Tuesday, 9 October 2018

September 2018 -A new volunteer


I am Sabela, the new EVS volunteer at the library of Pomiechówek!

I come from A Coruña, a town in the northwestern corner of Spain, and I am 22 years old. I arrived to Poland at the beginning of September and I will stick around until the end of July 2019. That’s plenty of time to get to know this amazing country and its culture -and I will try with the language as well!

But first… how did this adventure start for me?

After four years of university, I finally graduated at English Language and Literature this past June. So the question was what to do next. I had spent all those years avoiding to think about the future, I was just not prepared to start a professional life and there was not any master that called my attention. I needed something different and, for sure, I needed to keep improving my English!

I had spent my third year of University as an Erasmus student in Ireland, so I guess that this awesome experience encouraged my hunger for discovering new places, cultures and people and also my passion for traveling. This is why when I learnt about the existence of the EVS (European Voluntary Service) I thought that it was perfect for me, for it gave me the possibility of doing all of those things while also working in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with a place for creativity and new things. I just could not miss this opportunity and I decided to take a gap year afterwards.

Once I concluded my final project and had again free time I started to search for options and to plan my new life. However, I was much more complicated than what I thought! It is true that there are hundreds of different projects you can choose, but on the other hand, there are only a few available positions within each one for people all around Europe. Therefore, it’s pretty hard that the project you like also wants you.

Actually, it is quite a frustrating process. In my case, I applied for twenty projects, most of them linked to cultural activities, but only three contacted back. So it was a long wait during this Summer, I even started to think that it would be impossible for me to go abroad.
Finally, I got the confirmation that I had been accepted at the library! I have already spent a month here and things could not be better, so I can say that, although I got here almost by chance, it is so far the best chance of my life!

So, when people ask me ‘why Poland?’ I have to admit that it’s not like I chose Poland, it was more of a match!

I will be posting on the library blog about the activities and events we organize and about my new adventures in Poland, so I hope you come back soon!


Monday, 16 July 2018

August 2017 - EVS decision or how everything started...

July 16, 2018

Cześć !

My name is Angeline, I am 21 and I come from France.

I started my EVS (aka European Voluntary Service) in the library of Pomiechówek, Poland, in September 2017 and this amazing experience will end in August 2018.

12 months in Poland... 12 months of discoveries, meetings, personal challenges and travels... 12 months with everything to learn, a culture shock and a language barrier to overcome and a new environment to adapt... But also 12 months sharing time with amazingly nice people in a place I will miss as soon as I will leave. 12 months, that's a lot to share with you, dear reader !

Let's go step by step and start with the beginning...

After two years of French preparatory class focused on Humanities and a third year at the university to study English Literature and Civilization, I finally got graduated in English in 2017. Then I should have naturally kept on studying to obtain a Master and start my professional life... However, I dreamt a lot about seeing something else, discovering the world and improving my English while trying to find the professional path that fits the best with who I was. I needed a true challenge to grow up and finally find my own way through this jungle.

During my third year at the university, I decided to plan a gap year and I applied to be a French Assistant in Ireland the following year but unfortunately I wasn't chosen as there were so many applications for just a few schools and I didn't have any previous teaching experience... However, stubborn as I was, I decided to check what I could find on the Internet, my aim of living abroad couldn't just stop after one failure ! So I applied for different projects everywhere around the world - all of them linked in a way with cultural aspects - in very different countries such as Laos, China, England, Emirates, Mauritania and... Poland.

Yes, here is my confession: Poland wasn't my first choice or even the only country I applied for... but no doubt it was the best decision ever ! Magic of unknown places ! ;)

So here I am, taking part in an EVS in the opposite part of Europe and sharing my unforgettable experience on this blog !

If you want to know more about my adventures in Poland, dear reader, be patient, other articles are coming...
Stay around !


Psst ! These are some useful links you may want to check:

Thursday, 2 November 2017

October/December 2017 - Presentations about France

From October to December 2017

Cześć !

When you start living abroad, the first main difficulty you have to overcome is the adaptation to a new environment and a new culture. Poland is a part of Europe so the culture shock wasn't that violent contrary to Asian countries for example, but still, you need time to adapt. As a volunteer, my role was not only to discover and understand this foreign culture but also to share my own culture and my experience as a foreign volunteer in Poland with local people.

Creating a presentation about my homeland was one of my first tasks at the library. I met many classes of Primary School and Gymnazjum (aka Secondary School) to share pictures and explanations about France. We talked about food (frogs, snails and stinky cheeses... but not only !!), landscapes, houses architecture, famous actors and singers and even famous international events and festivals which usually take place in France. Then I presented the place where I used to live before going to Poland, "l'Auvergne", a region located in the middle of France and well known for its numerous volcanos and its big diversity of cheese. 

Many children and teenagers asked questions to know more about my country, the languages I learnt or my future travels. Some of them wanted to know my thoughts about Pomiechówek or more generally about Poland, which was the opportunity to underline the common points and differences between our two countries.

Pomiechówek is a small village so everyone knows the other inhabitants and the arrival of a foreigner aroused curiosity. Through these meetings, youngsters and teachers started to discover me and my country. I tried to explain how important English could be when travelling and how interesting and enriching such a life changing experience could be.

Now, slowly finishing my volunteering in Poland, I can confess it: at that moment I had no idea how right I was, this experience surpassing by far all my expectations ! For example, when I started this succession of presentations, I was stressed to sickness, my brain was shouted me not to go and my stomach was trying new acrobatic figures into my belly - which was sooo painful from the morning ! But day after day, class after class, I slowly learnt to control myself and the pain soothed. After meeting about 200 children/teenagers only for this presentation about France, it would be a lie to say I didn't feel stressed anymore but... at least I widely improved my skills at speaking ! "Practice makes Progress" !

Oh and just for fun, guess what ?? ...I got graduated again ! I got a "diploma" from the Primary school in Nasielsk - to thank me for coming ! Yeah I know, at this rhythm I will be overqualified when going back to France...


Tuesday, 31 October 2017

October 2017 - Halloween party

October 2017

Cześć !

 What do you know about Halloween in your country ? Let me give you some short explanations from my French point of view...
Halloween is a celebration that takes place on 31st October - the day before All Saints' Day. In France, it's a day when we can wear ghost, witch, pumpkin or skeleton costumes to ask for sweets in the shops and houses or attend to a party. We can also carve pumpkins to put a candle inside, tell frightening stories, watch horror movies or play divination games... This celebration is more or less popular according to the countries where you live.

This year, I wanted to make Polish children discover and enjoy this tradition at the library because this celebration is generally a great source of fun and joy for them and it was really popular in my country when I was younger. However, I forgot that Poland was a very catholic country which meant we encountered some resistance from people because this tradition was seen as disrespectful for the dead people we celebrate the day just after... You know, laughing and dancing while wearing a skeleton costume can shock and hurt people, we cannot joke about the deads (which I can understand). Anyway, I insisted because volunteers also go abroad to share their own culture and make local people discover something different from their everyday life and, lucky as I am with my wonderful team, we decided to try to organise a party at the library and see if some parents would be ready to let their children join us...

What a great idea we had to persist in that way when we saw the success it was ! We even organised a second Halloween party in a small library in Kosewo with even more children !

Susi - my Spanish flatmate who was volunteering in the cultural centre- helped me. We could plan whatever we wanted but we had to avoid skeletons and cemetery decorations...

What about the D-Day ? We prepared the room with handmade decorations, a lot of balloons and a thematic music. The children came with really great costumes. We proposed them a Halloween workshop: they could create a ghost thanks to a sheet of paper, a marker and some cotton. We also proposed face-painting and pictures with a handmade Halloween frame. The children could use one of the Halloween masks and accessories Susi made to bring even more fun to the pictures.

Susi also created a Mystery Box with holes and the children had to touch what was inside without seeing anything and guess what was hidden there. We had put jelly sweets which look like human eyes, jelly worms, a soft material in shape of spider's leg and other scaring things... but the children were super brave !

Finally, we concluded this Halloween celebration with the movie "Hotel Transylvania" and bags of popcorn !


Sunday, 17 September 2017

September 2017 - National Reading Day

September 2017

Cześć !

As time flies and I'm almost at the end of my volunteering, I'm going to share with you some articles about the main activities I did during my EVS in Poland to give you an idea of how I spent my time at work during all these months.

To begin with, it's important to notice that I'm working in a library, which means I have the opportunity to participate to many different activities linked with libraries' international events. The National Reading Day is one of them as promoting the benefits of reading is one of the major role of a library.

For this specific day, we decided to gather English language and reading promotion so we went to the Kindergarten of Pomiechówek to read a book in English. As I wanted something easy for children to understand, I chose one of the most famous stories I found: "The Three Little Pigs" ! I visited four classes and, each time, the children were really kind and interested. What is so good with children is their spontaneous way of expressing themselves: curiosity, fear, joy, they fully live the story you tell them !

Finally, the children made me feel more and more confident when reading and at the end one of them insisted to tell me something in Polish - my colleague translated: she wanted to learn more English because I made her like it very much ! Sooo cute, isn't it ? Further more, in another class, a little girl spontaneous started to hug me to thank me and all the class followed her: keep it secret but that's exactly how to make my heart melt in a few seconds ! How to resist to such "cutitude" [cute attitude] ??! I wasn't prepared at all !

It was my first meeting with young children, my first task as a freshly arrived volunteer in Poland but I received a very warm and unforgettable welcome from the teachers and these little angels ! This first success with them really helped me for the rest of my EVS, giving me strength, courage and melting my heart over and over again when remembering it !

An interesting fact about Polish people: they love collecting diplomas from every single events they attend to from childhood so here is my first Polish diploma given by these teachers to thank me for meeting their classes !

If you want to read my previous article to know more about me and my decision to do an EVS in Poland, click here: http://evsinpomiechowek.blogspot.com/2018/07/evs-decision-or-how-everything-started.html

See you soon for new adventures !