5 maanden in Polen
Hello my name is Julia and I am originally from Brazil but I have lived in the Netherlands. During my time in Poznan I volunteered for CIM Horyzonty, an NGO that focuses on spreading tolerance, intercultural dialogue and democratic awareness within the local community through educational, cultural and social activities.
Whilst in Poland, I had the opportunity to get involved in various activities, classes and workshops. Some of my tasks included giving English lessons to adults, working in a kindergarten, participating in English classes for high school students, creating and recording a podcast, and making a number of videos for the organisation’s social media.
My ESC experience has taught me to be more organised, flexible, and how to manage my time better. Moreover, I have learned certain skills such as lesson planning, video editing, sound recording and editing, and social media management, which I am sure will be useful for me in the future.
There have been so many great moments over the past five months. But if I have to pick one, I would say that it was just hanging out in the kitchen with other volunteers and friends. We had so many fun times in our little kitchen, lots of laughs and shared stories!
My time was in one word: Amazing! I had a blast and I wouldn’t change a single thing! Of course because of the covid circumstances I didn’t get the chance to explore Poland as much as I wanted to, or to go out as much as I would’ve liked to, but it was still such an incredible experience filled with a lot of learning, growth, happiness and new friendships.
There have been so many great moments over the past five months.
All six volunteers were living in a building with shared apartments. Three of us were in one apartment, and the three other volunteers were just down the hall from us. We all had our own rooms, and we shared the other amenities. I really enjoyed living in the building with all the volunteers, as we would meet in the kitchen after a day of work and have some beers and great conversations.
I had good contact with all of the volunteers. A lot of the work we did was teamwork, so we were in constant contact with one another. I built a strong relationship with some of the volunteers and have created friendships that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
The on-arrival training provided by the national agency was pretty intense, as unfortunately due to the current covid situation, it was a full five days completely online. In all honesty, I didn’t find the training to be too useful for me, as it was mostly focused on living abroad for the first time and adapting to new circumstances, which is something I have done quite a few times before moving to Poland. Nonetheless, I did get the chance to meet people (online) that were volunteering in other cities in Poland and learned interesting facts about the country. Despite not being the most useful training for me, I know that for other volunteers it was quite enjoyable, interesting and helpful.
This was the first time that I lived in a country in which I didn’t speak or understand the language at all. Polish is so different to the languages that I know or that I am at least familiar with, and it was the first time that I was completely unaware of what was being said or what was written around me. However, I did have Polish classes which made my life a little easier!
My contact with Eastpackers was very easy and straightforward. I was told what was needed from me in terms of documents and forms, and everything went very smoothly. During my stay in Poland I received some messages checking up on me, asking me how I was doing and how my experience was going. I felt like if I needed anything I could count on Eastpackers to support me.
Go for it! Try to immerse yourself as much as you can in the whole experience. Get to know people outside of your organisation. Bond with those around you. Enjoy your time to the fullest because before you know it, it’ll be over.