From the 18th to 23rd of March four of our volunteers went to on arrival training in Orahovica.

  • 12.04.2024.

On arrival training is organised through the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) project to learn more about the projects, the ideas behind ESC, and Croatia. They had the opportunity to meet 12 other ESC volunteers coming from all over Europe and beyond, and who are now staying and working in different parts of Croatia. Below, you can read the experiences of our volunteers Paula, Mélanie, Zülfü, and Linde


During our stay, we were doing workshops on different topics: project management, cultural exchanges or even problem solving. These workshops were guided by two trainers, who did a great job at connecting us all and making learning really enjoyable. We often did exercises that seemed a bit silly at first, but actually taught us some valuable lessons about collaboration and communication.

We were staying in a Red Cross organisation close to the town. We even had a pool to enjoy during our free time and do some exercises for some of us. A typical day starts at 7:00 to take a swim, then time for breakfast until 9.30 and 4 workshops a day, cut by typical Croatian breaks: “pomalo” (take it easy) and “kava” (coffee).


Free time also gave everyone the chance to explore the countryside in Orahovica. During a free afternoon, half of the group hiked up a hill in Orahovica to see the castle ruins on the top. The ruin was incredible and the views were spectacular. We even made a little furry dog friend along the way. Not all of the Biom volunteers made it to the top though, since one volunteer was more interested in the birds he saw along the way.

Being in Orahovica was also a great opportunity for cultural exchange, learning more about Croatian and each other’s cultures. Not only did we learn a lot about intercultural communication and differences during the training, we also learnt a lot outside of workshop hours. For example when a traditional Croatian dinner was served. The biggest culture shock we experienced was the music. A part of the group went to a local bar to celebrate someone’s birthday, and even though we didn’t expect the latest pop hits, we also did not expect to only listen to Croatian folk music all night. Luckily, our new Bosnian friends taught us how to dance to this kind of music and we had a great night!

Saturday afternoon was already the time to go back to our respective homes. We look back on a great week where we learnt a lot about others and ourselves. We took the train from Orahovica to Zagreb and said goodbyes to our new friends. Paula and Zülfü already met up with some of them in Split before they went on fieldwork to Lastovo, and this will definitely not be the last time we see each other!