My name is Xabier and I was one of the lucky guys who took part in a EVS project during 2017.
I am 23 years old and I am Spanish, being more specific, from an amazing and not too much known region by foreigners called Galicia, in the north-west of Spain.
After my studies and six months working in Vigo (Galicia), I decided to look for something new far from my home city and European Voluntary Service came to my mind as I had found some information about one year ago and which basically was going abroad with everything paid!
I started my search with several difficulties. I didn´t know very well how the process worked, I didn´t know why some projects had written “Approved Project” as a kind of advertising and I wanted to start as soon as possible meanwhile most of them were looking for someone to start in 3,4,5 or even 8 months later.
After 1 month, I discover We green it! project. It was a two backgrounds project as there was an educational part with autistic kids and an ecological part based on promoting recycling and green life-style in city´s inhabitants. The project was also for 6 months so at the beginning was a very good length as I would finish on the beginning of September (Big mistake! Too short) and it was in Kraków, which really impressed me when I visited it as a tourist. And, last but not least important thing, they were looking for someone to start as soon as possible.
From my applying moment, everything ran out so fast (Of course, right now, as in those days I was eager to get an answer) and after one week I was selected and one week later I was flying to Kraków!
With everything dealed at my arrival, I didn´t have to worry about, flat, transport or being picked up from the airport, my coordinator or her workmates were always there.
In the school, activities were mainly based on assisting teachers with the goal of providing students with a more personalised and focused education. To be honest, I really hope our students in Centrum of Autism have developed their selves more than the last year’s average. Most of the students didn´t speak Polish at all so it was a good motivation to, at least, learn some Polish. Instead of, most of the teachers spoke or understood English so it was a much more easier communication.
Green project part was developed during the whole six months but we specially focused on in the last months, when school was on holidays and working load was smaller. We were lucky as our organization is very active in this aspect and we attendanced several workshops as visiting headquarters of Kraków recycling company, food, clothes or cosmetics wasting in the current society, food sharing concept and we even went to a presentation of an international artist who uses recycled materials to create pieces of art. Beside this attendance to workshops, we also organised some oriented to kindergarten kids (6-9 years old) trying to introduce them how human activities are affecting environment and what we can do to help through recycling.
But EVS is not only volunteering, you have also time to many other things. I had the opportunity to assist to a Polish course to helped me a lot to communicate a bit with my pupils and ask in daily life simple things (Mrs. D is a great teacher!), meeting such an amazing people from many countries: Bulgaria, France, Ukraine, Portugal, Moldova, Poland, Germany, Italy, Romany, Tunisia and of course Spain.
Besides of, Kraków is such an amazging city. With a small but precious historical center, it is full of people, and not only tourist. One of the advantages I found is that Polish people also likes to go to the city center for their free time so streets are always full of life and spectacles. Cultural life is continuous and different so you always have the chance to go somewhere and enjoy any concert, exposition or cultural exchange meeting. Furthermore, you can always go to one of the several Jazz music clubs, We are in the city of the Jazz!
Zakrzówek´s lake. An ancient mine reconverted into a lake 15 minutes away from the city center.
Do you still doubt whether to go for an EVS? C’mon! Take advantage of this fabulous project and if you have any doubt you can ask me.