What! Has it been a month already? 
A month ago, I was carrying my (too) heavy suitcase in the rain at night, pushing through the door of my new apartment for the first time! It felt strange to arrive in this quiet and dark place, but after a long day of travelling I was looking forward to some rest. As I didn’t see or hear anyone, I began to explore the flat on my own. As I walked through the rooms, I began to have a serious suspicion that all the objects I came across belonged to men. As my first experience of shared accommodation, I was afraid it was going to be a rough start. In the middle of my exploration I heard a door open and there I met my flatmate Michal! He didn’t seem surprised to see me wandering around his flat, which fascinated me. He gave me a tour of the flat, pointing out the empty shelves waiting for me and confirmed my suspicions about my flatmates. To help me recover from my emotions, he took me to the nearest shop, which I later found out is his personal tradition with new ESC INEX volunteers.

After a good night’s sleep, I went to the INEX office! Thanks to Prague’s amazing transportation system, the daily commute takes only 30 minutes.

My first days in the office went well. I felt immediately welcomed into the team. On my first day, I read a lot of documents about INEX’s values and mission, how the office works, and most importantly, what my role will be in the next few months. It was a lot of information to take in, but at least it gave me a clear idea of what I would be doing and helped answer some of my questions. 

So what happened after that, during the first four weeks? 

The first few weeks at work were mainly dedicated to getting to know the INEX team. I planned and had “kolečkos” with every member of the office, which is a time dedicated to meeting all your colleagues, learning what their job is and how you will work together. I think it definitely helped to feel part of a team and have a good integration. It also helped me to remember the names of my colleagues, especially which cute Czech nickname belongs to whom!

I have got used to the rhythm of the work. At first I found it difficult to stay in front of the computer all day, but there are so many things to do that the time flies! I have a better understanding of the process of placing the volunteers on different workcamps and I am now comfortable using all the different platforms we work on and communicating with partner organisations. 

I met and hung out with the other ESC volunteers. It was great because one of them had already been in Prague for 10 months, so whenever we had a question about the office, the work or the city, we just asked her! We explored the city together, planned our next trips and even took a bachata class together, because why not! Anything is possible in Prague. We will soon be launching our INEXclub together with the ESC volunteers, which will be an opportunity to create regular events for the INEX community on a variety of topics.  

I also met my mentor, who gave me so many addresses, restaurants, places to visit or websites that would be useful! Thanks to her, I will soon start a French/Czech language exchange with a friend of hers. At the beginning of April, I’ll also attended the on-arrival training organised by the Czech National Agency. It was a great opportunity to meet other ESC volunteers in the Czech Republic, learn more about the programme and share some experiences. 

The city is so beautiful and I can’t get enough of walking around. I have already visited the “classics”: Prague Castle, National Museum, Dancing Houses, Vysehrad. Now it’s time to explore the city more like a local than a tourist!

For the update on the flat share experience: Later I met my other flatmate Matěj and we all started hanging out together. They regularly take me out to some local Czech restaurants, help me with the Czech language (For now I am mastering the “Co je dnes za den/What day is it today” dialogue), and let me discover some Czech cooking tips (I didn’t know you could put so much water on a salad). So it turns out that my fear of sharing a flat with guys was, as so often in life, unjustified and I think I have the best flatmates I could have (they didn’t even make me write this).

So there’s a lot going on in the next few months and I can’t wait to enjoy 100% of my ESC experience!