Meet Alberto

I?m Alberto from Italy and I?m here because I love children, I think that everyone of us can learn from a child. I?m working in a special school with kids having physically and mentally disabilities…and I?m very proud and happy to work with them, to help them , joke with them and let them laugh everyday. I think at the end of this project this is gonna be the most beautiful experience of my life, for sure I will never forget them! I knew a lot of good people, people that became friends, friends who you spent almost one year of your life. And all of this is amazing!

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Hunting the dragon City Game – story by Lavinia

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Living in Kraków means living in a city full of legends, dragons, history, magic and volunteers!
So let’s put that all together and spend an evening full of adventures to get to know our beautiful city and other volunteers.

So dear friend, if you like interesting stories and legends, if you have an adventure spirit and ready to answer the challenge – Welcome to the Hunt!
During the Hunt you will have the possibility to see some magic places of Cracow, you’ll have the chance to meet local dragons, witches, knights, wizards and (un)usual citizens! You will have the possibility to improve your skills and knowledge and find a real treasure!
Ready? Go!

On Wednesday the 29. of April at 7 p.m., we will start our hunt for the dragon’s treasure at Maria Church on Rynek. After the adventures we will meet for one, two or more drinks of glory in Klub Kornet!

In this way we start to hunt the famous Dragon of Krakow. The project called Hunting the Dragon gather volunteers from Strim and IB Polska, 41 people (players, volunteers and organizers) were involved in this event. Collaborating with Amandine from Strim, Olga and Clara, and with support of coordinators from IB, Maciek and Paulina, Ola, my EVS mentor and with help of teachers from my school Bozena, Karolina, Basia, Tomek and Nathalie (the volunteers for the EVS volunteers) I managed to organize the city game project.

Amandine ? choosing and creating the rewards, shopping, logo, maps and host for our meetings

Clara ? the main judge count the points and keep the players aware of the game rules.

Olga ? story taller and strategy headmaster for game tasks and teams routs

I contact everyone, divide the tasks, place for premier and stick everything together in the end so game had a shape. Feedback was positive, event was a success, thank you to everyone for make it possible.

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Organisational comittee

The city game had two parts, first was the game in the city which started in Rynek and continued with finding the game stations and completing the tasks for each station.

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Beginning of game
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The second part took place in Klub Kornet were we meet to celebrate the winning team.

 

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Winning team

 

The treasure (the black box) was received by the winning team which was one of the prizes of the game, in the beginning all the players contribuite with a some coins and in the end the trasure was gived to the winning team.

Story by Lavinia Miclea.

 

EVS Language in Odolanów – story by Amy

When you are an EVS volunteer and someone tells you that you can travel to a new city, you say yes, even before they are finished. It almost doesn?t matter where it is, or what you have to do; it is an adventure and you apply. The opportunity to get to know another city, more local people is awesome in itself! And just to be more awesome, it was a language weekend with kids and teachers who speak English. If you have been abroad, you know exactly what it means that you can actually communicate with someone about more than where you can find the bus station?

Here we go!

So, just to get all the facts straight, this language weekend was already organised for the third or fourth time, and EVS volunteers from IB-Polska were taken as assistants/helpers so the children can see that there are people in this world, who could learn English at a reasonable level, so it is really not impossible. The whole thing started years ago, with two Kasias being friends during university studies. Kasia Nr. 1 was our Polish teacher in IB-Polska, and Kasia Nr. 2 became an English teacher. They kept in touch and once the idea of a language weekend was born and Kasia Nr. 1 offered the volunteers to help. That is how all of us ended up in Ostrzeszów/Odolanów.

Stairs are always good for a group photo.
Lavinia in action.

Everything was arranged, we just had to travel and give the best of us. Friday morning (8th of May) we left Kraków and just after 8 short hours (including waiting of course) we arrived at our destination. The children already know some of us, so it was really easy to connect with them. They were interested in what we could say and that made us feel needed, which is always good. We had tons of games, fun, we visited an adventure park, had team-building exercises, we had to build a tower out of newspaper, and during all of this, we were speaking in English to the kids. That is great, because they were learning without even knowing it! They were very much interested in our presentations about our countries, they participated in the games enthusiastically. We tried to prepare different kind of presentations, not the usual boring ones about the cities and sightseeing stuff. We involved Ukrainian music, Romanian flag, famous Germans, fun facts about Hungary and a mother?s perspective of Bulgaria. It was heart-warming to see that although it was about studying, the kids considered this as an opportunity to broaden their horizons about Europe, volunteering and opportunities. We had an amazing experience with all the interest, love and passion showed towards us, and I think it is safe to say that we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Article about language weekend was also published in local newspaper Ostrzeszów Info.

Story by: Annamaria Hetyey

Photos by: Katarzyna Smiejczak

Meet Ayten!

Hello, dear reader! My name is Ayten and I am from Azerbaijan. I am an EVS volunteer in Cracow and I would like to share with you brief information about what EVS teaches me.

  1. Experience:

Being an EVS volunteer teaches me great experience of working with children with disabilities. I work in a Special Education School # 11 in Cracow. I am responsible of taking an active part in daily activities, conducting artistic and educational workshops for children, organizing motion games and occasional cross-cultural events. I am also responsible of helping children for daily activities of living such as feeding, cleaning and etc. Although this is my first experience with disabilities, I did not only learn, at the same time, I enjoyed a lot so far.

There is a mutual learning environment in the school. While I try to improve my Polish language skills through daily communication with my students and teachers, at the same time, teachers try to learn English through communication with me and private English language lessons that I organize.

I do not limit myself to implement duties that are expected from me as a volunteer. I also try to fully participate in the process and learn as much as I can. Therefore, I take part in Makaton sign language classes that are organized by teachers three times in a week and some other workshops such as First Aid, Tobii eye tracking device or AAC communication tools, online applications, games and other type of activities for kids. I should emphasize that there is no ?competition? among teachers, but ?sharing? and they are always open to help each other including volunteers to improve their skills continuously.

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Photo 1: Christmas Eve ( Wigilia)

As an EVS volunteer, I have also many possibilities to organize different projects or participate in different community development activities. For example, we organized ?Write for Rights? campaign for the political prisoners in Azerbaijan by the support and help of Amnesty International group in Cracow. I had a speech about human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan and we sent thirteen letters to the president of Azerbaijan.

 

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Photo 2: Amnesty International with French guests

 

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Photo 3: Amnesty International Cracow

 

  1. Friendships

Being an EVS volunteer, I have met a lot of people from different parts of the world, such as from Brazil to Vietnam and I have made very close friendships. The best example is the teachers from the school that I volunteer. We do not only have teacher and volunteer relations, but at the same time we are very close friends. They included me into their friendship circle, they are always open to listen, support and help me whenever I need. In that school everybody is very supportive to each other and they are like a big family and I feel like I am a part of it.

I would like to give an example. I have been in a camp for a week with my teacher, her family and her friends with disable adult people in a small village near Cracow. They organize such type of camps at least twice in a year during holidays and they meet once in each month in order to support and help disable people. And I was very happy to be a part of such group and to experience such kind and warm atmosphere there.

I would say that EVS is one of the best places for socializing and improving language skills. Here I met many Erasmus students, Erasmus+ and other volunteers, expats, tourists, and etc. It is not only a good chance to build my own friendship circle in which I can do some fun activities, trips, at the same time, meeting a lot of people helped me to increase my understanding of European people and culture.

 

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Photo 4: Dresden Trip

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Photo 5: Berlin Trip with my friend Marie

 

  1. Cultural exchange

EVS is also good opportunity for cultural exchange. During my EVS I have been promoting Azerbaijani culture through presentations, cooking days, at the same time, I have been learning about polish culture for the last eight months. I organized ?Azerbaijani day? and ?Cooking day? in my school and participated in celebration of polish holidays such as Dzień Niepodległości (Independence day), Wigilia (Christmas Eve), Wielkanoc (Easter), Wszystkich Świętych (All Saints day) and etc. Here are some pictures:

 

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Photo 6: National Polish Dance in Warsaw

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Photo 7.1-7.2: Natalia and Wiktor, in the process of baking Azeri Qutab

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Photo 8: Kuba painiting

 

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Photo 9: My beautiful girl Natalia is playing a Christmas Carol

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Photo 10: My lovely boys Wiktor and Kuba just having fun before Christmas celebration

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Photo 11: Azeri Day

Finally, I would like to emphasize that EVS is a place for personal and professional development for young people. Of course, nothing is flawless in the world, there will be some difficulties as well. This is life! 😉 This is what my EVS experience teaches me. Especially for the people who wants just leave the home and start new adventures in a different part of the world. You will create your own adventures, they will not come to you while you are waiting and doing nothing. The most importantly, if you are in the search of freedom, I would say that EVS is a right place for you to start. Believe me, you will feel freedom, you will taste freedom and you will breath freedom!!!