środa, 28 sierpnia 2013

EVS On-Arrival Training

Before going into details about the exact events, let me tell you in a few words what an on-arrival training is. This is an obligatory training for all EVS volunteers during which they are given more information about the host country, they learn how to overcome their fears concerning their projects and get to know other EVS volunteers. It is all happening in the form of interactive workshops and group works.

We were really excited to finally arrive to Hotel Agrykola which was our accommodation and main place of activities. We had lunch altogether, then it was time to start our first workshop. After a quick introduction, our trainers, Marta and Wojtek took us to Łazienki Park as it is in the neighborhood of Agrykola. The task was to form random groups of three and until the next stop the group had to discuss certain questions.  It really helped a lot to get to know some things about the other volunteers. Then came a little Geography test. Firstly, we had to form the map of the word on the basis of where we are from and then, the map of  Poland, on the basis of where our hosting organization is. In the evening some of us decided to take a walk in the city and we ended up in Stare Miasto.

The next day, in groups the task was to have a little role play and to find solutions and give advice to volunteers who are not happy with their project for some reason. After this, we were focusing on our own projects. We made posters, booklets and then presented all the positive and negative things about the flat, work, language support, mentor, etc, etc. We also had the chance to explore the differences between our cultures and to find out why some things are the way they are in Poland.

Wednesday came, the programme included a guided tour in Warsaw. As it was raining quite intensively, we finished our journey earlier then planned and went to the Historical Institute where our guide showed us interesting pictures and videos about communistic times. In the evening we got a little surprise from the National Agency: we had dinner in a fancy restaurant.

On Thursday, we were exploring Warsaw on the basis of a chosen topic. The where I was member of had the topic of young people. We visited the university, the library of the university, some cafes and Łazienki Park. In the afternoon it was time to edit all the materials and information that we collected and the next day it was time for presentations. But before that we had another nice surprise. A traditional Polish dance group was waiting for us in the meeting room after our coffee break and gave a performance. We also had the chance to try Polish dances like polonez, krakowiak and we we also sang together with the band and dancers.

Time was going really fast, everybody was having a great time and it was our last but one day. We started with presentations of the previous day’s group works. The topics were finding similar organizations in Warsaw, alternative Warsaw, religions in Warsaw, young people and Poland after the Second World War. After all these, we were talking about some practical information concerning YouthPass and then the activities continued at different places of the hostel. I was participating in the workshop about activities for kids and then went upstairs where we had a little Polish lesson. Then, we were watching videos and presentations of the volunteer’s countries.

The last day, we had some teambuilding games and discussed methods of learning. After the final evaluation it was soon time to say goodbye. Us volunteers could stay in the hostel until the next morning, so after lunch most of us went for a little sightseeing in Warsaw.

All I can say is that this week was one of the best things so far during my EVS. I got to know very useful things, I learned a lot even without realizing it. A big big thanks to our trainers and all the volunteers who participated. I hope to see you soon!

What have I learned?

I learned about Polish culture and history, how to live with 5 other girls in the same room at a hostel and how

to get lost in Warsaw. After this week I feel more conscious about how to do my EVS service in the most useful and still enjoyable way. 

How did it affect others?

Probably the most effect we had on each other. With the help of our great trainers, we had the chance to develop ourselves. The employees of the hostel saw happy people, trying to speak Polish. (with more or less success) They might have not enjoyed our company during the evenings when we were up late and talked a lot. We also met a lot of people during our discoveries in Warsaw. Some of them did not care what we are doing there but most of them were really friendly and eager to get to know why we are in Poland.


poniedziałek, 5 sierpnia 2013

Workcamp 2 in July '13

Once upon a time, I spent two weeks with four amazingly awesome people in the lovely Pułtusk. It was my second workcamp, I was still full of memories from the first but at the same time looking forward to the new one. Here is how it went:

The arrival day was the 14th of July, a sunny Sunday. We had a little meeting to discuss the two weeks’ programme and we set up cleaning and cooking teams to share work in the flat. After that we started getting to know each other. We got to know that Hwan from South Korea plays the guitar and likes J Rabbit. It turned out that Marzena, our leader is a fan of travelling and she finished a workcamp in Germany the previous day and Katja, our new friend from Ukraine likes photography and Amelie is her favourite film.

The next day we headed towards the daycare right after breakfast. The kids were really excited to meet the new team of volunteers and after introduction and name games, they were already treated as good old friends. After lunch, we had a meeting with Justyna. She works at Polskie Radio and for one day they were broadcasting from Pułtusk. We first made a short video and then came the interviews for Czwórka. We were asked about our experience in volunteering, motivation to work with kids and future plans.

In the following days we played a looot of games inside and outside. Sometimes we became detectives, then we played really serious table football, basketball, badminton and table tennis matches. Sometimes we were exhausted and tired and fed up with kids jumping on and around us. But these kids are so full of love and energy that it is almost imposible to be mad at them. Almost.
For one day, I joined the workcampers in Wieliszew for an eco-training. It was good to meet new people and to have a day off from kids. They are sweet but after three weeks straight, you need the break. Meanwhile, the kids visited the local fire brigade. On Friday went for a daytrip with the kids to a traditional Polish cottage. We got to know how to prepare home made kompot, sour cream and butter. We met cute sheeps, chickens, goose and rabbits. It was obvious that we started singing ‘Złota Kaczka’ when seeing the ducks.

Our weekend turned out to be a really sporty one. We visited the workcampers in Komornica and we went kayaking together. We started from Dębe and arrived to Modlin. That’s 15 kilometers. Our lifeguards were kind enough to give us a ride back to the school which was our accommodation. Aching arms, wet clothes and burned skins everywhere but it was worth it. In the evening we had a campfire and played some funny games together. In the morning we went to Zegrze. After a missed bus, my friend, Kasia came to pick us up by car and we went to the beach.  We ate pierogi, everyone’s favourite Polish dish. We got so inspired that the next day we made it at home for dinner. Surprisingly, it was really good at our first try.

Let’s not forget about country presentations! Hwan showed us beautiful landscapes and traditional dresses, told us about the history of Korea and of course, Samsung. Then we singed and danced Gangnam style. The day before we learned the choreography for a cute Korean song about a frog and the kids really enjoyed dancing it with us. Katja introduced us Ukraine. We saw pictures of her town, Odessa and some very delicious dishes. We learned the Russian alphabet and then the task was to write down our names. During Hungarian presentation, I first tested what they remember from the previous one last week and then showed some pictures of Hungarian national foods. Then I taught them some simple phrases in Hungarian and also showed them the famous saying about the friendship of Hungary and Poland. Then, I made a huuuge mistake by asking if they had any questions. They had a lot!!!! :D I was happy to see that they are interested, though. We also had a disco for the kids and the day after, it was the closing show of the summer camp. We spent our weekend in Warsaw. Marzena and her Mom were kind enough to host us for one night and we had a really great and well-organised sightseeing tour.

What have I learned?

More and more important and useful Polish words (especially if you work with kids), like ‘Późnej’ and “Poczekaj’. I also learned how to make pierogi with a Korean and not to disappoint our leader.

How locals reacted

As time went by everybody knew that we are foreigners but no one knew for sure what we are actually doing here. We got some smiles and friendly talks with some of the parents. They were happy to have their kids in an international environment.

Do widzenia,


sobota, 3 sierpnia 2013

Witamy w Pułtusku, Daria! :)

Daria has already started her long long long journey from the distant Irkutsk and is arriving to the beloved Pultusk on the 
7th  of August. Until then here is a little introduction from her:

Cześć! My name is Daria, I came from Irkutsk (Russia). I’ve graduated University in 2011 and since that time I’ve been working for a big private Linguistic Centre in Irkutsk as a manager. This time was really great - I’ve got a lot of skills there and have met good people that became my friends. And once I decided - it’s time for new opportunities! So I’m happy to say that this year I’ll spent in Pultusk as an EVS volunteer in Centrum Międzynarodowej Wymiany Młodzieży i Wolontariatu! EVS for me is not only a great chance to get unforgettable experience living in another country, to learn new things but a chance to tell people about my beautiful region! It really is, you’ll see!!!
As for me I love travelling and I’m open for getting know traditions and cuisine of different countries (yeees, I like cooking and invite you for Russian pancakes =). Now I can’t wait the moment I’ll arrive in Poland, I’m sure it’s going to be unforgettable time!   

piątek, 2 sierpnia 2013

Four girls go workcamp!

What and when?

International workcamp in the daycare centre of Pułtusk, Poland between the 30th of June and the the 13th of July 2013 with the participation of a Hungarian (Zsofi), a South Korean (Sumee), a Swiss (Clo) and a Polish girl (Kasia).

The arrival day was the 30th of June, however, I only joined the team the next day as my EVS project started on the 1st of July. By the time I arrived on Monday afternoon, the girls have already experienced how our time will be like at the daycare. After a quick meeting with Sylwia, our coordinator, we started getting to know each other and we were brainstorming for ideas about games for kids. We decided to put them into four teams and make a competition for them.

On Tuesday, after introduction and name games we chose the four oldest kids from the group.They became captains and they had the chance to choose their team members. Then, the task was to find out a name for the newly formed teams. In a couple of minutes,  the teams were ready: Super Ó
semka, Galaxy Football Team, Child Monster and Ready to Play. The first challenge was connected to English. They had to recognize numbers and pictures. Then, we still had some time left until lunch, so we went outside to play some ball games there..

On Wednesday, the kids continued their rehearsal which was again followed by games together on the
mattresses. Then, teams designed their own logos for themselves. When everybody was done with that, we went for a little walk in Pultusk to see the Castle. After the little sightseeing we went to have lunch in Okruszek.

Thursday was the day of the Geography quiz. The task was to put the different country names to the right place on the map of Europe. And also, as the kids asked for it, we had another round of the numbers and pictures game. After this, the kids had their performance and because they did a great job, we went to have an ice cream.

On Friday the kids went to see a film in the cinema, but as it was in Polish, we did not participate on this. We had a day off and we used it to visit Zegrze. On Saturday, we went for a little sightseeing in Warsaw and Sunday was the day of resting.

On Monday we made really nice drawings with the kids about vacations and we also had the chance to pick up some Polish knowledge as the kids tried to teach us new words.

On Tuesday I had the chance to give a little presentation about Hungary. I was happy to see that they are interested in getting to my little country.

On Wednesday, we had Swiss day and thanks to Clo we got to know some new things about Switzerland. After this, we went to the sport centre where the teams had some competition games. There were many different game types, but one thing was always the same: the winner, as Child Monster Team proved to be the sportiest team of all.

Thursday was our last day officially at the daycare and we decided to make it as fun as possible. After Korean country presentation, the kids learned to sing and dance Gangam style. Then, the disco started. We had some music, balloons and also Christmas lights to get in the mood. Face painting was also very popular. The kids’ pretty faces quickly turned into different animals, vampires and characters from Monster High.

On Friday we went for the daytrip with the kids to a traditional Polish village and after arriving back to the daycare it was time to say goodbye. There were some hard days but all in all it was a GREAT experience for everybody.

What have I learned?

I’ve learned to be even more patient than before and how to effectively share my attention between five children at the same time who all want different things. Also, I learned basic expressions in Polish which are helpful in my everyday life in the little town where most people don’t speak English. I also got to know some things about Polish culture and especially food as we had lunch in Okruszek, a local bar with traditional Polish food.

Impact on the local community

Naturally, the most impact we had on the kids as we spent most of our time with them and this time of the day was always really active and useful. They and also the teachers got to know little pieces of the world without travelling as we all had country presentations. Also, cashiers in little shops are getting better and better to make themselves understood with gestures and body language.

Do zobaczenia,

Zsófi :)