My time at Our Chalet as an Autumn Volunteer has come to an end, and I can’t believe that it has gone by so quickly. It’s been a really great season with some amazing guests and I have learnt so much from so many people. So much has happened over the last couple of months. I’ve made so many memories, made so many new friends and experienced so many new adventures.
The staff changes at Our Chalet every season. I know every season is different and no one will have the exact same experience as another volunteer, but here is some advice I have for future volunteers:
- Communicate with your team. Communication is key when it comes to working effectively and efficiently as a team, and everyone should be on the same page. Your job gets done quicker this way too!
- Always take a first aid kit with you, no matter where you go. I learnt this the hard way when I fell off my bike cycling to Frutigen. No one had a first aid kit!
- Get to know the long term staff members as well as your fellow volunteers. It’s easy to build a relationship with the other volunteers, as you live in the same building and spend a lot of time together. It’s trickier to get to know the long term staff as you don’t spend as much time with them, but it’s worth getting to know them as well. They’re really nice, give great advice and you can make some good friends.
- Challenge yourself. Challenge yourself to take risks and do things that scare you, and you’ll be surprised what you can achieve here. I was so nervous when I hiked over the Bunderchrinde to the Kandersteg International Scout Centre, but I did it and I’m so glad I took on the challenge.
- Find the balance between doing jobs effectively but quickly. It’s hard to find that balance between getting the job done well in a short period of time. It’s possible, but it just takes practice.
- Prepare for the unexpected. There are a lot of unexpected things at Our Chalet, whether it be the weather, cleaning or a sonic boom! (Yes, that happened twice). Learn to adapt quickly, and you’ll enjoy your time even more.
- Make the most of your time here. Time travels so quickly here, so it’s easy to not notice the days passing by. Do something on your day off rather than just having a lazy day. Make those amazing memories that you might not get the chance to make again. I’m so glad I’ve done everything I wanted to do whilst here, so I feel like I haven’t missed out on anything.
- Finally, have fun. Have a spontaneous dance session whilst folding mountains of laundry. Have a karaoke night. Watch a TV series with the other volunteers. Just have fun and enjoy your season! Make it something to look back on and something to cherish.
Given the chance, I would never stop talking about my time here. I’ve learnt what I’m capable of as well as many life skills. Before coming to the Chalet, I was so nervous about speaking in front of big groups. After two and a half months, I’ve spoken in front of groups and led groups on our Programme multiple times. I’ve experienced new things like climbing mountains over 2500 metres, and made international friends from Tunisia, Canada and Denmark that I hope will last a lifetime. It’s truly been a once in a lifetime experience and I wouldn’t change a single part of it for the world.
Cerys, UK – Autumn Volunteer 2018