KCAT is proud to be supported by the European Voluntary Service (EVS), and to offer exciting opportunities for young people to experience. We have been lucky to have a succession of highly motivated and skilled young people to help further enrich our centre. To visit the EVS website and find out more click here, but why not read the testimonies of previous volunteers.
I identified different habits in the host community in regards to speaking and body language. I was able to adapt myself becoming more open minded and to pay attention to others.
I was able to take the initiative, go towards others, and support others, because I like to meet people and I think I am very open and tolerant. I was most successful in communicating with others here when I used art at the same time I think.
I improved my ability to work in a team, developing listening skills and became more open to new ideas, trying to find my place in the good moment. All that is also a social learning. I also observed how people react, I was able to recognise times when, in my opinion they had a good reaction to a situation. That gave me the opportunity to consider them as examples for the future.
I have learned more than I ever could foresee. My ability to learn mainly draws its energy from my general interest in enhancing my skillset. I think as a person, a wider range of abilities does increase the social, economic and human value. Compared to school the act of learning from each other, regardless of ones skillset and abilities, has a greater importance.
As I was working alongside people with special needs, I learned to let others speak first in order to make their own learning processes possible. Those might differ from mine as many people learn at a different pace. Understanding different individuals’ needs enabled me to have more efficient work and social relationships. Furthermore it helped me to accept differences in human beings.
Partaking in communal events and festivals really taught me the value of commitment to make something greater than each individual could do on their own. Contributing to a civic event in a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Waterford called ‘Meet you at the Green’, showed me how standing up for others helps in a larger social context. I was able to experience improvements in teamwork through splitting tasks, accepting diversity of opinions and the stronger sense of a collective team spirit.
After all, I developed relationships that will last for a lifetime and that I truly cherish.
As KCAT is an art school for visual and performing art I had the opportunity to reflect on and express myself in many different forms. I watched the people approach the given tasks in various very honest ways. The creative and open atmosphere gives support and strength to do and share art since it is a very personal thing. It impressed and helped me to do so, too.
I can now say that experience is the best way to learn : be in a country to learn its language, meet disabled people to learn to work and live with them. I know as well that I could understand much more easily an activity by imagining how I would teach it. To observe and try everything because learning is everywhere. I now take the time to imagine an other way to confront a situation even if my usual way works already.
I experienced the aspects of living and working with disabled people : listen and understand them, help them and respect them. And I use that experience in other aspects of my life : I learnt to understand and to be understood in a lot of different situations and developed a confidence in my human contact, I discovered how much a group made of a lot of different people is amazing : KCAT is full of unique persons unified by the will to create. That will is really important and can be used in every group, it’s essential, common and lead really far.
I have now a comprehension of Irish people and Ireland. Plus, I realised that a foreign volunteer is an incredible strength. The volunteer can find a new self-confidence, try himself in new situations, discover new things. For the host community, it allows amazing exchanges, to discover the volunteer’s country, to be helped by a foreigner let fall the bounds and offer a new approach. The fear of the stranger, the clichés disappear and something of the host country is going abroad when the volunteer is going home. There’s a culture import for both.
Irene Fechau (Germany)
Irene, last year’s EVS volunteer, shared her experience on her blog. Here is the link: https://talesfromkilkenny.wordpress.com/
During EVS training, I learned a lot of things about different cultures. I could talk about differences and share experiences. It made me think and reflect about my own culture.
KCAT gave me the opportunities to discover the world of people with disabilities from another angle. I become aware that I’m able to advice and help other people with different abilities. I also discovered, I have enjoyed to work with people with special needs and I would like to continue this work with Art and Disability. The EVS gave me the opportunity to look at the experience I had while working in KCAT and to recognise what I had learnt. My on-arrival training and my mid-away training gave me the keys to this reflection.
It was an amazing experience. I loved this sharing with people, to learn more about them, to open my mind. I think that it is a real personal enrichment.
Julia Mena García (Spain)
KCAT was a whole year of training and exploring the relationship between art and people, in both professional and human ways. Together with the artistic competence, the social and civic competences have been the most worked during my EVS. The contact with such a wide spectrum of different abilities has made me be really concerned with the ideas of respect and difference, something that before was an abstract concept that became real this year though.
The kindness and generosity of every single person I met this year has made me recover the hope in the human being. And thanks to that I feel now a much better citizen and human being. Working and living with people from all over the world opened my mind as well to new cultures and costumes, something completely necessary in the globalised world where we live.
Julie Poirier (France)
I helped in the theatre courses, I had to take some pictures and make some videos. I improved my photography and video editing skills. I learnt more about Photoshop and the use of imovie. I organised some activities by myself so I had to think about the way to pass my knowledge to the students and the way to use what I learnt observing the teacher. As a stage manager for the annual play, I had to use my knowledge in stage managing but also look for more information about it, like how to realise a stage management book, and for advice from the teacher.
My learning was a continuous process. I lived with 4 other people from other countries in a house. So I was learning how to learn to live with many people with different nationalities as well. In everyday life, I thought about how to make our different way of life and our different culture working together so as to enjoy fully this experience. It needed communication and compromise to achieve it. I got to know more about Irish culture, in an artistic way, going to concerts and festivals or to see some artistic monuments.