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,