It’s Christmas! Well, almost. For the past week the temperature has been hanging around zero degrees Celsius, so our first snowfall on Monday night has been a little overdue.
After my 3 consecutive summers the novelty of winter is already starting to wear thin, and it was a little bit of a shock to realise that I have to wait another 4 months or so until the Sun reappears . That being said, the Christmas trees have started to appear, the Christmas songs have started on the radio, and mulled wine is on the menu, so for now the festivities are taking centre stage.
In terms of the last month of volunteering, it’s been a busy one. Firstly, I started with a week in Warsaw at my on-arrival training. It was a great opportunity to meet a wonderfully diverse bunch of people, volunteering all across Poland, and was a welcome bit of respite from my 9-5 office routine. The change of scenery was also welcome, because even though Bystrzyca Klodzka a is certainly a very picturesque town in a lovely landscape, it has a population of just around 10,000 people, so getting out and about in the ‘big’ city was a breath of fresh air. The training itself was really useful and gave me a really great introduction into life in Poland, the language, and the culture.
Returning back to Bystrzyca, I then jumped feet-first into a Youth Exchange. This time, we hosted 30 participants from Poland, Spain, Italy, Armenia, Ukraine and Georgia for a week of discussion, learning, and intercultural exchange whilst focusing on the topic of Internet and technology use. Aside from enjoying some very tasty food from intercultural night, us volunteers were tasked with organising a debate with participants and Polish students at a local secondary school.
Despite having no experience with debating it was a great opportunity to gain some new experience, integrate the exchange into our wee town, and encourage everyone to test their English skills in a friendly atmosphere. We then finished up the day with a visit to other schools in the nearby town of Klodzka, where we got to visit and introduce our exchange to more students and visit some of the other EFM volunteers in their school placements.
As soon as our YE participants returned home, we then welcomed 40+ Polish teenagers for the YouthMaSter course. The idea is to supplement their education at school with a short 4-dy course where we introduce them to non-formal education and get to meet a range of volunteers from all over the world. As volunteers its always an energetic and lively few days where we get to meet a whole host of young people, learn about Poland through their eyes, and introduce them to Erasmus+.
To finally round off the month, one of my housemates who volunteers in a nearby museum organised a Cultural Evening, so armed with my flag, a big box of Yorkshire Tea and a Victoria Sponge, I joined up with my fellow Armenian, Georgian, Ukrainian, Bolivian and Argentinian volunteers to bring a little bit of the UK to Klodzka.