Explore Krakow ~ City Game

The second Friday of October volunteers and interns played the city game “Explore Krakow”. They formed four competing groups “Die Glücksbärchies”, “People”, “Stereotypes” and “Boo”. Starting from Wojewódzka Biblioteka Publiczna w Krakowie in Rajska 1 they interviewed Poles, met challenges and finally became rewarded with Zapiekanki at Plac Nowy in Kazimierz where the game ended after more or less 150 minutes of exploring. We officially announce the 1st place with 500 points: “Stereotypes”.

Let`s imagine 15 young people. They are in a library in Krakow. Running around but trying not to distract anyone (because it`s a library still).  Eager to find this one painting. The artist name is Pawel Slota. drawing

“Register and make a library card. (Trust me, it doesn`t take long and is free of course) After this you borrow one book (In the 2nd floor there are also foreign languages).” This task was also successfully completed by (most) of the rivals, as you can see here:

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Next stops: Stare Miasto, Bania Luka, Collegium Maius, Tree of Independence, Ambassada, Wawel Dragon. What happened at the Wawel dragon is worth to show you, so enjoy this funny task: “Create a human circle around the Wawel dragon with each of you holding hands. The dragon is pretty big, isn`t it? Your challenge is to find people to support you to close the circle. Take a photo!”

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“I was surprised that so many people supported us creating the circle” ~ said a volunteer from one of the groups. Also the interns from Germany are enjoying so get to know Krakow in an interactive way. “We are happy that the organization goes so smooth and that the cooperation is uncomlicated” said one of them.

However, in the end every group made it to the final task and everyone was rewarded by a huge Zapiekanka (Polish Pizza baguette) and they decided to “”

den Tag ausklinegen lassen” in a cozy Cafe (meaning having a nice and relaxed ending of the day in a Cafe).

 

 

 

article by

Katharina Becker

EVS volunteer

 

Dzień Farmera – Farmer`s Day

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Introduction

The last day of September eight (ex)volunteers, Marija, Nataljia, Georgina, Pascal, Ilfonso, Rafa, Giorgi, Kathi and Natasza from IB Polska office visited and supported the Farmer`s Day (Dzień Farmera) at the Farm of Life in the village Więckowice. The farm is a home for people who suffer from autism – the only one in Poland. We were a pretty multiculti and balanced group of volunteers, representing seven different countries which are Spain, Serbia, Romania, Macedonia, Germany, Georgia and last but not least Poland. Together we supported some activities for children and enjoyed the delicious traditional Polish food.

Chapter I – The Welcoming

For us the day started at Nowy Kleparz at 10 am. By public transport we travelled to the village Więckowice and the head of Farma życia welcomed us and showed us around the places. Everywhere people were busy preparing things for their stand of marmelade, honey, self-made porcelain-sculptures, cake as well as a barbecue. Soon the event was oficially opened and more and more people and visitors came. We prepared big papers for a game for children, it was supposed to become a print made out of human hands. We also ate a lot because we could try all the food such as sausages, salads, different cakesand coffee and tea for free.

Chapter 2 – The Mini-Run

After two concerts we started to prepare seven stations for the Mini-Run as a challenge for chidren, but not only for children – everyone was invited to try the run. 1st station – boule game, 2nd station – throwing a medicine ball as far as possible, 3rd station – throwing a basket ball into a bucket, 4th station – slalom-jumping race in sacks, 5th station – throwing small soft-balls into rings, 6th station – parcours on the playground and last station – painting the big paper with hands and feet prints (It was a lot of fun for the children to run over the paper with bare, painted feet) and also for us it was a great peasure to see the development of the print, not knowing how it will look like exactely in the end. Especially the small children enjoyed the fast games such as jumpin-race in sacks and parcours on the playground. Some of th autistic people didn`t like that so much honesty, but really enjoyed thowing small soft-balls into the rings. Pani Gea was also very happy to paint the hair of the children.

Chapter 3 – Human Print and Reward

After a while the children had enough of the games and we finished it. We became also a part of the human print and Natasza painted our hands in different colours. Fortunately we even had some time to explore other attractions such as horse riding, horse carriage riding, fire truck and a huge bouncy castle. The time was come to reward the chidren for their hard work and they received a certificate of participation as well as bags with some small prices and gadgets. We volunteers enjoyed the day and the sunny weather with fresh air in the countryside and would like to visit the farm again.

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photography by

Marija

(EVS volunteer)

Pascal

(EVS volunteer)

Giorgi

(EVS volunteer)

Nataljia

(EVS volunteer)

article by Katharina Becker

(EVS volunteer)

Meet Paulina – EVS volunteer in Germany

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Hi, my name is Paulina, I’m from Poland and I’m 28 years old.
I am a Technical and Computer Science Education graduated in Poland. I want to find my way in life. I want to share my experience and my skills with another people. I see more development opportunities in another country than Poland. When I studied, I was 6 months on practice in Germany. That was it! I feel good there, but I could stay only to the end of practice. I decided to find a some European project. That was EVS ,so new challenge. I didn’t know how it would be… I start my adventure with EVS in October 2016. I finding on IB-Polska website, 3 offers for voluntary work. I choose some project in Arche Neuenhagen near Berlin. So, great I’m near a capitol of Germany, the largest multicultural place in the world. I knew already Berlin, I was here in 2009. But Berlin is such a big city, so to get to know it well you must to spend a few years. In my work I was the only foreigner. I had a great chance to learn the language quickly. I could also develop my graphic skills. In my work place we organizes open-air concerts, events, courses, so I can make posters, flyer, concerts tickets. Two days a week I work in senior’s house. I prepare breakfast, help with cleaning and to keep senior’s company. EVS is a combination of gaining knowledge, learning the language and possibility to meet people from all over the world. Teach a patience, understanding, openness.

 

article by Paulina Krych

(EVS volunteer)

How to EVS

POWER & STYLE

 

New country, new city, new everything

Don’t be totally scared (like me), even if everything seems so strange, people so different from you, language so difficult. Breath and think that, after a few days or weeks, you will be able to understand how things work there and that you will feel part of this environment.

Download as soon as possible an app for transport, it will be fundamental! With the time, you will know all (well, almost all) the tram/bus stop, a lot of streets and squares; but at first, fell into a mysterious new city, you will need something able to guide you wherever you want to go.

Buy a SIM card with a new number, and subscribe an offer for calls, messages and internet. If, unluckily, you will not have WIFI at home (but you can manage to have it), this will save your life.

 

New home and new flatmates

Before meeting your new flatmates, relax. They will be just the people that you will see every morning just woke up and every afternoon after the job; the people with who you will share bathroom, kitchen, toilet paper, money for all the stuff for clean! So c’mon, don’t be pressured 😀

It’s not important if they will become your best friends or not; the basis has to be a pacific co-existence under the same roof.

Speak about who has to do what in the flat (mainly regarding buy things to share and clean) and when. There is nothing worst than fight because of non-washed dishes or dirty bathroom! So, just divide your tasks.

Speak in general about anything you are uncomfortable with. It’s useless live thinking about what you don’t like in the flat.

Live and let the others live.

 

At workplace

Speaking only about an experience in a kindergarten, my tips can be:

Prepare yourself to share a class with teachers that, maybe, don’t speak English (or don’t speak English so good). At first they can be worried to try to talk with you, but the things will get better with time.

Children don’t speak English, of course (at least, mine – they were 3-4 years old, so it’s pretty normal); and you don’t speak their language. Also, they will be so surprised that you can’t understand them; it was so hard, for me, let them know that I really didn’t understand what they said.

At this point, the main question can be: ok, perfect, and so?

Learn some easy words and sentences (not only “I don’t understand” and “I don’t speak Polish” – even if they were my favourites) to try to get a connection with them.

 

Smile a lot

Play with them, you don’t need words for that

Be ready to catch every word and every sound, because everything will be really useful during your stay among them (for example, after some time it was really easy to understand requests like “can you help me?”, “can I go to the toilet?”, “can I take it?”, “come with me”, “can you draw me a butterfly/flower?”, “can you read that?”

 

Ask them to teach you something

Try to teach them some words in your language or in English

Don’t lose your time doing nothing. You can be useful to a lot things, not only to play or build something or dance: help with the breakfast and the lunch, help children to get dressed, clean a little after meals (probably no one will ask you that, but they can’t not appreciate that :D).

 

In general

Speak with your mentor or with your supervisor about any kind of problem

Take part to activities or workshops organized by your association, it can be an important chance to learn something new and get close to local people and uses.

Enjoy the trainings, because they are amazing experiences!

Be totally open-minded, know as much as people, food, places as possible!

Write a diary in order to remember a lot of things that you could forget! It’s also a great help in difficult moments (trust me).

 

 

 

article by Laura Caruzzo

(EVS volunteer)

 

 

Meet Laura

“I jumped in the water by myself”

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A famous figure of speech says that if you want a child learn to swim, and he’s afraid to do that, you have to push him in the water.

If he won’t drown, he will learn it.

It may sound a little extreme, but my experience with EVS can be related to this story. With just a difference: I jumped in the water by myself, in order to understand if I would have managed to survive.

Decide to live six months away from home, from everything I knew, from everyone I love.

I thought that I wouldn’t have enough strength, ready to book a flight to come back after one week.

Buuut I am here now, writing these words about my 160 days in Poland.

The main question that someone could ask me can be, would you recommend EVS, after all you have been through?

I answer, YES.

YES if you are ready to reconsider yourself and the person you are, ready to fight everyday to reach your purpose.

YES if you are ready to face difficult situations, bad days, problems with flatmates and co-workers, evenings in which you think that the only thing that can make you happy is go away.

YES if you are ready to learn a new language, follow lessons and discover new sounds, new letters, words with no vocals!

YES if you are ready to give yourself completely to your project, become a part of your association, give your heart to the people you will work with – in my case, a group of kids (3-4 years) in a colourful kindergarten in Krakòw.

YES if you are ready to meet a lot lot lot of new people from all over Europe, live unforgettable moments, share stories of life and hopes for the future with someone that is so different from you!

 

EVS for me was an incredible, difficult, satisfying experience: I learned how to communicate without a common language (with lovely children that decide, after a little time, to become my teachers in order to help me with the knowledge of words like flower, butterfly, cat, dog, cow, horse…); I improved without doubts my English skills (starting to think that the years of lesson at school were such an important present, since they allowed me to speak with people from every country of Europe); I visited a totally mysterious new country (which was Poland for me before leaving); I tasted new food, did things that I would never thought to do!

 

Some days it sounded like a war against myself. And now, for sure, I can say that I won.

 

I come back home with a really big backpack of experiences, tears and laughs, smiles and thoughts, photos, voices in my mind that say “dzień dobry, pani Laura!” every morning, jokes, wonderful plane built with Legos, football matches (because I was really lucky: during the training in Warsaw, our hostel was two minutes far from the stadion of Legia Warszawa; besides that, in June Krakòw hosted the Championship of European U21).

 

 

So, are you thinking to leave for EVS, but you are not sure because of this and because of that?

No excuses, start to look for your project, put your clothes into a big suitcase (ok, really big) and jump on a plane.

Something beautiful is waiting for you somewhere!

 

Laura

 

article by Laura Caruzzo

(EVS volunteer)

Mulicultural dinner with EVS volunteers in Autism Centre

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Last days of June our volunteers in Autism Centre (Centrum Autyzmu i Całościowych Zaburzeń Rozwojowych), Beatrice, Giorgiana and Xabier, decided to organize a multicultural dinner with all the teachers that had the opportunity to share their classes with.

In this dinner, we had the chance to taste food from different countries: lasagne, grissini, tortilla de patatas, quiche, cheese, ham or salami and Rafaellos and brownie with ice-cream as a dessert.

With all the funny and joy moments, they also had time for surprises so our volunteers get a few gifts as a reward to their job.

From this post, volunteers wanna thank all the teachers they have met during their EVS project and the effort and how involve they were to make then felt integrated. Finally, they would also like to thank Mario (One of the previous volunteers in this Center) for his availability to join this event.

 

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article by Xabier Valcárcel Dagá

(EVS volunteer)

 

 

 

Meet Olga in Turkey

“(…)Turkey is a country full of contrasts and cultural contractions”

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Hi, I am Olga, I spent two months in Nestil Fest project in “System and Generation Association”.

I always wanted to go to youth exchange, my favourite destination was Denmark. In winter I started to look for the trip. For a few months I planned my time there, but at the end of May I got information that it is impossible during this summer holidays. I was disappointed, I really wanted to spend abroad more than two weeks. At this time I saw an advertisement about EVS project in Turkey. Two weeks later I was there . Before my EVS I have never been to Turkey or any other Muslim country. My interest always was around European Union countries. That is the reason I had a cultural shock.

In Ankara I spent June and July. I was there during the Ramadan and Bairam. It was a very good time for learning Turkish customs, because with my friend from five different countries: Georgia, Ukraine, Italy, Macedonia and Slovakia I had a possibility to take part in „Iftar” (it is a special dinner which people eat at night during Ramadan).

For this two moths I worked in three different places: in elderly house with elderly people, in youth centre with Syrian kids and in Clock Tower where I prepared a tea for men which discussed there together.

Turkey is a country full of contrasts and cultural contractions, but that also takes you in a magic atmosphere when you walk through Its streets and bazaars, when you eat Its delicious food or simply when you have a cup of tea with someone you just met five minutes ago.

I came back to Poland a month ago, I already had a lot of time to see that I miss this hospitable and helpful people I met during EVS.

EVS is not easy, for instance in Ankara nobody speaks English, and I often had to use body language. During EVS you will have many unexpected challenges, but when you want to become a stronger, more independent and more confident version of yourself, there’s nothing better to do than an EVS.

 

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article and photography by Olga

Piknik na Zakończenie Wakacji

Picnic at the end of holidays

School will start again for children and teens in Krakow in September after summer holidays. Parasol/Rakowicka10 organized a picnic to celebrate the last days of holidays with the help of three volunteers – Geea, Guillaume and Kathi – from I.B. Polska in Ogród Zabaw park.

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Parasol/Rakowicka10 is a partner of I.B. Polska. Usually they are working with children from districts Stare Miasto, Kazimierz and Podgorze, living in social difficulties. Also they have street-workers, offer active creative activities and distribute eductional material. This was also a part of the picnic. We have had a space for sharing books. Children could rummage and take books they liked. The aim of the picnic was to promote healthy food and an active lifestyle. Therefore children had the opportunity to cook healthy. They made salad, guacomole and finger-foods. Parasol had also prepared some pasta salad and cake as well as herbata (tee) and kawa (coffee). Mostly the children liked the circus-workshop because they could play different games. Their parents were there and could spend some happy hours all together. During the day more people came and newcomers participated in activities such as egg and spoon race and drawing games. The weather was very warm and the children could play a lot. Even after jumping with skipping rope they had still enough energy for dancing zumba!

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We (the volunteers) would like to say that we`ve had a lot of fun with the children and people from Parasol during that day.

 

 

 

article and photography

by Katharina Becker

(EVS volunteer)

Anti-Discrimination Pack 2.0

In AugDSCF5951ust four volunteers took part in a workshop lead by Paulina Drzal in I.B. Polska office. The aim is to upgrade the original “Anti-Discrimination Pack“ by ICUD to raise awareness about discrimination online.

We distinguish between digital and online discrimination. On the one hand technologies could be used to ‘digitally redline’ unwanted groups, either as customers, employees or others. On the other hand is the internet a platform to spread discrimination and hate anonymous.

We researched examples for hate speech but also for love speech online. We found out that it is much easier to find hate speech than love speech on social media and online platforms. Love speech often is only an attempt to counter hate speech.

We watched a short documentary about Marshall Rosenberg`s (American psychologist, 1934 – 2015)

Non-Violent Communication concept, wich is also know as “compassionate“ or “collaborative“ communication. He explained that our way of education gives two possible ways to choose as a response, either submission or rebellion. It would be better to use a request than a demand because it gives more freedom to the person who receives it. Now, that person can decide to fulfill or deny because a request is not forcing any actions. Before posing a request we must explain our feelings about that particular situation to the other person. We brainstormed about how to promote Non-Violent Communication and love speech online. We wrote the keywords love, respect and tolerance. But those are very general ideas. In my opinion there are two major results of the workshop. Firstly, all volunteers agreed that it is difficult to abandon hate speech completely because the internet is not the reason of it. It only makes it more easy to spread negative thoughts of negative people. To reduce hate speech online, contents must be deleted immedately but that also means control and censorship. Another way is to change minds. I guess this famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi fits in this context, because “thoughts become words (and) words become your actions (…)“. In the end thoughts must be change offline to change online enviornment. Rosenberg said that choise was internal.

Secondly, a result of the workshop also is summed up by a quote by Rosenberg, who said that “the most direct path to peace is through self-connection“.

photgraphy by Paulina Drzal

article by Katharina Becker

(EVS volunteer)

Meet Xabier

Hello everyone!

My name is Xabier and I was one of the lucky guys who took part in a EVS project during 2017.

I am 23 years old and I am Spanish, being more specific, from an amazing and not too much known region by foreigners called Galicia, in the north-west of Spain.

After my studies and six months working in Vigo (Galicia), I decided to look for something new far from my home city and European Voluntary Service came to my mind as I had found some information about one year ago and which basically was going abroad with everything paid!

I started my search with several difficulties. I didn´t know very well how the process worked, I didn´t know why some projects had written “Approved Project” as a kind of advertising and I wanted to start as soon as possible meanwhile most of them were looking for someone to start in 3,4,5 or even 8 months later.

After 1 month, I discover We green it! project. It was a two backgrounds project as there was an educational part with autistic kids and an ecological part based on promoting recycling and green life-style in city´s inhabitants. The project was also for 6 months so at the beginning was a very good length as I would finish on the beginning of September (Big mistake! Too short) and it was in Kraków, which really impressed me when I visited it as a tourist. And, last but not least important thing, they were looking for someone to start as soon as possible.

From my applying moment, everything ran out so fast (Of course, right now, as in those days I was eager to get an answer) and after one week I was selected and one week later I was flying to Kraków!

Symbol of Kraków in one of the Torun´s streets.krk

 

With everything dealed at my arrival, I didn´t have to worry about, flat, transport or being picked up from the airport, my coordinator or her workmates were always there.

In the school, activities were mainly based on assisting teachers with the goal of providing students with a more personalised and focused education. To be honest, I really hope our students in Centrum of Autism have developed their selves more than the last year’s average. Most of the students didn´t speak Polish at all so it was a good motivation to, at least, learn some Polish. Instead of, most of the teachers spoke or understood English so it was a much more easier communication.

Green project part was developed during the whole six months but we specially focused on in the last months, when school was on holidays and working load was smaller. We were lucky as our organization is very active in this aspect and we attendanced several workshops as visiting headquarters of Kraków recycling company, food, clothes or cosmetics wasting in the current society, food sharing concept and we even went to a presentation of an international artist who uses recycled materials to create pieces of art. Beside this attendance to workshops, we also organised some oriented to kindergarten kids (6-9 years old) trying to introduce them how human activities are affecting environment and what we can do to help through recycling.

Main square during one spectacle at night.square

 

But EVS is not only volunteering, you have also time to many other things. I had the opportunity to assist to a Polish course to helped me a lot to communicate a bit with my pupils and ask in daily life simple things (Mrs. D is a great teacher!), meeting such an amazing people from many countries: Bulgaria, France, Ukraine, Portugal, Moldova, Poland, Germany, Italy, Romany, Tunisia and of course Spain.

Besides of, Kraków is such an amazging city. With a small but precious historical center, it is full of people, and not only tourist. One of the advantages I found is that Polish people also likes to go to the city center for their free time so streets are always full of life and spectacles. Cultural life is continuous and different so you always have the chance to go somewhere and enjoy any concert, exposition or cultural exchange meeting. Furthermore, you can always go to one of the several Jazz music clubs, We are in the city of the Jazz!lake

Zakrzówek´s lake. An ancient mine reconverted into a lake 15 minutes away from the city center.

 

Do you still doubt whether to go for an EVS? C’mon! Take advantage of this fabulous project and if you have any doubt you can ask me.

Pa pa,

Xabier.

Szla dzieweczka do laseczka

Meeting in Centre for Social Inclusion in Tychy

 

 

Centre for Social Inclusion in Tychy is the project of IB Polska and is active since 10 years.

On August 11th four EVS volunteers and Natasza – coordinator from IB Polska office went to Tychy, which is about 1 hour distance from Krakow. The meeting supports cultural exchange between the people of Tychy and the diverse EVS volunteers.

Social worker Paweł Świeżko and the manager Bartłomiej Szymczyk welcomed us and explained their mission. The social centre supports unemployed people (however, unemployment in Tychy is only 3%) and also they set up events for local seniors in order to create a regular senior club and promote social contacts amongst the Tychyerians. About 1300 people get help through food support. Students have the opportunity to do an internships.

First we met people suffering from unemployment due to different reasons. Beatrice prepared a presentation about unemployment in Italy, which is about 40%. She explained that particularly in the South of Italy unemployment is higher than in the North.

The presentation was followed by discussion and the Tycherians are highly interested about the situation of our home countries. Also, we talked about refugees in Europe and realized again that there are huge differences in dealing with refugees in Europe. Polish borders are closed. Italy has to deal with many, many people who fled from war or hunger. Germany is not located at EU border. But this is another pair of shoes.

The volunteers are asked about what they mostly liked about Poland. The answers: Girls, Polish cities (Gdansk in particular), the EVS lifestyle in Krakow.

Later that day we met the seniors who welcomed us warmly and the atmosphere was very positive. Guillaume presented France and Xabi made a video about Spanish culture and the country. We danced and sang and ate food that we prepared. We have eaten delicious Spanish self-made Tortillia di Patatas, French baguette and cheese and German Rote Grütze (also self-made of course).

The seniors prepared traditional Polish “Szla dzieweczka do laseczka” song for farewell, they sang with a lot of passion.

What I like most about that day? The world is a small village. Pawel and I found out that our grandmothers were born in the same Polish village in the North of Poland. Maybe they know each other, I am excited to find out, but we will see. 🙂

 

 

article and photography by

Katharina Becker

(EVS volunteer)

Meet Laura

LIVING IN THE INTERNATIONAL FLAT
EVS is always about sharing experiences in multicultural atmospheres, but if you apply for this kind of projects, one of the possibilities about accommodation is to share flat or dormitory, almost always with people of other countries and cultures. Of course is not only about share flat, that also involves sharing practically all your live, since the moment that you wake up till the one that you go to bed 24h/7 days, during all your project.

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This is my case. I am Laura, from Spain and nowadays I am living with Julia(Ukraine), Dyliana (Bulgaria), Sofia (Italy) and Thomas (France). Can you imagine what it is like? At least I will tell you what it suppose to me.

It is said that you cannot know how is something until the moment that you live it. Before starting my EVS I was thinking how be to live with people of different countries and cultures that mine, as in all the new experiences, fears , could it be curiosity and expectation were in the same level, always in my mind. You think so many things that language differences seems to be the least important problem.

Then , after one intensive day of farewells, luggage, trains, planes and feelings, you arrive to your flat trying to do your best and not stand out too much, this idea stays for more or less the 1st hour in a “welcome party” Time runs, and you really start to feel comfortable and after 2 months living abroad , you need to express nationalist feeling. Yes, suddenly you start to appreciate your country more than in all your life: your food and dishes are the best, your music is the good one, even the greets, your schedule of your voice tone. Between laughs your days are based in discussion about which country is the best, why you cannot cook pasta with chicken , give two kisses to all the people , or speak loudly all the time. Although there is a lot of differences between cultures , you always can find a common point, something that represents us all. In our case it has been , for example our love for sleep and for the famous “siesta”, always present in our flat.

After the fase of “countries fight”, more known as “negation fase: No, your country is not better than mine” starts the one of “acceptation: okey, maybe I can take some very good things out of your country”. So, your little brain starts to open , step by step , and it is when you begin to see that (surprise) you are not the center of the universe! and that other cultures can contribute to you a lot of things. It is amazing when a world of possibilities is opened in front of you and one day you discover yourself listening French rap , reading Italians writers, loving Ukrainian sweets or saying Halo in the telephone. Your menu is international now and you have new expressions to use in all the languages. Inside of you so much things are changing: you start to know how much we can learn about the differences and how important are for our development , you understand why people is different and why they have distinct ways to live and how important is the culturalization in that. You know that differences are not the same that problems, and that you can live, share and have fun with people that have not your lifestyle. And in this way you start to know more yourself, cause is only when your are surrounded by different when you realize, at the same time how different and unique are you.

I’ve just past the meridian of my EVS, and I cannot imagine how I could live before without all this experiences and people in my life. To life in a international flat opens your mind and your heart till unsuspected limits, now, not only your English is a mix between 5 languages , you become a person with one nationality and five differences ways to understand, to see and to love the world.