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...