Pozdrowenia z Polska!

I’m Jack, I’m 23 and for the next 9 months I will be living in Kielce, Poland.

I was attracted to doing volunteering through EVS because this summer, I spent a month in New York City performing the research for my dissertation with a non-profit organisation called Project Rousseau. They support students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds across the United States by exposing them to cultural activities, promoting the values and benefits of personal volunteering, creating a stable relationship through a one-to-one mentoring programme and also providing academic support so that they might continue with higher education at universities. I witnessed firsthand the difference that volunteering can make for the lives of others, so I chose this position in Poland because by working for a volunteer centre, I can hopefully influence other people in this location to volunteer too. As well as presenting and discussing the culture and my experience of the UK, I am here with other volunteers from France, Portugal and Macedonia, so the idea that there is more to the world than Kielce is shared with high school students throughout the city.

I have moved here from London, where I lived for a year, and it is such a different experience in terms of attitude and ways of life. The population here is just over 200,000 and for the young people that reside here, it seems some of them leave and never return, whilst the others never leave at all. It is an interesting position that the EVS volunteers have, whereby we are trying to promote EVS as an option and suggest that there are so many global opportunities, while at the same time promoting this city and wanting to get people involved in local projects to improve Kielce. Because it certainly has its good points! Every time I have gone into a school so far, to talk about anything, the students are always attentive and want to hear what I have to say. We are also about to start weekly workshops under the name ‘Przystanek Mlodych’, or ‘Bus Stop for Youth’, where I’ll be coordinating communicative English workshops, and also a current affairs workshop, where ideas and opinions will hopefully be shared in a constructive manner to further improve local knowledge of everything both near and far.

As well as spending time in Kielce, I hope to visit as many other Polish cities as I can during this 9 month stay. As a group, the EVS volunteers just got back from Krakow, which I had actually visited two times before, but have such a love for the place, that I’m happy to go again and again. It helps that it’s only 2 hours away and a bus ride can cost less than £1 though! But besides from these trips, I’m hoping to get some kind of grasp on the Polish language whilst I’m here too (it’s tough) as well as work on my communication skills because I am the only one here with English as a first language. After the first month, though, I’ve had a great time, and I’m very much looking forward to the next 8! This weeks tasks range from promoting EVS in a local university, to travelling to a village 40 miles away to make an amateur horror film with young people there, so I don’t think I’m in danger of running out of new experiences any time soon!

Until next time,
Do widzenia!