środa, 19 października 2016

On-arrival training in Warsaw

Hello everyone!

At the end of September, Marie, Tuğçe and I packed our bags and headed up to Warsaw for one week (from the 26th  of  September to the 2nd of October), on the occasion of our on-arrival training. Sadly, Angélica did not come with us, having already completed hers when she arrived in April. As EVS volunteers, we have three important trainings: the pre-departure training in our own country, the on-arrival training that usually takes place a few weeks after arriving and the mid-term training. These two last trainings are usually eagerly awaited by all the volunteers because it is a chance to meet other volunteers from all over your host country and exchange your impressions with them. So the girls and I were very excited about this week!   
When we arrived, we met the other volunteers around a Polish lunch and it was a very international gathering, to say the least: Spain, Georgia, Armenia, Ukraine, Turkey, Belarus, France, Italy, Russia, Serbia, Germany and Greece.

After a first day spent getting to know each other and discussing which topics we wanted to approach during this training, our two trainers adjusted their programme to fit our needs. So in the following days, we had the chance to exchange on our projects and our experiences so far, to discuss our expectations, fears, joys, cultural shocks, highlights, etc. with the other volunteers and our trainers. These discussions were done in small groups and in a relaxed atmosphere and I found them genuinely useful, as we could exchange advice, tips, impressions, ask questions… The training took place in a relaxed and joyful atmosphere, reinforced by numerous team-building activities.

Of course, we also learned more about the European Voluntary Service and the learning journey that it represents. Again, we could ask all the questions that were unclear and it was really helpful for the future. 
Being such a multicultural group working on intercultural projects, a large part of the training was also dedicated to culture and languages. Thus, our trainers sent us off to investigate topics of our choice in Warsaw and to discover more about Polish culture and the city. In small groups, we went to meet and question people from Warsaw about street arts, cinema, the best places in the city, politics, their views on foreigners, the Warsaw uprisings, myths and legends of the city... We then presented our results to each other through videos, posters, PowerPoints, pictures, etc. It was a great way to discuss with Polish people, to explore Warsaw and to discover more about such a variety of topics. 

Furthermore, we had the opportunity to expand our language skills with a daily Polish lesson given by our trainers. We also learned more about each other's languages and cultures through a language café and an “open space” afternoon, during which we taught each other dances, games, activities, manual skills, etc. It was such an enriching and fun session and we all learned a lot of great ideas to reuse in our respective projects.  
Finally, we also had two evenings planned for us. On Tuesday night, we discovered more about Warsaw’s history during a very funny guided night tour.

And on Thursday night, we had the surprise to see a professional folk dance ensemble, GAIK, perform for us some traditional dances and songs, before teaching us some of them!
It was a really great week, during which we learned a lot, met new people and we now feel more ready than ever to develop our respective projects!

Do zobaczenia,


piątek, 7 października 2016

Cooking session

Cześć everyone,

 On the 22nd of September, Angélica, Marie, Tuğçe and I were invited at a vocational school that is part of a group of schools named “Bolesława Prusa”, in Pułtusk. The aim of our workshop was to introduce and cook some culinary specialties from our countries with a group of students, who are training to become cooks. We started off the session by telling them a bit more about our country’s food habits, as well as about the Colombian, Turkish and French dishes that we were going to cook together during the next three hours. Each of us was in charge of a small group of four or five students and after splitting the class, we started to cook. Here is what was on the menu of the day for each country!

* Colombia:
Angélica introduced her group to Colombian corn pancakes, called “arepas”. To go with those pancakes, her students also learned how to make “guacamole”, an avocado-based dip. Finally, they also discovered how to prepare a typical drink made of sugar cane, “aguapanela”. Buen provecho!

* Turkey:
Tuğçe taught her group how to cook “börek”, little savoury pastries made of a thin dough called "yufka" and filled with potatoes and herbs. Her group also learned how to make “biber dolmasi”, green peppers stuffed with rice and spices, as well as “ayran”, a drink made of yoghurt.  Afiyet olsun!
* France:
As Marie and I are both French, we decided that one group would cook salty food and the other one sweet food. Thus, I showed my group how to make a “cake au jambon et aux olives”, a typical ham and olive savoury cake. Being from Lyon, I also introduced them to a culinary specialty from my city, “la salade Lyonnaise”, a mixed salad made of lettuce, bacon, croutons (grilled bread pieces) and poached eggs.
 As for Marie’s group, they learned how to bake “chouquettes”, French little choux pastries springled with pearl sugar and were introduced to one of Marie’s family favourite desserts: “la tarte aux poires renversée”, an upside-down pear tart named that way because the dough is added on top of the pears and not the contrary. Weird, we know, but still delicious!  Bon appétit!

It was so much fun teaching the students how to cook and bake dishes very different from what they are used to. They were very motivated, curious and eager to learn and it was a very enriching session, for them but also for us. They learned new recipes and sometimes discovered unusual flavours, while also practising their English. 
As for us, we learned how to organise a group, how to use mimes, body language and other solutions to overcome the language barrier that sometimes appeared during the session, as well as how to deal with problems on the spot and how to find solutions all together. We also learned about the cooking techniques they use and some very useful Polish vocabulary related to kitchen. We were very proud of the results of that mutual exchange and of course, the end of the lesson was saved for tasting the various dishes, a moment enjoyed by everyone!
We would really like to thank the teachers and the students who invited us; it was such a nice and convivial intercultural moment, during which we all learned from each other. We will be more than happy to come back at any time! 

Do zobaczenia,


czwartek, 6 października 2016

Pułtusk day

Hi everyone,

From the 15th to the 18th of September, Pułtusk turned into a beehive for the “Pułtusk days” and of course, FIYE took part in the event! On Saturday the 17th, we invited the volunteers from Warsaw to help us promote volunteering, as well as our upcoming language café, that will take place every week from October. Jaqueline and Simona were on training that weekend but Luciana and Yi-Chieh joined the fun.
For that occasion, we decided to turn our stand into a cosy language café with tables offering lessons, games, recipes and other activities in all of our languages: English, French, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Chinese, Taiwanese and German. People could learn useful sentences, animals and numbers, try out some tongue-twisters, get some recipes, learn how to use chopsticks or draw Chinese characters, or just discuss in a variety of languages.


Of course, we also had a multitude of games and sweets, as usual! Quiz, fun facts, geography, Chinese brain-teasers, learning games … People from Pułtusk had a lot of choices! The “be the fastest to hit the picture of the animal that you hear” was a hit!

Children and teenagers were the most curious ones about our language café and really gave it a try, learning for instance how to count in Spanish, discovering animals in French, practising their English conversation, introducing themselves in Turkish, trying out tongue-twisters in Portuguese or again learning how to use chopsticks!

We taught our languages the whole day but what we did not expect was to learn that much Polish! Indeed, two very nice girls wanted to teach us Polish and our language café turned into a Polish café. We learned numbers, animals and useful sentences and I can still remember how to say “squirrel” in Polish: wiewiórka. Who knows, it could come in handy at some point!

It was another very fun day where we all learned a lot. Thus, for us volunteers, the challenge was to attract people to our stand and to convince them to give a try at foreign languages; a task that was not always easy. Indeed, discussing with a native speaker is often very intimidating, for anyone, and we had to find ways to convince people to do so. We learned how to better approach and offer a language-related event like this one and that will help us improve our upcoming weekly language café.

It was also very nice to see the inhabitants of Pułtusk  being genuinely curious about us, our languages and our cultures and we hope that they learned as much as we did and that it will encourage them to discover more about other cultures.
Na razie,