Well, the answer to this question is different for every person that has been there or is there right now. RVA means something different for each of these people.
What I can tell you is what RVA was for me and how I saw this place during my stay.
RVA is a place for giving and getting great things back. During my short stay for only one month I participated in the climate compliance program and learned so many new things about sustainability, organic farming, permaculture, other problems we as the human race face and most important, I learned new things about myself. To be there feeling this energy of activism and drive was such an experience.
Besides getting input in every way RVA is about creating your own ideas when it comes to thinking about problems and finding a way to solve them or even to just start your own little project to make the academy and the whole island better and more sustained.
All these things can't happen when you don't have a great team and so many great people around you. This is the heart of RVA, people who work and live there together, helping each other, teaching each other and of course having fun together.
Seeing and experiencing the culture of St. Vincent and its residents was so great. They don't have much but what they surely have is a warm heart and always a smile on their face. I guess I don't have to mention how beautiful St. Vincent and the Grenadines are and how amazing the nature is. How about standing directly into the crater of a volcano or experiencing the underwater world during a dive. This just leaves you with the "wow"-effect. I could write so much more about this academy but the best thing for you is to go there and find out what RVA is to you!
Jonna from Sweden: Grow to the better you while doing something important
I know there are special programs and studies for personal development. But nothing can compare with experience personal development- that is true knowledge. This is what happens to you when you join a program at RVA. You learn so much about the world, the earth and what we are doing with it. We really are parasites on Mother earth in today's society. You learn a lot of things that makes you sad and angry, but you also learn that there is hope! There is a way, and you are going that way in this program where you are actually out in the communities making actions on what you believe in! You also learn how to teach others in a simple way so that they also can start doing something to save our world.
You live like you learn, along with your morals and in a nature that you thought only existed in books with photshoped pics. All people who comes to RVA are good hearted people, so prepare to make lifelong new friendships along with the challenges that comes with working in a team.
There is no way you are the same person when you first enter Richmond Vale Academy as when you leave. You are the better you.
Do it for the world. Do it for you!!
Melanie from Germany
I arrived one or two weeks later after the program of the 1 Month Climate Activist Team of July finished and I was a little bit scared what will be my program without having a team...
But to be honest. From the first day I've met people from all over the world- I felt very welcomed and being part of a multicultrual community.
I came to RVA to learn more about Climate Change and how to change things in my own life to live sustainable. I thought it will be more like a real school or academy where you have to make researches, hold every second day a presentation and go daily to classes. But it wasn't like this.
There were some classes or a few presentations held by teachers or students who stayed longer at RVA but it was very interesting and informative. Nevertheless it was not only the hypothetical stuff you have learned, it was also connected to the practical. Two or three times a week we had to clean, harvest in the garden or help local people.
I had the privelege to be a single student of my smart, funny and open-minded teacher! At the beginning I had to continue with some program of the 1 Month- Climate Activist Team of July but because there was just my teacher and me, we were allowed to choose a projects which we were interested in.
We tried to inform the local people of a superhealthy plant called "Moringa" while we went through the streets and promoted this plant or went to local families, talked and cooked with them. It was a very good experience to come in contact with some locals and see that these people even without having material things - which we would usually have - are happy!
After this part of the program we decided to make a project about "Whaling and fishing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines". We went for our investigation to Bequia, a little and beautiful island of the Grenadines, and made some researches to our topic. We've met plenty of friendly and open-minded people who were helping and supporting us. Even one of the workers at RVA was so friendly to take us three times to go fishing with him and gave us a lot of information according to our project.
Concluding I'd like to say even I stayed just for 1 month I had a really good time at RVA. Even if I was scared at the beginning not to have a team, at the end I was kind of happy that I had the chance to make these experiences because I know with a team of many students this was not possible. Nevertheless I enjoyed the beautiful people from different countries with whom you share good moments (after or by working). I appreciate my stay at RVA because now I know how I can deal with the implications for myself and how to convince others.
Maria from Portugal
I had a great time, I looked beyond the little problems and I focused in what I saw - The students, teachers of all ages and with various paths in life, they have one common goal: changing the world into a better place. Most of what we learn won't be in courses or books or illuminated heads but we will learn through our experiences together. Here is shown the importance of the common meeting , everyone's involvement is very important, because we run this school together, so I felt very delighted with the common meeting, a truly democratic environment, where everyone can talk about what they feel - this is for me a wonderful characteristic of the school .
I chose RVA to learn about Permaculture, of course RVA isn't a university, but it gave me the knowledge to implement a project in a poorer place in Africa or India and now I know I can do it. I want to continue to learn from other people and cultures. I know I'm not going to change the world but I know that, together, we will be able to make a difference. I want to love and embrace the whole world.