Working in De Hoge Rielen

In the last posts we reported most of the time about extracurricular things like EVS-Trainings, youth-exchanges and other great possibilities of the Erasmus+ program. But now in this post I want to give you an overview how working in De Hoge Rielen is like.

Generally, there are four big different kinds of tasks; working in the reception, helping in the food service and in the Bar, working as a supervisor/rescuer in the climbing parcour and assisting the workshops.

In the reception, the so-called “onthaal”, we have the possibility to welcome new guests who want to spend time in De Hoge Rielen. That means, we make the check-in (in English, or, if possible, in Dutch), so we introduce them to the facilities and possibilities, but also to the rules of the domain. This is a great opportunity to get in contact with people and to practice our Dutch knowledge. Furthermore we can learn about the reservation system and prepare the welcome folders for the arriving guests. And, when it is not too busy in the office, there is often some time for a little chat with the colleagues J!

The Bar service is one of the major tasks during the summer, when the bar is open seven days a week. Especially in the live music evenings it is extremely busy, but also a nice atmosphere. Working in the Bar means mixing and serving drinks to guests, filling up the fridges, choosing the music (if there is no live music) and, at the end, counting the money and cleaning the bar. Directly next to the bar there is the restaurant, where groups can order meals in advance. Sometimes we help the kitchen staff with working at the dishwasher or other supporting activities.

Working as a rescuer in the Climbing Parcour is one of my favourite tasks, because you are outside for the whole time and it is always fun to watch the participants mastering the more or less difficult parcours. In the beginning, a new volunteer is only supposed to be supervisor, but if you make a theoretical and practical exam, you will also be allowed to help people on the parcour or, if necessary, to put them in your own safety-rope-system and descend them.

The last big part of the work in De Hoge Rielen is assisting in the different workshops and other activities of the Nature & Adventure Department of the domain. There are a lot of different workshops, like e.g. cooking with ingredients from the nature, teambuilding workshops, building wooden constructions, GPS-Navigation and many more. These tasks will be especially great if you start understanding and speaking the language because then you can start to lead parts of the workshops on your own, and the contact with the children and young people is one of my favourite parts of working in De Hoge Rielen.

Now, in the winter, it is quite calm here on the domain, so our main tasks are planning new workshops and activities and checking the equipment for the next year. Additionally, we now work together with different school groups. Together with them we work in the nature, so we clean the ponds, cut and plant trees, and so we try to preserve the beautiful nature in DeHogeRielen.


Now, in the winter, it is quite calm here on the domain, so our main tasks are planning new workshops and activities and checking the equipment for the next year. Additionally, we now work together with different school groups. Together with them we work in the nature, so we clean the ponds, cut and plant trees, and so we try to preserve the beautiful nature in DeHogeRielen.


Zomeracademie 2018

It is autumn now, the season when everybody tries to find their own way to warm themselves. Fortunately, we have our memories which sometimes can serve as the source of energy and warmth during cold autumn evenings.


At the moment I cannot conceal a smile recollecting the time spent in the Summer Academy in Destelheide. Although it lasted only for a week from the sixteenth to the twenty-second of July, it still evokes sweet aftertaste in my mind.


The Summer Academy functioned as a creative space for those who had been searching for the atmospheric background full of like-minded individuals together with whom it was possible to create a product of art: material or unmaterial. We were able to choose between ten workshops such as: radio plays and sound stories; co-improvising images with objects; image and imagery; creative writing; pressing matters; costume and textile; theatre of the senses; happening sound; dance, composition and improvisation; experimental building and composing. Three of us chose three different workshops. Amel took part in “Image and Imagery”. David was attracted by “Experimental Building and Composing”. I could not participate in anything else except “Theatre of the Senses”.


39064427_10156614196494100_1389535371817123840_nMy workshop was conducted by Jean-Marie Oriot, a set designer, director and performer in various European companies and projects. He was able to build such an atmosphere for the participants from different countries, speaking different languages, working in different fields, that united us into one artistic organism investigating a poetic space as a tool for change.  

The results of our work were presented in one of last days. Finally, everybody managed to see with their own eyes what had been happening within the walls of other ateliers. If you also want to take a look at some of the photos and videos from the Summer Academy, follow the link:

By Kristina Kitsula


Youth Exchange: FeMENism

This Summer we had a Youth Exchange with our partner organisation Destelheide in their big and beautiful domain in Dworp which is close to Brussels.
For those who are not familiar with Youth Exchanges, these projects give people the possibility to come together from different countries and cultural backgrounds to share their opinions and experiences about a  specific topic.  Continue reading “Youth Exchange: FeMENism”

On Arrival Training


After almost three months in the forest, now there was finally the opportunity to meet lots of new people from all parts of the European Union; the On-Arrival-Training. So, on Sunday evening, we all packed our last things into our bags and on Monday morning we finally stepped into the train with direction „Bruxelles-Centraal“. Continue reading “On Arrival Training”

Kristina, Luis and other

As it was promised before this post is going to be about new EVS volunteers, Kristina and Luis, and their first impressions about the project.

We will start with Kristina, and it is actually me and I am happy to greet everyone reading this stuff. Firstly, let me introduce myself for you to know whom you deal with. I come from Ukraine which is a post-soviet country in eastern Europe. I am twenty-five years old and have two specialities by now the first of which is a teacher of the English and German languages and the foreign literature; the second and probably more important for me is an actress of a dramatic theatre.

Obviously, the common question of most people is why I have chosen the path to be a long-term volunteer. The answer would be many-sided. First of all, my life motto is “CARPE DIEM”, that is why I try to change something all the time in order to do as many things as possible while I am still alive) Secondly, I have always liked the idea of taking a gap year spent on travelling with a help of which I hope it will be easier for me to choose the country I would consider my second home. The last issue was my curiosity which did not allow me to sleep well after I had got to know about Erasmus program and its consequences)

So, right now I am here in “De Hoge Rielen” lying on the sofa and thinking what to write in this post) Frankly speaking, I have no regret at all about my decision of going to Belgium. Of course, at the beginning I felt like a fish which was taken from its home lake and put into a great ocean with other ocean creatures but surely very friendly creatures) At the moment I am not able to say that I feel 100% like home, especially when somebody starts speaking Dutch and then I sometimes have the feeling that people are talking about me. Luckily, my future language lessons will not give others this opportunity)

Luis – Arrival in De Hoge Rielen

It´s the middle of July, five past two , I am standing at the train station “Bruxelles-Nord”, packed with two overdimensional backpacks and my guitar, stepping into the the train with direction Turnhout.

Once inside the train, I start wondering where I will stay for the next 9 months; the houses and streets get more and more replaced by cows, fields and finally trees. Where have I landed?

But although I was pretty tired and exhausted from my 8-hour-trip I was really curious about what working as a volunteer will be like in De Hoge Rielen. The first impressions were great: I could experience the different parts of the domain by bike together with Karen and found some very nice spots.

WhatsApp Image 2018-09-03 at 16.06.27

I also really enjoyed getting to know many of the employees of De Hoge Rielen as well as my volunteer fellows. After having a first overview over the domain, I could participate in the different working tasks, like workshops, the klimbos, working in oonthal or in the restaurant. So I got an impression what work is like in De Hoge Rielen.

So, as a conclusion, I can say that I am really glad about my decision to spend a year in this beautiful place, and I am looking forward to experience the following months in our group of 5 volunteers :)

Training in Bruges

Hey everyone!

Since last time we wrote to you, we had some changes in our house.  Our beloved Ana went to a far off land, where trees are thrown for fun, men wear skirts, and people believe in a monster under the lake, instead of a pissing boy! Oh yeah, we also got a new EVSer.

He is a he and his name is David. David came from Austria and is planning to stay 10 months. He arrived on may 30th and well will stay till march 31st.

So, last week Yigit and David had their on-arrival training, some of you may ask yourselfs, “hey, Yigit did not arrive just yet! Why is he doing an on-arrival?”, or some of you don’t even care, anyway Yigit had his on-arrival training last week, because he missed the first on arrival training this year by almost one month.

Both of the trainings were pretty good. We had a fun week in Merkenveld (which is a friendly scouts place that is 30 minutes far from Bruges center), met some nice people, learned more about EVS, drank lots of good beers. We had very cool trainers also. Open minded and flexible. It helped a lot to express ourselves. In our last day, we made a big camp fire in the woods and danced around it as you can see on the gif below.


And don’t forget about the marshmallows :P Since our training lasted until Saturday 1pm, some of us went to an Irish Pub in center of Bruges and watched Belgium football team destroy Tunusia.

“Thanks to the Eramus+ program we are all able to come together from all over Europe and from further parts of the world to meet, to exchange, to love, to laugh and most importantly to show that it is possible for different nations to live together in a respectful and peaceful way!
This is one of the main ideas of the Erasmus. Get very different people together and teach them and make them teach.”

As final words, let us give you a small glimpse about our next blog post; this week we are having our new EVS volunteer Kristina from Ukraine. So next blog post will be about her first impressions. See you.