czwartek, 11 maja 2017

My EVS at the Biblioteka Publiczna Gminy Pomiechówek


Many people asked me why I chose Poland for my EVS and my answer was always, "Oh that's embarrassing..." But in fact I chose Poland for one reason, and this reason is called "Michał Szpak". Is this embarrassing and crazy? Yes, it is! But at the other hand it's also brave and really spontaneous. No one would choose a country just for one singer, when you also don't understand most of his songs, unless you are crazy... And damn I'm crazy, so here I am! Ok, honestly, on the first day when I was without wifi and connection to the outside world and looked inside of my apartment, completely alone and too panicked to be able to open the front door again, I had a lot of moments when I was thinking that this was the worst idea ever, but now I couldn't be happier here in Poland. My life has changed completely.

These few months, especially the week of my arrival training in Warsaw, made me open again, like I was at the age of 7 before I got very shy and closed. I also found so many new friends here and I'm sure, some of these friendships will remain even after my time as volunteer has ended. During the first weeks, I met so many new people and everyone wanted to see me, and even the major came to personally greet me with a gift on my second day. As the first volunteer here in Pomiechówek, I’m a little bit famous. For me this situation is on the one hand strange, because in the past other people were never interested in me, but on the other hand, it's really a great feeling ‘cause everyone dreams at least one time in their life of being famous. 

When I met the three other volunteers in Pułtusk and their friends, this was for me a little bit strange. For myself I was feeling like the new one, but they made me feel that I'm already a part of the group and this gave me a good feeling. I had the same good feeling when I started to work at the library and I found very fast a best friend in one of my colleagues. 

There I have the chance to be creative; for example, I designed a special bookmark for Valentine’s day and made a poster for my own project “Let's Talk”. My other big projects during my EVS up until now are, making presentations about my home country Belgium in front of several school classes in the “ Gimnazjum” and reading books in English for the children at the kindergarten. That's also one of the reasons why many teenagers know who I am. For me it's even not a big deal if I stay longer at the library and finish my work, because I’m very happy with my work and often surprised how fast the time flies. Too fast in my opinion… 


For the next months, I just hope that my Polish gets better and also the weather, so that I can finally travel and see other cities in Poland. Was choosing Poland for my EVS a bad idea at the end? No! After ups and downs I can finally say, that it was one of the best ideas of my life. I learnt finally to live without my family and be more independent. I really enjoy every moment of my EVS in Poland. 


Saskia Roder

środa, 10 maja 2017

Schuman Parade 2017

Cześć everyone,

Last Saturday, Tuğçe, Marie, Saskia and I teamed up with Jaqueline, Jana and Simona, the volunteers of Stowarzyszenie Promocji Wolontariatu in Warsaw at the occasion of the Schuman Parade. Pedro, a former FIYE Spanish volunteer visiting us this weekend also joined the fun! You may remember him from previous articles on this blog. 

The Schuman Parade is an event organized once a year in Warsaw, to celebrate the integration of Europe. On the occasion, the Krakowskie Przedmieście street welcomes a multitude of stands promoting Europe, various countries, different cultures and languages, volunteering opportunities, etc, as well as a parade.

SPW had a stand promoting volunteering and languages through games and activities: quiz, language dice, sentences in different languages, mix and match of cities, memory… We had a lot of people coming to our stand, learning more about volunteering opportunities and trying out the games we offered. We were surprised by the variety of people we met: children, teenagers, students, adults, elderly people, from Poland and abroad, came to play with us and it was so nice to exchange with them! 

Of course, we also took part to the Schuman parade at 12pm and visited the other stands to discover more about other countries and opportunities (as well as to fulfill our quest for flying balloons and flags!).

Afterwards, our coordinator Grzegorz took our international team of Polish, German, French, Turkish, Belgium, Spanish, Slovakian and Italian volunteers for a Polish buffet in town. Dziękuję bardzo!
Stay tuned for more adventures!


Children's University on Turkey

Dzień dobry everyone!

Hello again! As you may know, I am the volunteer from Turkey,
Tuğçe! On the 8th of April, I was invited for a Turkish session at the Children's University at Akademia Humanistyczna im. Aleksandra Gieysztora w Pułtusku and I was very happy to join them.

For this session, I focused on Turkish culture which I believe is very different from Polish culture. I started the session with a little introduction while Marie was helping me make Turkish tea.

While Marie was making the tea, I continued my session. As I said , I've decided to focus on Turkish culture. For this aspect, I prepared a mini quiz for the children. For instance, I asked them if 'Batman' is a city in Turkey. To my surprise, they all answered yes which was correct. This way, I believe they were able to see important parts of Turkish culture, while having fun.

I hope the children enjoyed this part of the session as much as I enjoyed it. It was really nice to see how they reacted to the answers that they didn't expect.

After the mini quiz, the children really got into Turkish culture and learned a dance from our weddings. Now they can join any Turkish wedding without a problem! 

And I finished the session by showing our delicious food, as Turkish cuisine is really different from Polish cuisine in many aspects, especially what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I thought that it would be nice for children to see the difference between two amazing cuisines. For this part of the session, they had 15 cards with Turkish dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and they had to divide the dishes into 3 categories (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

And we said goodbye while drinking Turkish tea! 😊

I hope that the children learned from this session as much as I learned. I got a chance to work with kids from different ages. It was challenging as much as It was fun. I definitely gained more knowledge about how to work with kids. 

Do zobaczenia!


środa, 5 kwietnia 2017

Easter Art Bazar in Pomiechówek

Dzień dobry,

Last Sunday, we joined our volunteer Saskia in her town,
Pomiechówek, to take part in an Easter Art Bazar. We were invited by the wonderful staff of the Biblioteka Publiczna Gminy Pomiechówek, where Saskia is currently doing her EVS.
The library was of course selling books but they also had a creative stand for children, as well as a makeup corner. Of course, we had to try it!

As for us, we were promoting volunteering, cultures and languages as usual, through a variety of activities: general knowledge quiz, language dice to learn Turkish, French, German, Dutch, Japanese or Chinese, “Easter traditions in other countries” mix and match and a “guess the language” challenge, with Easter chocolate eggs as a reward! 


It was not always easy to attract players to our stand, as the fact that it was about foreign languages can be understandably daunting for some people. So we had to really be forwards, give flyers, call out, etc. We did manage to get people to play games with us and some were really interested in the volunteering possibilities that we were promoting, such as the summer workcamps.

During this event, we also offered people to try a French traditional joke for the first of April: stick paper fish to people’s back, without them noticing! People really gave it a try, usually sticking it to family members’ back. Marie, Saskia, Tuğçe and I also had a paper fish competition, won hand down by Tuğçe! Félicitation!

See you soon for new adventures!


czwartek, 23 marca 2017

Mid-term training in Toruń

Dzień dobry,

In February and March, it was time for our EVS mid-term training! 

This time, this one week meeting was taking place in the beautiful city of Toruń, famous for its delicious pierniki (gingerbreads) and for being the birthplace of Mikołaj Kopernik.

Marie had her meeting first, at the beginning of February and Tuğçe and I (Julia) a few weeks ago, in March. The mid-term training is an occasion for volunteers to look back on the first part of their EVS and to reflect on what they have achieved and on how they can enjoy the rest of their EVS to the fullest. It is of course also an opportunity to meet new people and discover a new place in your host country. And this is exactly what the three of us did during one week!

We explored Toruń through group activities, such as questioning the inhabitants of this medieval city on history and legends, or else on the occasion of an epic WhatsApp quest/ treasure hunt in the streets and museums! The cultural part was an important part of this meeting and our lovely trainers also took us to the theater for a puppet show, to the gingerbread museum, to an art museum… We were of course also given the opportunities and tools to reflect on our experience so far though creative activities -individually and in groups – as well as on the rest of our project and our future after EVS. Thus, we exchanged numerous advice and ideas of activities we could implement in our projects.The trainers also made sure to bring into light the work and study opportunities that exist in Poland and abroad, as well as the other volunteering possibilities we could do in the future.

Here are Marie’s thoughts on this meeting:

What struck me first was the awesome atmosphere within the group. We all got along well really fast and we were a real group – meeting in the evenings, doing things together without excluding anyone. Then, I really liked this town full of legends and nice places appearing in random little streets. Under the snow it was magical… What I also appreciated is the material the trainers put at our disposal: workshops to think about our volunteering experience and fun activities in the town (WhatsApp quest!!!) were as many ideas that we can reuse as volunteers… or later in our professional life. ;-) That’s how I would describe a week outside of time…

It was such an enriching week for the three of us and we left Toruń full of energy and ready to enjoy our last months of EVS!

Na razie,


piątek, 24 lutego 2017

Winter holidays' language café

Hallo, merhaba, bonjour!

It is Winter Holidays in Pułtusk and therefore, we decided to organise a language café at the Pub/Restauracja Magdalenka last Monday. And this time, it was open not just to students, but to anyone who was interested in languages, cultures and games.

We promoted it in Pułtusk through posters and advertised it on social networks as well. It is always hard to know in advance how many people will come and we had to be ready to adapt our activities, depending on the number of participants. We were a bit worried that we will only get a few ones but from 4pm, Tuğçe, Marie, Saskia, Sylwia and I were happy to see a nice group of twelve people join us for this language café.

We started by getting to know each other through the game “Find someone who… We had to go around the room to find people who fitted the criteria we gave: someone who has a brother and a sister, who has never seen the movie “Home Alone”, who has lived in three countries, who broke a bone and so on. And the three fastest to find someone for each box won a price (sweets of course, you know us!). 

We then decided to make people discover a bit more about the Turkish, Belgian and French cultures through a quiz on traditions, customs and gestures. For instance, did you know that shaking your hand in front of your eyes means that someone is crazy in the German-speaking part of Belgium? Or that in Turkey, the groom has to drink a coffee with salt, prepared by the bride, to show his love? Or again that in France, pulling the bottom of your eye with your index means that you don’t believe the person? We had a lot of customs and gestures to share and it was also the occasion for us to learn more about the Polish culture, as most questions could be applied to Poland. So it really was about exchanging and we learned as much as our participants did!

Afterwards, Tuğçe went on teaching us a Turkish dance, traditionally danced at weddings. We did not have much space but we managed it and we are now ready to attend a wedding in Turkey. Or a prom ball in Poland! Thus, the Polish participants decided to teach us the prom dance, an important tradition in Poland. Dziękuję bardzo! 

Finally, our language café ended with games and we played Jungle Speed and Dobble - both rapidity games - that had us shouting and laughing. 

It was a really fun evening, which was all about sharing. We taught people about our cultures, as we planned, but we also learned so much about other cultures and I think that it is the purpose of our language cafés: a mutual exchange. So thank you to everyone who came and we hope to organize another event like this one very soon!

Na razie,