On-Arrival Training in Warsaw of Dylan, Fabian and Theo, 2019


The on-arrival training started for us (Dylan, Fabian and Theo) on a Monday morning. We stayed the whole week in Agrykola hostel in Warsaw, which is the on-arrival hostel for all the volunteers from Poland. In this week 22 volunteers from all over Poland came together for 6 days to take part in the on-arrival Training. It is to say that their countries of origin are distributed all over Europe, from Spain, France, Germany over Ukraine, Georgia and more.

The usual day started around 8:30 with the breakfast, after that the workshops were held. These workshops were led by two trainers, which created these workshops according to our interests and needs, thus every training has its own focus depending on the volunteers. In our case we had to write down all our questions concerning the next month and out of these questions the trainers modelled the topics and tasks of this week. Most of the time we dealt with the topics in small groups and in a non-formal way. For example, to find out more about the polish culture we had to do interviews with locals and afterwards present them to the group. The way of presentation was supposed to be a creative one, so we had some films, quizzes and even card tricks as a way of presenting a topic. Every group told their own stories due to the questions which were made clear in the beginning by the participants of the groups, according to their field of interest and were supposed to make the polish culture understandable for everybody. It is quite challenging to work well in a group with people you know for 1 week, thus the coordinators had to strengthen the team building process by playing some ice breakers with us volunteers. For example, passing the hostel corridor by only touching a piece of paper, under the condition that there are only 29 pieces for the hole group… These games helped us first of all to get to know each other and of course improved the way we worked together. Which was also important for choosing the perfect bar/club for everyone in the evening. Due to the fact, that the sessions were ending at 18:00 the whole evening is up to the volunteers and we had the pleasure to discover all the different places and amazing bars and clubs of Warsaw. Especially the region around Nowy Swiat is very recommendable.

But there were also two activities after the dinner organised by the trainers, at Tuesday it was a guided tour through the city centre and the other one is a surprise which is connected with old polish culture. We don’t want to spoil here any information though, so just wait for it and try it by your own.

But back to the normal training-day at Agrykola, which was departed in the main sessions from 9:30-13:00 and 15:00-18:00, including 2 breaks and a lot of nice food. Our topics were very different, from polish culture over polish language, feelings connected with a cultural shock, to problems which you must face during the ESC, our rights and obligations and much more.

Every topic was brought to us in a different way, for example we learned more about our rights and obligations through a quiz and the answers from the trainers. Some groups showed us the different problems and their solutions while being abroad as a theatre. Furthermore, we learned more about polish language through a self-made memory game. By the story of a superhero who had to fight against the evil powers of the Cultural Shock we gathered ideas how to deal with this phenomenon. And especially these non-formal ways of education helped us a lot to remember the tips and tricks for good. So, this was the first source where we got a lot of interesting information for our future.

Another source were the other volunteers, which had experienced other situations, been longer in Poland or are simply older than us and could give us a bunch of information for our stay here. In addition, it was a great meeting because all the volunteers were out of whole Poland and if you found some friends there you are welcome in many very interesting cities all over Poland and the world.



In the end we can say,  that the on-arrival training was a very important and interesting experience and even better than we expected it to be. Particularly to meet all the new people, getting a big bunch of information about a lot of topics from the trainers and the volunteers, improving our polish skills a little bit, getting to know Warszawa(how its originally called in Poland) and learning more about ourselves, ending in heading back to Krakow with a totally new mindset.


So, for everyone who is going to face the on-arrival training in the future, just enjoy the week and try to get as much as possible out of it.


Beginning a new adventure- welcome to Poland Part 1

Polish adventure

The day before the 01.09.2019 was filled with saying goodbye to friends, family and my beloved cat. It’s an almost frightening feeling before one takes a trip far away and this time not for one or two weeks, but for ten whole months. Not knowing who you are going to meet, if you will like what you are going to do or if you will get along with your flatmates. The only certain feeling is the feeling of farewell and a tension in the air which seems to swallow every thought you think, while it is laying its heavy hands around your throat making it hard to speak. When I saw the flashing green color of the bus coming into the station I knew, now something whole new is going to start. Something I never experienced, something I never felt. Though frightened I was ready for it.

Every step I had to take to get into the bus, not looking back because that would just make the goodbye harder, brought me nearer to my destination. September the first, 2019 was the day when I arrived. As I got out of the bus the warm morning air filled my lungs. I felt like a truck hit me due to sleep deprivation and the lack of possibilities to take a shower or brush your teeth. Not my proudest moment, I got to admit, but I was relieved to have managed to get to Krakow in time and at the right place. After a short time of waiting Ania arrived to pick me up. Ania is actually Anna but not Asia and the other Ania is someone whole different. Good that at least Dagmara stayed Dagmara, but we will get later into that.

The flat has two rooms, somewhat like a corridor and a separated toilette, which is absolutely handy when you live together with some more people. Ania directly directed me into the single bedroom because we have the smallest flat which means, that instead of the usual four people only three going to live in here. By offering, that I don’t need a single room and gladly take the shared bedroom, she replied that my chivalry is appreciated but there are coming two girls into my flat, which are going to share rooms together, thus it is not possible for me to go into that shared bedroom. What I must admit is, that I do not have a problem with that either, because I never had a king-sized bed and I conquered it immediately.

My French flatmate, Emelyn, arrived maybe ten minutes after I entered the flat and after getting to know each other we decided to take a trip into the city center. I did not know much about Poland and its cities, besides that Krakow is supposed to be one of the most beautiful ones and holy cow they were right. The marketplace is out of that world with its museum which lays underneath the place and its humongous church in one side and uncountable restaurants. Everywhere are horse carts and people who wear traditional clothing, while dozens of pidgeon’s take flight, when being chased by a dog. Going on you cannot miss the Wawel-castle which is in that city. It is a stunning complex of a church, several towers and meadows. At its feet stands the statue of the wawel dragon which spites real fire every five minutes. It might seem really special right now, but the fact that you are waiting for five minutes to see a flame which lasts not even one minute dulls the whole attraction to the amount that you would rather watch a documentation about the fantastic world of nightcrawlers and their way of mating than waiting for that flame. Though it is iconic, thus a must see.

After so much sightseeing, the call of our beds overwhelmed us, falling into this soft piece of heaven with the intention to never leave it again.

After this nap the last but most important challenge of the day was supposed to be faced. Grocery and cooking. Sure, grocery sounds easy but heck you ever had to do some shopping in a language you don’t understand with a currency you usually not use? To figure out that makaron have nothing to do with the delightful French biscuits but are the polish word for noodles took us a while. The search for tomato sauce therefore was faster. In the end the first meal in our flat was noodles with tomato sauce, a classic. Luckily the volunteers before us left some seasonings so we had a filling meal, though we have to work on the taste.