World Around Us – EVS in YOUr Town
To support National Agencies of Erasmus + Programme and the Eurodesk network in organized events connected with the celebration of the 20 years of of European Voluntary Service, EFM has developed the project “World around us – EVS in YOUr town”, whose main objective was to include the wide promotion of European Voluntary Service and the Erasmus+ Programme in all regions of Poland.
“World around us – EVS in YOUr town” was a two years project that allowed youngsters from different countries to come to Poland and take advantage of an unforgettable experience! On the other hand, it also allowed numerous Polish youngsters to get to know, interact, speak and learn from them.
In a frame of the “World around us – EVS in YOUr town” project, we have included a total number of 12 young people from Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Spain, Finland and France in the implementation of 3, 5 and 6 months EVS activities in Kłodzko region, as well as the entire Poland, which gave the engaged youngsters the opportunity of alternative path to self-development.
- Girls 41,67%
- Boys 58,33%
- Between 18 and 25 years old 83,33%
- Between 26 and 30 years old 16,67%
Over the duration of the project and by the arrival of the EVS volunteers to our place we notice an interesting fact: they were here to develop themselves, learn more about NGO’s, know people from different places and cultures, but mostly to get a better understanding regarding their own future.
All project activities, regardless their duration, allowed the involved youth to develop language competences, break the interpersonal barriers and to learn about different cultures and customs. Young people with fewer opportunities who took part in our project received a unique chance of being in a international group (both at their activities and during their free time), for whom this was the first such experience in life. In addition, they were able to exchange views, experiences and skills, learning mutual respect for themselves and others.
But, what really happens during the project?
The daily life in an organisation can be quite surprising when you’re not used to it. Sometimes you’ll have a quiet and soft day and other times it seems like the day just went on a blink and you just stoped at the end. By being hosted as a volunteer in EFM, volunteers had the chance to experience all of it. From the office normal activities, to a seminar, a training, a school visit, an international day at the Museum, workshops at YouthMaSter Development Academy or to the promotion of Erasmus+ programme in a school. Of course, much of it depended on their willing and/or abilities.
Europejskie Forum Młodziezy, as an organization particularly experienced in the implementation of many EVS projects and cooperating with a large number of educational institutions, carried out the promotion of EVS and Erasmus+ Programme on a large scale, combined with free workshops in the field of intercultural issues and activities of the EU, as well as the impact of today’s media on public opinion in selected educational institutions throughout the whole Poland.
Together with the foreign volunteers hosted in the frame of our project we made contact with more than 40 educational institutions, which are cooperating with young people coming from different backgrounds and having different economic and financial situation.
These actions helped us to start a dialogue between the foreign volunteers, polish youth and the representatives of educational institutions in different regions of Poland. This allowed the the creation of special additional activities and/or youth clubs dedicated to intercultural issues of the EU, the impact of today’s media (especially Internet) on the views of young people in relation to migration and emigration, supporting them to build their own opinions, regardless of the media.
Every project brings us the possibility to explore new things, discover new realities, exchange different ideas and build something useful. Amongst other things, Volunteering (like almost everything in life) requires will, openness, resilience, and the projects are as successful as this elements will be in all the involved parts. At the end of “World around us – EVS in YOUr Town”, some volunteers found out more about themselves, others discovered what they want to do in the future, others what they definitely don’t want to do. Either way, we all grown and developed in our experience, learned with the mistakes, enriched our knowledge and endured in our strengths.
From the side of the volunteers, we will let you know better by their own words 🙂
- Rebecca Pomi
- Fernando Orozco Porras
- Joshua Rühle
- Lindsay Slark
- Mercedes Green
- Daniel Jones
- Raphaël Soulard
- Elisa Kaarina
- Simone Schirru
- Thelma Makosa
- Dario Sette
- Julien Garnier
I will remember my experience here in Poland and I will carry with me what I have learnt and how I have changed. Often, it’s not until you have time to reflect and look back on what you’ve done that you begin to truly understand the significance that events or experiences have in constructing who you are. Life is a constant learning experience, it is not a static entity. For me, EVS has undoubtedly played a vital role in my learning experience of life.”
“[…] I arrived in Poland in the beginning of September in Byztrzyca Klodzka, a small village in the south of Poland, for seven months. I use to live there with other volunteers from all around Europe and other countries in a small melting pot, with people discovering others and their culture, from the first to the last day. Discover and talk to each other, cook, eat, play, travel or simply watch movies together was a daily life experience. It’s a good way to get to be close to each other, with living the same experiences and having the same feelings about it.
I worked here in Poland mostly with students from middle school and high school. I participated to work for a youth camp – YouthMaster – going with non-formal education. We were a group of few volunteers and workers working in it, organising workshops and games with students, spending time with them, having conversations. When I think about it I would define it with I think the perfect word: exchange. Students gave to us as much as we gave to them, we were learning from each other in a relax atmosphere, just in purpose to exchange. I worked as well in a school, supporting English teacher, planning workshops and conversations classes, talking with students. I thank a lot the teachers who made me feel welcomed in this school and who let me do a lot there. I thank the students as well, for their kindness and their willing to work and talk with me; I am truly grateful for the time I spent there. Talking about my time here in Poland means also talking about travel. I had a lot of time spending in travels, going in the smallest village in Poland countryside as well as going in big cities around East of Europe. Travels made me realise how much Poland is beautiful, seeing unexpected beautiful places, catching the moment that makes it wonderful. I discovered a lot not only Poland but also the countries around it, doing a tour of capital cities, visiting Berlin, Vienna, Bratislava, Prague… This experience was unique, an experience of living going on in every moments for seven months. I address a big thank you to all people who was part of it and to all volunteers who used to live with me and who made this experience great.”
“[…] A small portion of my time was also dedicated to preparing for the biweekly English conversation classes that I delivered for one month with a member of the local community. The preparation was not very demanding time as we agreed on the learning points for the upcoming session at the end of each session. Hence, I used this time to find the appropriate resources and prepare. I had to prepare materials and converse with her about her aims and what she felt she could handle. We made a good team when working towards short-term goals as part of a long-term goal. It was rewarding to be able to see her progress as the sessions progressed.
This experience remains as one of my highlights of this project. These sessions were very enjoyable, insightful and taught me a lot. It was an interesting learning curve for me. It was during these sessions that I learnt more about Polish food, culture and destinations. These sessions enabled an intercultural exchange to occur on a regular basis.[…]
[…] For me, my time in the office did not feel very productive as it felt as though there was no need for me to be there. There were moments when I had other small activities/tasks (proofreading, creating a presentation, selecting energisers in the weeks we had youthMAster) to complete. However, when comparing the proportion of time spent on those tasks and the moments without tasks, more time was spent without tasks. I had hoped that as I would be volunteering in a smaller NGO, there would be plenty of opportunities to get involved in various activities. I had hoped that I would not only learn more but do more and help more. It was because of this, the office was the most frustrating part of my project as I felt there was no need for my presence as a volunteer. It was where I felt most in limbo, lost and useless.
On the contrary, a more interesting part of the office was the Polish lessons. I had polish lessons twice a week if it was possible. The lessons covered some topics that provided me with the baseline vocabulary to navigate and cope with the daily life as a volunteer. The lessons were engaging and interesting. They helped to bridge the gap between myself and the new environment I was in. Also, being located in a village and volunteering in the neighbouring town, it was imperative to at least have a minimal understanding or ability to speak some Polish. Whilst my ability to speak polish is still very limited, it was an interesting experience to learn new words and utilise consonants that are not particularly present in the English language.
The final and unexpected part of my project was the 2 week – summer camp for primary school children. The majority were aged 7-9yr/old. It enjoyable to play and be creative with them. The school had planned different activities for each day e.g. the playground, swimming, pool, mini Euroland, the fortress, tunnels, McDonald’s etc. Their ability to find joy in the smallest of things was nice to see. I was impressed by their ability to use technology at such a young age and how this was a tool for communication in such a setting. It was also a nice experience to work with another volunteer from a different nationality. We worked well with each other. Whilst it was an experience to have and I tried to give my best ultimately, had I known, I would not have wished to participate in a project of this nature. This only re-confirmed that my interest is with young people and not children.[…]
[…] My main motivation for venturing here was purely the project itself. It was to my surprise when the tables turned. My project had not been what I had hoped. I was struggling to understand my purpose for being here. However, like a seesaw, as I was weighed down by this, day-by-day I witnessed my EVS experience becoming a love-letter to the awe-inspiring sense of humanity, selflessness and passion in the volunteers around me. It was in this moment I saw service translating into joy. I found inspiration.[…]”