wtorek, 23 lutego 2016

On-Arrival Training in Warsaw

Dear people,

Yesterday morning I arrived back to Pułtusk after an unforgettable week in Warsaw. Last week, all the new EVS-volunteers in Poland gathered in Warsaw for the on-arrival training. The atmosphere was highly international as the participants were from many different countries, i.g. from Finland, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Czech Republic, Turkey, France and Austria. It's usually quite easy to get to know people in this kind of group, because the wide variety of cultural backgrounds is pretty much an eternal source of conversation. 

The goal of the training was to prepare the new volunteers for EVS, teaching them how to face challenges and accept the reality; not all of the stay is going to be a bed of roses. Besides, we learned a lot about the Polish culture. Not only did we discuss how it looks like to a foreigner, but also were explained the historical reasons behind the intriguing cultural aspects. For me the most interesting task was to go to the city to interview real Polish people and find out their views on various topics.

We worked on the topics in many different ways, also by doing handicrafts

The trainers had also organized us two nice surprises. On Tuesday evening, a local guy took the volunteers for a walk and told the stories behind certain Varsovian monuments. Unfortunately I couldn't join the walk, but I heard it was truly fascinating. On Thursday evening an excellent traditional Polish dance group entertained us for a couple of hours, and we even got the chance to try some simple Polish dance moves ourselves.

The whole training was well-organized and the discussed topics were certainly important for the new volunteers, most of which had never spent a longer period abroad. I personally enjoyed the explanation of the Polish culture the most. The things about the challenges of living abroad were nothing too new to me, since this is already my fourth time abroad for a longer period, but hopefully I could contribute to the conversations somehow. Another great thing about the training was that we had quite a lot of free time to get to know the city, meet Polish people and eat Polish food.

The dance group made us dance
My personal view of EVS,  I was glad that the trainers let us visualize our feelings about EVS in our own way

After the week we all felt more motivated to do our best in our projects, so I'd say that the training was succesful.



wtorek, 9 lutego 2016

Language café

Last Thrusday we organized a language café in the Magdalenka Restaurant, so that local people could practise their English and get to know something about our cultures. It was a perfect day for the first language café, because that day pretty much everyone was happy due to Fat Thursday, or as we foreigners called it, the National Pączki Day, when everyone eats lots of tasty Polish Pączki. Before the event I was a bit worried if anybody would show up, but my worries proved unnecessary as a nice bunch of people eventually strolled in.

Pedro's Game

There were three tables, each of them hosted by a volunteer leading the discussion. We had some truly pleasant conversations, and the topics varied from our homelands to disco polo, trains and pączeks. After having talked for about an hour, we united the tables and played some games in order to encourage also the shyer people to use English. Everyone got a sticky note with a name of a renowned person on their foreheads. Then they had to figure out their identity by asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no only. The game was a lot of fun and everyone got a chance to speak. Time flew, and suddenly the clock was already 6 pm and it was time for the linguistic after-party.

What's more, next week it's happening again, so don't miss it!



sobota, 6 lutego 2016

The arrival of the new volunteers

Dear people,

On the first of February 2016, three new faces appeared in the beautiful medieval town of Pułtusk, when me, Petja, and other two new volunteers, Pedro and Vassia, arrived for seven-month EVS projects here. Other volunteers and organization staff welcomed us in Warsaw, after which we headed for the final destination, Pułtusk, 'The Venice of Masovia'. There a bunch of lovely local young people had organized a small welcome party, and it was indeed great to wind down a bit after a long trip.

We spent the first days in Pułtusk getting acquainted with each other and the town, as well as familiarizing ourselves with the projects. We visited the office, where I’ll be working, and Pedro's and Vassia's workplaces, two local nursery schools. Dawid, a local young man going to Serbia for EVS, spent some time with us before his departure. 

When it comes to every day life, our new residence is nice and well located. Moreover, I have already fallen in love with this cute little town and its inhabitants, as well as with cozy cukiernias and other small shops. Thus, based on the first days here in Pułtusk, I am quite convinced that this is the start of something beautiful.

The new volunteers from left to right: Vassia from Greece, Dawid from Pułtusk, Pedro from Spain, and me, Petja, from Finland

Pedro and Vassia getting to know their workplace

Stay tuned for some more experiences of the first weeks! :)