieces of paper with the word hat in different languages. Consequently, the participants had to find other people with the same word and group with them.

Then, our helpers gave to each group the blank map of Europe, and they had to write down the word volunteer in their own language among the borders of their home countries. It was just a little warm up activity for the main game of the Language Coffee, at the same time allowing the participants to get to know their teammates.

And last but not the least, the competition game!

In the same groups, the participants were given another map of Europe. But, this time all the countries were cut out so they had to assemble the map as soon as possible working in a team. It was not easy. All the teams did a great job, and in a very hard-fought ending we got a winner. And the winner’s team got a sweet price: a cake!

win
The winners and us with the cake

Finally we ended that fantastic afternoon sharing a cake with all the participants, thanking them for making our Language Coffee possible.

Despite being our first Language Coffee, it was very successful, and we all enjoyed a lot presenting it. I personally think that the participants enjoyed it, had fun, and learnt something new, too.

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