A few tears, a lot of laughter, brand new people, a glamorous capital, and an unforgettable experience… We don't know where to start explaining On-Arrival Training. We are very happy that we were able to fit so many memories into just 1 week.

In the heart of Poland.

On the first day of the training, we went to Łazienki Park, opposite the hostel where we stayed, with all the volunteers. The feature of this fascinating park is that it is the largest park in Warsaw. The other name of the park is Royal Park. The reason for this is that it was designed as a bath park for noble people in the 17th century. Well, even in our first hours in Warsaw, we started to learn something about Polish culture!

The main purpose of going to this park was to try to get to know each other in groups by walking. Even as a first impression, we have already started to like everyone very much. After gradually getting to know each other, we moved on to other parts of the training.

Just ask strangers!

On the second day of the training, we had a big task. We were going to go to the old town of the city and try to learn Polish culture from the locals by asking questions of Polish people. For this reason, they gave us titles based on different foundations. Nouran and I chose the title LGBTQ+ Community, while Keti’s group’s topic was traditions and religion. After going to the Old Town with our groups, we asked the Polish people the questions we prepared about our topics. The next day, we shared our answers with other groups and we all learned very valuable things that we did not know!

Warsaw was very valuable for all three of us. Just as I will always remember how the people I met here touched my life, I will also always cherish the memories I made with them. Warsaw was beautiful, but all these people and activities made it incredible!

Who is the best volunteer?

Every day we started with a little Polish language course and had some energizing and funny activities. We were divided into 2 groups and each member of the group competed against each other to prove that he was the best volunteer and it was so joyful.

Wednesday, all the groups shared their answers and results about the topics. The answers were so interesting and meaningful, also we got a lot of information about Christmas and New Year’s traditions in Poland.
After that each of us made a first page of our newspaper with the following heading: What do I do; A typical day; People I worked with; Highlights; Contacts and people; Positive moments with other people.
At the end of the day, we learned and sang one of the beautiful Polish songs.

Friday, the last day of our training, was a day full of different emotions

The next day we had a meeting with problem shooters, who also trained us very interestingly and effectively. We started the meeting with a quiz about volunteering and its components. During the quiz, we were also divided into 4 groups and gave each other a healthy competition.
After the quiz, we discussed all the questions one by one and got comprehensive answers to all the question marks in our heads. In addition, we had individual 15-minute meetings to discuss in more detail.
After the meeting, we finished the processing of our “newspaper first page” and each member of the group talked in detail about all the headlines.

Friday, the last day of our training, was a day full of different emotions as each one of us knows that it’s the end of that joyful and informative training, as usual, we started with some Polish language warm-up 🙂 then we had a tour outside and we were divided into groups, each group included 2 people. In this tour, every group discussed some different topics for example: (how to take care of physical health, spirituality, mental health…). It was very interesting to talk with a different person about each topic, because it allowed us to get different perspectives about every topic and also exchange our experiences about these topics, which was interesting and useful as well.

Discovering the beauty of Warsaw and Christmas vibes and also enjoy our time together as friends 🙂

After that tour, we went back to the hostel and we had another training, there were different cards with different pictures and we were asked to choose the card that we believed describes us more during the training period, then each one was asked to show the card to the whole group and explain how this card describes them. This part was very emotional and showed us what great connections were made between us although, a week ago we didn’t even know each other! But we were open and welcoming to get closer, make new friends, and learn from each other.
After the training ended we had plenty of time to rest and go out together, all of us to discover the beauty of Warsaw and Christmas vibes and also enjoy our time together as friends 🙂 we had so much fun and it was full of laughter and joy.

We are grateful to get the opportunity to join this training! To learn the meaning of solidarity and to connect as humans no matter the nationality, religion, or language, we were just humans with hearts, open minds, and souls full of love. We can’t wait for other opportunities like this to spread love and peace everywhere.

Article by Keti, Nouran and Firdevs
Volunteers of ESC project.
On-Arrival training for European Solidarity Corps volunteers from 04. 12. – 08. 12. 2023.