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