YFU Switzerland

PDO and OW in Czech Republic

[Generously sponsored by Movetia]
After I had already joined the Czech Skicamp in February and therefore got in touch with the Volunteers and Inbounds, I was more than excited to hear that I will go to the PDO/OW as well. PDO is the shortcut for Pre Departure Orientation and aims to prepare the current Inbounds in Czech for their homecoming. The OW (Orientation Weekend) on the other hand side is about initializing the next Exchange Students for going abroad. These two programs were held parallel, as can be seen in the table below:

I arrived in Czech Republic in the evening of June 15th. I went to the apartment of my friend Kamila, who was organizing the camp. That night we did the last flipcharts and final preparing and the next morning we were ready to leave for the camp together with the other Volunteers. Before the students arrived (around three o´clock) we were hurried to set up everything.

‘Wall of Love’ with all the envelopes

One thing in particular I found a clever idea: We arranged a wall consisting of envelopes, each belonging to one Volunteer or Student (In-and Outbounds). Everyone was asked to write small notes to whoever they wanted to during the entire weekend. In the end, plenty of letters had been spread out and it was a good experience to read what others had to tell you.




Future destinations of Czech Exchange Students

Another idea was to have the Outbounds pin their picture onto the country they were going to on their exchange. Apparently not everyone did it, yet I find it an effective way of illustrating the broad range of destinations and a good conversation starter 🙂



The Inbounds coming from all around the world

Besides me there was Carla, another Swiss Volunteer who was doing an internship in Slovakia at that time, and two Volunteers from Poland and Germany. Since our Czech is quite poor, we were usually asked to join in to the sessions with the Inbounds. The Inbounds were a small group of eleven students and very loving people who were appreciating the effort YFU had put into this weekend a lot. I personally loved working with a group of that size since each one of them could tell their stories and at the end of the PDO we got the chance to become good friends and hopefully had prepared them for their return home.



Me and Agata practicing South African gestures

Another task of mine, which was in fact the very reason I had been asked to join the camp, was to talk to Agatha, a Czech girl that was soon to leave for South Africa. I myself had been in SA on exchange in 2015/16 and was excited to talk about my experience and give some advice. We got along very well and I am curious to hear about her exchange as well!



Food handed out by Kamila and a French intern

Other than in the Swiss camps we had a cook preparing the food for us and the Volunteers and Students were only asked to assist cleaning up.







Late night snack around the fire

In no YFU camp energizers are missing!















What I liked most about the camp is that the PDO and the OW are held together. It was amazing how the In- and Outbounds were interacting with each other and fully displayed the spirit of YFU…


All together the camp was a success and it was a pleasure to get to know these great young people. I hope to be able to stay in touch with at least some of them 🙂

All the people that had joined the camp together