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:

See you soon for new adventures !