Welcome to Poland. Chapter 1
“A Spanish, Italian, and English person; living in a flat in Poland sounds like the premise of a bad sitcom. Instead it is the foundation of a life-changing experience, and how I will spend the next 10 months.
As a EuroPeer I’m almost certain you will have heard of the European Solidarity Corps (ESC). If not the information is only an email or Google search away, it is also extremely similar to the European Voluntary Service (EVS), which you may have also heard of.
Writing this I am 1 week into my ESC, working on a project around solidarity and inclusion; at a volunteer centre in Kielce, Poland. Even this early on I can feel growth in myself, and can begin to imagine how much of a ‘mega’ time I will have here.
My decision to do an ESC project was not only down to my love for erasmus+ and non-formal education in general. But also because I was beginning to feel stuck, and felt a calling to do something different and spectacular.
At this point in time it looks like that call was answered.
I understand that I will face many challenges during my time living and working in another country; and maybe it wouldn’t be wrong to call this first week a ‘honeymoon period’. However, I am extremely optimistic about the next 10 months, and would urge absolutely anyone just to take that leap – I’m certain that any other EVS or ESC alumni would agree with me as well.
Cheers for reading and hope it’s at least made you think a little.
Independence is hard! This past couple of weeks have probably been the most tiring of my adult life; granted that’s not a huge amount of time. It’s worth saying now if you didn’t get a chance to, then go back and read my first blog as it will help to put things in context.
The past few weeks have definitely lived up to my expectations. The change in schedule has been a big help, and allowed us all to regain a bit of energy and passion.
Although facilitating workshops on antidiscrimination, and other ‘taboo’ topics was new grounds and proved to be challenging, I definitely feel more fulfilled and have remembered why I chose to come on this project. For a bit of context I am volunteering at the Regionalne Centrum Wolontariatu in Kielce.
There are some amazing people who work here, that aren’t afraid to push for young people to develop new ideas around ‘tough to swallow’ subjects. I saw this for myself when I visited on a short term project back in May. Generally the centre give volunteering opportunities to local young people, Erasmus+ or not; but the bit I love most about the is the workshops they run!
Not only has the change in schedule helped, but I’m sure the addition of the youth station (A youth club hosted at the centre) on the 7th of November will bring me even more excitement. This is because it will give me space to step into my own a bit, and give me chance to gain some great experience. For example I have 3 sessions in mind; English lessons, a Podcast session, and a general leadership/Self-improvement session. So make sure to keep an eye out for stories about how they go in future blogs. As well as the 9-5 side of my day feeling more colourful, this weekend was a chance to let our hair down a bit! Friday the 1st of November was All-Saints Day, a national holiday where people place candles on the graves of loved ones as a beacon for their spirits. A truly beautiful celebration. However, it also meant we had a long-weekend, and being British there aren’t many things that I enjoy more in life! This was especially helpful as our first international party was on Thursday the 31st, Halloween! Thankfully everyone had a great evening and I feel like it was the perfect starting point for many more great parties to follow. Then yesterday (Saturday 2nd November) a few others and I headed over to Krakow for the day and enjoyed a meandering stroll round the city, with a nice but also reflective visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Thanks for reading, and make sure to look out for the next part to see how I cope with the beginning of the Polish winter!
I’ve booked a flight back home for Christmas so I am looking forward to seeing friends and family, and bringing them back something traditional from a Polish Christmas market.
But inbetween now and my flight there are some really interesting things planned. We are taking part in a 16 day long campaign against gender based violence, spending a few days out of Kielve for integration between volunteers, and have a special event based on human rights. So make sure to keep an eye out for my next update!
Thanks for reading