I've learned and seen many things which open my eyes.

It has been more than 3 years since I was in the same situation as you are now. When I arrived I was, of course, impressed by the place and nature and full of expectations. I was wondering who will be in my team, will I connect with people, how will the program go…I had also some doubts cuz I wasn't sure if that's the right thing for me and if I will be strong enough to finish what I started. But all these feelings and questions started to fade when I realized that I'm in a place where we are all the same and we are all facing some challenges.

During my time at RVA, and also during my volunteer work in Ecuador, I've learned and seen many things which open my eyes. When I actually met the people in the field I've realized that the best way to do something for them is to go out there and do things with them and teach them how they can do it by themselves. Of course it's good to learn some theory first, so you can understand their situation better, but there is no better way to help than going out with the knowledge and new ideas and to reach as many people as possible.

RVA was a really special place for me and it still is. I had many ups, and some lows also, but all these made my experience at RVA even greater. One thing that I found very important was honest and open communication. You can't avoid the fact that you will live and work with many different people from different cultures, backgrounds and with different personalities, which can be pretty challenging sometimes. And that's why you have to be (or learn how to be) patient and work as a team. Talk to each other, be open for new ideas and support one another.

When I look back at my life at RVA I wouldn't change a thing cuz I'm sure that everything happens for a reason and now you are there also with a reason, so give as much as you can and you will get it all back.


So, be yourself, be honest and open your mind and heart to new people and new experiences.
P.S. Wear long pants or your legs will be eaten from sandflies ☺

Hugs from Slovenia,

Remember you will represent the change and the betterment for your new community.

Today you will start to climb a mountain! Some people say that climbing a mountain is more important than reaching the top, for most of the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.

Enjoy the time with your new friends and partners on this new journey, respect the difference and celebrate diversity and life with responsibility. Remember you will represent the change and the betterment for your new community. Make an effort to leave some beautiful seeds behind.

Sometimes, the higher you will climb this mountain, the harder the wind will blow – or you will be able to see an even more beautiful and wider sunset. Keep putting one foot in front of each other and have in mind that together you are stronger.

When you reach the top, the wonderful view, all you´ve learned, experienced, shared and all the skills you´ve gained and sharped will worth the hard climbing. A lot will be about not conquering the mountain, but yourselves.

In the future, every time you remember this mountain you ´ve conquered, there will be a happy and grateful smile on your face. Wish you all the best and that you make the most out of it!

With warm regards,

Debora, from Brazil. RVA - 2011.

We learned how to use recycled materials.

I recently participated in a one-month program at the school and I must say it was the best decision I’ve made.

Who would ever think that all this knowledge and excitement could actually be compacted in one month? At first the thought of it was being like an actual secondary school, but it’s so different in so many different ways … RVA aids in building your communication skills and learning how to be responsible.

During my course we participated in a lot of actions. There was never a dull moment at RVA. We conducted several GMO awareness meetings at various schools and communities. This was indeed my favorite part of the program. Before I participated in this program, I wasn’t aware of what GMO’s are and the harmful effects that surrounds it. We also took part in constructing a model garden in Rose Hall, where we learned how to use recycled materials.

At RVA I gained knowledge about healthy foods and lifestyles, which I could then apply, to myself and to others. I also had the opportunity of learning different languages from students with different nationalities.

I could prolong with the knowledge and experiences I earned in my one-month program and it’s simply amazing. My experience at RVA and the one month program was so awesome that I volunteered to return and to another month. And now I’m motivated to enroll in the 18-month program, entitled Fighting with The Poor.

I would strongly recommend all you readers to get involved in the program and experience what it’s like to be present at RVA and the knowledge you could gain in just one month I say. It will leave you wanting for more, and willing to share!

Dimitrius, St. Vincent

My eyes were opened to the seriousness of climate change.

I am one of many lucky persons to be given the opportunity to study at the Richmond Vale Academy in its Climate Compliance Course.

I'm happy to extend a warm welcome to you guys to our beautiful island St. Vincent and to my home away from home Richmond Vale Academy (RVA).

RVA is where my eyes were opened to the seriousness of climate change and the importance of taking good care of the place we call home; earth. There I also learned about being self sufficient by farming and other interesting methods of doing things in an eco-friendly way.

Now I'm more conscious of my environment and willing to take charge in preserving my environment. My experience at RVA was a life changing one; I learned a lot and enjoyed spending time in work and play with the RVA family. It was great socializing with other person from different regions. Enough about me.

My advice to you guys that would be starting your courses is to go with an open mind, expect learning in a new enjoyable way, with time you'll feel like RVA is home because of the love and energy that's there. Prepare to leaders in making the a better place. I trust that you would St. Vincent and RVA. Thanks for reading my letter to you. I hope to meet you guys soon. Good bye.

Carandre Fernandez

Remember that whatever you want to do depends on you.

This is Susana from La Paz, Bolivia.

I would like to tell you that you will have many surprises and above all an intensive time of life with positive and no so positive things, things that will give you the opportunity to know new reactions about yourself and improve positively your attitudes every time. After a short while, all of you will be like a family, and then is important to have an open dialogue and cooperation based on HARD work, which is a big value when you work as a "team". This includes in the small things of life as when your team mate is tired and you can help maybe washing a cup or giving some good ideas.

Remember that everyone is an emotional human then try to think about empathy and what would like to receive if you would be in the position of your team mate. We know that every one of us is different, and from my 'personal' experience, as Susana, I can say that I enjoyed every moment during the training. In SVG (which I consider my second country) and also in Mozambique, I received good experiences for make challenges to the community.

Remember that whatever you want to do depends on you, do not wait for the system,if you want something then make it work!. Possibly some days you will feel like down (sad missing family or angry...) remember why you are there and make it value, for sure all this big new adventure come with big and good memories. At the same time was good for to know more about other cultures, that include learn other languages as English and Portuguese, try to practice much as you can talking with the people, watching videos, reading... asking to your friends, help and receive from others.

And read every thing you can... what you find in the library and on the Internet. Development is always a good theme for a future work. Hope soon can visit again lovely SVG and the team at Richmond (good memories and stories of every one of them during my life there ). If I can be a useful adviser or provide you some information let me know.

Boas energias desde Mocambique!!