“A Dream Volunteer Vacation.”
Retired College Professor Lori Wedeking has served yearly in Poland since 2002 – on a total of 34 programs teaching conversational English. She says she’s drawn by the children, of course, but lists “so many other reasons” that make Poland a dream volunteer vacation. She shares her top four reasons for volunteering in Poland here:
Number One – 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 final night of my last program in Siedlce, one former student who was visiting came up and pulled me into a big hug saying, “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.
Number Two – The lodging is unmatched for comfort and beauty.
Our lodging, our home in Poland – Dom Pracy Twóczej Reymontówka, usually called just Reymontówka – is outstanding. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with flowers, trees and shrubs – providing an exquisite background for exhibiting a Polish art – wood folk carvings. The towering figures on the beautiful campus always delight and enchant me. As for the hospitality and meals at Reymontówka, I always silently chuckle when we complete the program evaluation and I come to the question: Is the food adequate? No the food is not “adequate” – it’s rightly described as plentiful and superb! Polish cuisine is flavorful, hearty and memorable, and I long for it as soon as I enter the plane to return home.
Number Three – Cultural experiences are abundant.
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.
Number Four – 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! I encourage you to experience this magical land and people yourself.
To learn more, visit our Poland Service Program webpage.