Getting to know about Poland

Getting to know about Poland

– or meeting people from Eastern Europe (written by Marianna Horváth)

Last Saturday I got a unique possibility: I could spend a whole week with people from 10 different countries (Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Armenia) having the task of getting in touch with Poland through a one-week training which aimed at the promotion and implementation of Polish cultural diplomacy and good Polish practices in the fields of politics, education, society, etc?

During the one-week project we had workshops on various aspects of Polish culture, such as Polish history, regional structure, its international role and Polish diaspora in the world. The project was organized by Instytut Wschodnich Inicjatyw [Institute for Eastern Initiatives] and was financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland. Throughout the project the trainers were using non-formal educational techniques; for instance, groupwork, project work, simulation games, etc? in order to help us digest the material in an enjoyable but fully educational way at the same time. We also had the opportunity to visit important places in Krakow, such as the City Hall or Małopolska Regional Development Agency as well as outside Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine or Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camps.

At the City Hall of Krakow

Also, some pictures of our projects and workshops (all pictures were taken by Bartosz Kazek, photographer):

We had a very interesting game which aimed at simulating the negotiations between the Communist Party and the Solidarity Party in 1989. Quite frankly, we had lots of fun while playing with it, and we kept our roles even during the lunch break and continued the game afterwards as well. The second picture is my personal favourite, it really looks like a film poster for a political drama.


Two interesting events took place in the frame of the project: networking night, where the representatives of Eastern European NGOs could meet Polish NGOs and had the chance to talk about possible future collaboration.



Another event was on Friday night, it was the Intercultural Evening where we all had the opportunity to discover each other?s countries through films, commercials quizzes and to the joy of all of us, through traditional food/sweets and drinks. Hungary, of course, represented itself by its pálinka

Meet Ilde!

Meet Ilde!

I ?ll benefit from this opportunity to tell you a bit more about myself and why I am in Kraków right now.



I joined such a programme because for me it looked the easiest way to spend some time abroad, learn a foreign language and redefine in some way my future. Shortly before applying, I heard from other people that EVS is a great experience that helps you join European volunteers and try to make the world a better place in very different fields, such as unemployment, nature, education, disabilities?


In Spain I worked for some years as an English teacher. My job with teenagers and adults was fine, it was with children what I did not enjoy that much. When I found out about EVS, I decided to apply and take a break from work to do something different for a year. Considering the countries I have not visited yet, Poland looked a really nice location to develop an activity like this, and Cracow is a gigantic multicultural city with lots to offer.


After the arrival, which was very warm and friendly on everybody?s part, we started assisting in the primary school and kindergarten where our project ?Voice of the Voiceless? takes place, Open Future International School. The school is coordinated by Stowarzyszenie Krakowska Fabryka Talentów, where ‘A Walk Towards Art’ project is also implemented. This project allows children and teenagers from very different backgrounds to work together for a common purpose, as in the play ?Fiddler on a Roof?, performed in June 2015. Right at this moment I discovered the world of primary education and working with younger kids. In our project we are in charge of helping and entertaining children to make them more open and ready for the outside world. Since we are all international volunteers, they have to speak English to communicate with us while at the same time reinforcing the bilingual spirit of the educational centre.

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Thanks to this, I started liking working with small kids and forget about my bad experience in this context back in my country. I felt really satisfied after some time with the kids, when they started considering me one more person they should listen to and were happy about me accompanying them to any trip or activity they could have.

The teachers also seem really thankful every time we are able to offer a hand or propose different activities for the kid. Right now, I remember once when we thought of playing a ?flags game? with the colour blocks in the playroom, where they had to guess which country was each flag, or when we made a homemade water depurator for them to see how with a few stones and sand, dirty water can go back to its normal colour.


W ith EVS, I am acquiring valuable experience in the education field, which for sure will be useful for my personal and professional future. I discovered a new country for me, Poland, full of attractive and lively cities, more international residents than I thought in the beginning and a whole group of EVS friends to be kept forever.


Personally, it is also my first time living outside home, so I can obviously consider my project as my intensive course of housekeeping, cooking, shopping and related tasks ?. The aforementioned aspects, together with a few personal values such as friendship, sharing, caring about others, and so on, make me be more sure about who I am and who I would like to be.

Thanks a lot, EVS!!!!!