czwartek, 26 września 2013

How to celebrate the European Day of Languages

The European Day of Languages is 26 September, as proclaimed by the Council of Europe on 6 December 2001, at the end of the European Year of Languages (2001), which had been jointly organised by the Council of Europe and the European Union. Its aim is to encourage language learning across Europe.’

Our partner, Eulingua Centrum Językowe decided to promote languages that are not so popular to learn. From Monday to Wednesday we were visiting different schools in and around Pułtusk. On Monday, our target was Publiczne Gimnazjum Nr 1 and Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Piotra Skargi. The next day we moved to Obryte, where we visited the primary school and also the gimnazjum. Finally on Wednesday our audience became a class in Pniewie. The students had the chance to get to know some more about Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Armenia and Hungary. It was not only about boring presentations and giving students the chance to skip a normal lesson! After introducing the country itself and its language, it was time for some quizzes and games. This way was also a good method to get their attention and to make them remember the new information.

Thursday was the day of a teachers’ conference, where we had the chance to present ourselves again and to convince teachers to work with us.

This chain of events will be closed with a city game in Pułtusk tomorrow.

What have I learned?

I hate speaking in front of many people but during the days at the schools I realized that it is not that scary to have an audience listening to you. It was also interesting to see how different people talk about their own countries. At last but not least my international vocabulary also got bigger thanks to all the presentations. 

Impact on local community
It was great to see that students were interested in getting to know these not so popular languages. They also seemed enthusiastic to learn new words.


środa, 25 września 2013

EVS weekend

Pułtusk is usually a quiet little town but for some time it turned into a lively place with many programmes and a lot of people hanging around. During St Matthew Days the market square turns into a place of a festival with a huge stage, many trampolines and other facilities for kids to play.

Our part in this celebration started a couple of weeks before, when we started to plan what kind of activities we could carry out. Then, we decided to invite the new volunteers from SPW in Warsaw. We did not expect such a big enthusiasm but finally all of them decided to participate. We did a lot of brainstorming and planning, everyone worked really hard to make the best out of this weekend. We collected, invented and tested a lot of games. New sleeping mats, sleeping bags and pillows had to be bought to be able to host the volunteers. We also got T-shirts with the logo of Centrum Międzinarodowej Wymiany Młodzieży i Wolontariatu. 
Testing games was the funniest part of the preparation

We had a final preparation meeting At SPW office on Friday where we looked through the whole plan once again and also collected some more international games. After having awesome pierogi prepared by Gosia we joined the EVS Hotspot. It was an event organized by ex-EVS volunteers and the National Agency. We took part in a debate about the needs of young people and after a little break, we had an international evening concentrated on dances and songs. Unfortunately, we had to leave early as we did not want to miss our bus to Pułtusk.

On Saturday, after finalizing everything, we decided to surprise Sylwia for her birthday. Our version of ‘Sto, lat, sto lat’ was not the best one but seeing our finally 18 years old coordinator happy was worth it. Afterwards, it was time to go to the market square as the parade was about to start.

Our team of international volunteers at the parade

All schools, institutions and organizations of Pułtusk represented themselves and we took a walk around the square. We prepared with T-shirts, flags and some face painting. Some of us only had a little flag on the face, while some turned into cats and tigers. We reached our goal: we catched the attention of people. We also spent our free time actively. Cooking and playing fun games together were initial parts of our days.

The next day, the market square became a huge fair with schools, institutions and organizations presenting themselves at their own stands. Our stand was common with the Social Care Centre (MOPS).

When the person standing in the front turns around
the others have to freeze, The winner the one who
touches the wall first.

The tent was divided into zones. There was one for information about the two organizations, one for toys, books and home decoration exchange and at last but not least the unplugged zone. There the idea was to show young people ways of spending their free time without computers and TV. We had a lot of games inside and outside the tent and some music, as well. Face painting was also very popular.
Bubble-making was also one of the favourite activities, besides zośka and badminton. At the tables kids could play cards, board games and Korean game called gonggi. The volunteers were divided into two shifts and we also had two Polish helpers, Gosia and Adrian. We were happy to see that many children came to play with us and some of them stayed there almost the whole day. I was lucky enough to meet some of my little friends from the time of the workcamps in July.
Zośka is flying high. 
Now it is time to say a bigbigbig THANK YOU for everybody who somehow helped in making this happen, it was a really great weekend! J

What have I learned?
New games, how to survive an active Sunday with a little sleep the night before, how to motivate young people to spend their time in a more playful way, how to fight with the wind that is trying to destroy the tent and also ways of effective communication and exchanging ideas to cooperate with others.

Impact on local community
Thanks to these events more and more people got to know that this organization exists and I hope to see people being interested in our activities. It was a really good way to spread information and to get attention.


czwartek, 19 września 2013

Volunteers in Pułtusk, where are you?

This Monday Centrum Miedzynarodowej Wymiany Młodziezy i Wolontariatu ran an announced meeting about Voluntary Service in Pułtusk. As you might know the aim of the meeting was promotion of voluntary service and involving young people from Pułtusk to active voluntary work. Firstly I’d like to admit family atmosphere of this meeting – we had 50% of 2 signed people this time. Of course, it changed our initial plan a little bit (we had to postpone a workshop about PR in Voluntary Service with Dorota Braziewicz from SPW), but it didn’t stop us from discussing important questions! So our project coordinator Sylwia prepared a program consisting of 2 parts. We skipped quickly theoretical issues about voluntary work and a role of volunteers and start with presenting the idea of Pułtusk Voluntary Center. According to the idea it is a place where any organization searching for volunteers could find people and for volunteers searching for work. The second topic was about so called “Bieg Mateuszowy” (annual running race – obligatory part of upcoming Pułtusk Days Celebration) and specifically about role of volunteers in assisting in that event and recruiting of volunteers.
What else? During a coffee-break we degustate delicious Hungarian sweets called “kókuszgolyó” made by Zsófi and meanwhile speak about culture and traditions of our countries. By the way we discovered that this “kókuszgolyó” has Polish analogue called “ziemniakie” and Russian one called “kartoshka”.  

What have I learnt and how did people react?
I decided to put these two questions together because this time they connected to each other more than ever. Of course I knew that most of young people are not that eager to participate in social life of their towns actively, but anyway it was a surprise for me that just 1 person came which basically means nothing because Olga has already participated in some of our activities! And it’s really strange because in my opinion all the informational cannels were involved. Anyway now we have a food for thought how to attract youth for activitiesJ! And that’s why I’m really looking forward to have this meeting with Dorota and learn something new about promoting and PR, because I feel lack of knowledge in this sphere.

P.S. by the way, do you have some ideas how to involve young people in our small Pułtusk to participate in voluntary service? If yes, please, share them in our Facebook page:


środa, 11 września 2013

New month, new adventures

September usually means the start of the school year, but not for the seven newly arrived volunteers in Warsaw! SPW organized a little integration meeting for them and us in order to get to know each other. The newcomers were provided all needed information about their new life in Poland concerning accommodation, work, Polish lessons, etc. etc. We had the chance to discuss our hopes, fears and expectations in different creative ways and we also had some team-building activities. Monday was devoted to non-formal education and the eight key competences and YouthPass. All workshops were based on group works and discussions and as I noticed everybody was having a good time. We got to know a lot of important and useful pieces of information and knowledge. This day all mentors were also present at the ‘Academy of Non-Formal Education’.
Mr. Octopus helped us to discover our skills
Before you, dear reader start to think that all we did was working, I will have to disappoint you. We had a lot of fun games and energizers to make us even more lively and able to listen during the workshops. We also had an international evening and a bonfire the next day. The last day a psychologist visited us and she gave us tips on how to work with disabled people. She also insured to help us anytime we need to talk during our EVS projects. All I can say is that I feel happy to have met so many great people and I’m looking forward to see you at the EVS weekend which we already started to organize. Details are coming soon! ;)

What have I learned?
I have always hated speaking in public but during this meeting I felt more comfortable as it was not such a big group of people to talk to. Also, during the workshop about skills and competences I realized how much I have already benefited from EVS and it was a great feeling.

All SPW volunteers, mentors and coordinators

 Do zobaczenia,


poniedziałek, 2 września 2013

Let's run back to August! International Youth Day 2013

Hey! Today's my first post and it's devoted to International Youth Day, an annual event that celebrated at the 12th of August. It was created by United Nations in 1999 with the aim to draw attention to youth issues worldwide as far as young generation is a reserve of development and positive social transformations. Every celebration is dedicated to a special topic, and the topic of this year is “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward”.

Series of Activities were prepared by youth organizations worldwide. We, as volunteers from “Centrum Międzynarodowej Wymiany Młodzieży i Wolontariatu”, decided to contribute to IYD celebration and made a video in a well-known format “50 people, One Question” ( So, at 12th of August four people with a camera stopped young citizens of a small Pułtusk asking “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” 

The question is not an easy one but our respondents gave us honest and sometimes surprising answers. Follow this link and you will see a result of our work:

 What have I learnt?
It was my first activity as a volunteer in Pułtusk, so I was really interested to get known local youth. And I was suprised that many people connect their future with their native town, which is mostly different for my Irkutsk. One more thing - only few young peoplespeak English despite of the fact that there are lot of schools of languages.   

How did people react?
People were ready to answer the question but when they see a camera they start hurry and leave. Well, it’s a YouTube century, not everyone wants starring here
And by the way, it also was great to know that some of them were really interested in our activities!