My fourth week in Hungary (my third Angloville camp) was a unique experience that I will never forget. This camp was very much like a rollercoaster as it had its ups and downs but did show many improvements as the week went on and will continue to improve after we left. To begin with we arrived at öko-land to see massive communal log cabins which were so exciting to me as I have always wanted to stay in a log cabin but never had.
I had created this idea of what living in a log cabin was like but öko-land did not meet all of my expectations. Firstly I noticed that there were no keys for the room or toilet and so we’re unable to lock doors when we needed to. This is an obvious problem due to the fact that approximately five people had to share a toilet who were mixed ages and genders. Luckily my ‘group’ created a sign to signify when the toilets were in use but even this was not a perfect fix. Regarding keys to the room, many of us carried around expensive equipment (cameras, laptops etc) and so these needed to be safe. Now, this absolutely doesn’t mean I did not trust the participants but I believe that the concept of having a key makes many people feel more secure and safe.
This place was clearly a new venue for Anglovile and so many of the teething problems were very visible. For example, there were very few common places where the speaking sessions and games could take place. Apart from the bedroom, conference room and breakfast hall there were no common places but I realise now that they are in the process of building new common areas but while we were there, there was very few. Also, the kitchen in this venue was also under construction and so we had to walk to a near-by restaurant which in itself was no problem. The problem was that the route we took had little to no pavements and so everyone had to walk on the road which is an obvious health and safety issue.
After the initial shock of a lack of facilities etc the whole experience improved. We learnt after a while that this venue is super eco-friendly. Because of this, they would do peculiar things such as bring out leftover food and drink from breakfast for us to enjoy at dinner time and they would switch off all power across the venue at approximately 12 pm every night. At first, this seemed like a massive issue (especially the latter) but once I considered the benefits on the environment and I got used to these situations it was actually a really good idea. This in my eyes made the entire venue very unique and interesting which made it a much more enjoyable experience.
The English level of these participants was generally a lot lower so at first, it was difficult to encourage conversations and discussions from them but after a while, this did become a lot easier. Similar to the first camp at the end of this week the participants have to do a presentation in English. Again, these presents were so interesting as all the participants had very exciting hobbies and interesting passions. This made the presentations very easy to watch but also many of the participants performed professionally and perfectly. One of my favourite parts of this camp was the discussion groups. One very interesting speaking session was with one of the participants when we discussed whether they preferred classroom-based learning or conversational based learning. When this question many participants say discussions groups as they are more fun. However, this certain participant said that he likes both equally and when question he said “in the classroom, you learn the grammar rules etc and when speaking with a native English speaker you notice they don’t follow the rules themselves. It’s almost as if you need to learn the rules and then learn how to break them correctly.” Hence the cover photo of this weeks blog post which was a very interesting discussion.
I believe that with many camps like this one you get out of the camp what you put in. If you go in and put 100% into everything then you will have a much better experience then someone who is not that involved with the programme. I realised this very early on and so I decided to try things that I have never done before. For example, I lead a tap class for the large group of people in the camp which was very scary but it was very rewarding as many people were practising the steps days after the lesson was carried out.
For the second week in a row I took part in the talent show where I organised and carried out a spectacular magic show under the guise of ‘Rhys the ridiculous.’ Where I carried out incredible mind reading tricks mixed with hilarious comedy (If I do say so myself 😉) The talent show this week was incredible. We had a wide range of acts including my new found love called ‘gloving’, a crash course in the Icelandic language, piano playing and Hungarian poetry. Also, I organised a venue wide photo competition where participants had to creatively completely task given to them and had to take photos of themselves doing these activities.
One of my favourite activities in this camp was the mini-hike we went on. At first, when I was told we were going on a hike I was very disappointed as it’s not usually something I enjoy but this one I did. I’m not sure if it was the thought of getting ice cream when the walk is completed or the picturesque views of rural Hungary but for one reason or another, I did enjoy this activity.
Overall, this week was very different from the other camps and was a very unique experience. The level of the learners in this camp was a lot lower but this generally did not stop them for conversing just as much, if not more, than previous participants. I throughly enjoyed this experience and could see the improvements and development of the venue while at camp and have been informed that more improvements will be made and so I am excited to go back when the construction work is all finished.