Lori Wedeking has served in Poland since 2002 – on a total of 34 programs to date. She’s drawn by the children, of course, but describes other reasons that bring her back year after year, to teach conversational English. Here are her top four reasons for volunteering in Poland:
#1 – The work of teaching English is both real and needed.
Many young adults in Poland find that fluent English skills are a necessary qualification for job entry. The host organization – the county of Siedlce – greatly values its partnership with Global Volunteers. Officials associated with the county government tell us that the amount of instruction we do in two weeks during a language camp is equivalent to 3-4 months of classes at school, because at school English classes may be offered only once or twice a week, whereas at language camp volunteers conduct four lessons every day. Additionally, volunteers constantly engage the campers in informal conversation, helping them immensely to practice their listening and speaking abilities.
On the last night I was at Reymontówka this year, one former student came up to me and pulled me into a hug and said, “I will always remember my lessons with you.” Another camper came up to me and thanked me for coming to language camps every year for the past ten years. As a volunteer in Poland, you will experience much gratitude from young, eager students. This is definitely what makes me keep going back year after year.
#2 – The lodging is comfortable and beautiful.
The place where we stay – Dom Pracy Twóczej Reymontówka, usually called just Reymontówka – is both comfortable and beautiful. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with flowers and provide a place for exhibiting a Polish art – wood carving. I always silently laugh when we complete the program evaluation and I come to the question: Is the food adequate? No the food is not adequate – it should rightly be described as plentiful and superb!
#3 – Volunteers are provided abundant opportunities for cultural experiences.
Volunteers in Poland have ample opportunity to participate in cultural experiences. When in Poland for the May program – during which volunteers teach in nearby schools – I have had the opportunity to enjoy the Majówka Festival held at Reymontówka. Majówka brings dancers, musicians, and all kinds of artists right to Reymontówka. During a stay in May, I have also enjoyed events such as piano recitals given by music students from the University of Warsaw or the elementary students’ poetry recitation contest.
During the language camps we are always offered a cultural afternoon trip. These trips have varied from travel to the charming town of Kazimierz Dolny to seeing the El Greco painting held by a museum in Siedlce. During free weekends one can easily travel to destinations such as Warsaw or Kraków and experience more of Polish culture. As a volunteer in Poland, I have been able to learn so much about the Polish culture and people.
#4 – Poland is a safe location for volunteering.
We are treated to a highly skilled team leader who assists volunteers to have a successful experience. Safe water is readily available. The food is prepared to the high sanitary standards required by the European Union. The host ensures transportation to teaching sites is both safe and comfortable.
There are so many reasons to volunteer in Poland! Which is why Lori keeps going back each summer.
If you want these kinds of experiences for yourself, try a program in Poland. To learn more, visit our Poland page.