After countless hours of travelling and a very intense week on the Isle of Coll, I got back from PT selection in the (very) early hours of Sunday morning. Whether I get selected or not (I’ll find out in about two weeks), the week was an amazing experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.
What Does Selection Involve?
This is exactly what I wanted to know before I went to Coll, so here’s a roughly condensed list that will hopefully be helpful to someone else in the future:
- Digging ‘lazy-beds’ (potato beds) and trenches for them
- Climbing to the highest point on Coll
- Teaching a 10-minute lesson on a topic of our choice
- Giving a 10-minute presentation on an aspect of Coll
- Learning an incredible amount about fund raising
- Learning the details of all countries and projects available
- Writing an essay on a current news topic
- Carrying out an individual task on the island
- Learning how to dance for the last-night Ceilidh
- Being interviewed by memebers of PT staff
- Chatting to PT staff about projects and countries available
- Making our final choices on countries and projects
- Dancing the night away at the traditional Ceilidh
All of that (and more) is crammed into 4 days and evenings, so as you can see it’s a pretty intense week. The vast majority of down-time you get is spent planning your lesson, planning your presentation or sleeping.
Staying with Hosts
For the duration of the selection course, volunteers are split in groups of 2-4 who stay with host families on the island. Travel between hosts and the PT centre is provided by PT staff and is often a very, very bumpy ride in a Land Rover!
Staying with hosts is a valuable experience: not only do you learn a lot about life on the island, but it is a rough representation of what living with a host family abroad would be similar to. Me and two other volunteers – Barney and Dan – stayed with Paula and her family, who have lived on the island for 6 years. They were incredibly welcoming, made the three of us feel completely at home for the week and generally made the week a more rewarding experience overall.
All in All…
All in all it was a fantastic week – I learned an awful lot about PT, fund raising, teaching, digging and loads more. Whether I get selected or not, it was a valuable experience that has given me new skills an a range of areas. In about two weeks I’ll find out if I’ve been selected, and if so what my top three country offers are. Fingers crossed!