Hi, my name is Nathalie and this is what EVS means for me:
W- O ? L ? O ? N ? T ? A ? R ? I ? A ? T
W – wielość (variety)
When you do EVS you are faced with such a big variety in so many aspects. You get to know different people from all over Europe, an impression, how different our continent and its people are. From latin countries Spain and Italy over the central countries like Germany, Belgium, France up to the Eastern European cultures like Ukraine, Romania and Turkey. Different mentalities, languages and traditions come together and teach each other something. I almost forgot, how different faces Europe has and in which different conditions we are still living. How easy or hard it is f.e. for the different people of us, to come into Poland or another country ? for staying some months or even short time. To go to Poland didn’t seem to be such a far step from Germany, but being here and making this experience together with all these different people changes perspective a lot.
My EVS opened for me also the door to another culture, which I almost didn’t know at all before: I work with adult people with special needs. This brought so much more variety into my life.
O ? ?Odzież na wagę?
?Odziez na wage?, which titles a second hand shop, where you can by clothes per kilogram, is one of the lovely small and special things to discover in Krakow. In no other city I saw so many second hand shops.
Also all the ?Piekarnika’s? (bakeries), ?Cukiernika’s? (store with cake), ?Owoce-? (fruit-) and ?Warszywa-? (vegetable-), that you find on your way through the streets are doing their best to create the special and characteristic atmosphere in Krakow.
L ? list (letter)
Here in Poland I rediscovered a very nice old habit: I started again to write letters.
Simply born out of the lack of internet at home, this rediscovery turned out as such a beautiful and warmhearted thing! To write with your own hands to your friends and family at home, brings yourself so much closer to them.
But is important to mention also, that – if you care for it ? internet in Krakow is very easy to get and very good 😉
O ? osiedle (?)
As I am working in the district ?Nowa Huta?, the so called ?osiedle?s are very present in my daily life. An ?osiedle? is a typical building from the Sowjet times ? supposed to provide as much living space as possible. These buildings are grey, with extremely simple architecture and give you very monotone and boring feeling. I regard my time in Nowa Huta, when I walk throug the huge ?osiedle?s (and get lost sometimes) also as kind of history lesson.
N ? natura (nature)
Of course, Krakow is a big city, you are not in between beautiful nature most of the time. But if you are that kind of person, that feels desire for being in nature and out of the city from time to time, you have opportunity for visiting some forests or wide empty fields, when you leave the centre and make your way a little outside.
One of my favourite memories here in Krakow was a long walk with some other volunteers ? just through trees and snow and nothing else.
Another very precious memory for me is my holiday at the seaside with the people from my working place. Everyday three times Baltic Sea ? to save some nature inside for the time in the city!
T ? trudność (?)
Polski jezyk bardzo trudny! The polish language is very difficult. Maybe this is one reason why so many volunteers give up to learn this language and decide to manage life with the help of English. And maybe, if you can communicate in your working place in English, is not really ?necessary?.
But of course, is possible! After six months in Poland I learned quite something, and I can say, polish people are really appreciating 🙂
A ? apelacja (?)
EVS is can be an oppurtunity to find your own personal profession.
Sounds like advertisement, but is the truth! I have the luck to experience this. As I work with adults with special needs ? I really found so much joy, satisfaction and inspiration in this, that I want to study social work after I finished my voluntary service in Krakow.
I think without EVS, that gives you this chance and free space to just try out and make new experience without too much pressure, maybe I would have never known this about myself. I am very thankful for that!
R ? razem (together)
The other volunteers can become your friends and even your family. If you are lucky, you get to know or you can even live together with people, that you love and that laugh with you every day and who share with you this special time in Poland. Right now, I want to thank my family here in Krakow for being with me, making loves and laughes all the time!
I ? imigrant (immigrant)
I think it is a very special experience to stay so long in one place, that is not your home place. You are stranger in the country, but you are also no traveler ? you are kind of immigrant. For me it is very intensive and sometimes overwhelming experience ? without real language knowledge in the beginning, new traditions and sometimes really different mentalities and attitudes (even if Poland is neighbour country of Germany). I think, it is very important to keep this feeling in mind and to have a empathy anytime, when you deal with immigrants in your home country or anywhere else in the world.
A ? artystyczny (artistic)
Here I chose this word, because one of the most fun and inspiring things for me is to make artistic things with the people in my work. I just love it! Sometimes we are preparing stuff for the different celebrations like Christmas or Easter, for the coming of the spring and sometimes we just take out some colours of the big cupboard and see what happens. It is so good to experience all the coulours which each other and see, how beautiful they can be all together.
T ? tanczyć (to dance)
Another beautiful acitivity, that I enjoy very much in my work, is to dance.
Always, when there are special occasions or small parties, people are dancing ? and this which such an energy, it is simply joy! I was with my people on a trip to the seaside for two weeks, where we were dancing every evening and it was best workout for body & soul!