I’m Iria and I was the first one out of all the volunteers that are now here in International Bunder Polska that went to the on-arrival training. I also went by myself, so I really did not know what to expect. It turned out to be an incredible week, and even though it ended on Friday, I extended my stay until Sunday!

I arrived in Warsaw on Monday morning, October 23rd. It was a little bit tricky to find the entrance to the hostel where we would stay and the activities would take place, as it was behind a big building. Upon arriving, I saw two other girls with suitcases, who were also going to participate in the training, and we entered together. We were greeted with a big lunch and we started our activities in the afternoon. The first day was mainly about getting to know each other, explaining why we were volunteers and what we did and introducing what we were going to do for the week. I met the group, which consisted of about 20 volunteers from Türkiye, Georgia, Italy, Portugal, France, Ukraine, Egypt and Germany. There was also another girl from my country, Spain. Our coordinators, Joanna and Kasia, did an amazing job and were very focused on us having a good time and learning things.

Tuesday morning consisted of a little game made to teach us about how to cooperate together and work as a team. During the afternoon we prepared the next day’s project, which consisted of going around Warsaw on Wednesday morning and researching topics regarding the city and asking questions to locals. My group did interviews about what people wished for the future of Poland and how many languages they spoke, topics for which we got very different answers depending on the person’s age and ideas.

On Thursday we did different activities but my favorite was the last one, in which the coordinators laid down a bunch of different topics such as religion, health, traditions, politics or education  and asked us to discuss how our country was like for three of them. It was very interesting to learn about other people’s experience growing up in places so different to where I was from. 

That day we also were presented with important information about our ESC project, our health insurance, our rights… It continued on Friday morning, when the training ended. We said goodbye to our coordinators and most of us decided to stay until Saturday in the hostel since we had been given the choice. Me and some of the friends I made decided to make the most out of the day and we went to explore Warsaw. On Saturday, almost everyone left during the morning minus me and other 2 girls, since we wanted to do a little bit more tourism, and we left on Sunday morning after an amazing week.

The on arrival training was helpful, interesting and fun, but the best part was meeting the other volunteers. Sometimes it felt like an adult summer camp (a feeling which I loved!), but I mostly just loved connecting with other people that were doing the same thing as me, that had similar aspirations and ways of thinking. I learned so much from them and brought a lot of what I experienced with me to Kraków!

Article Iria,
Volunteers of ESC project.
On-Arrival training was for European Solidarity Corps volunteers from 23.11-27.11.2023