Reflections on Teaching Program in Poland
A journal by Norina, a Poland Global Volunteer.
I’ve served on the Global Volunteers summer camp teaching program in Poland several times. I’ll continue to volunteer at Reymontowka, in a lovely pastoral setting in Siedlce, east of Warsaw, and at Zakopane, in the beautiful Tatra mountains south of Kraków. While the food and accommodations at both sites are excellent, it is the all encompassing welcoming, warmth, enthusiasm, and professionalism of the Polish people that draw me back. Those participating in these camp programs – ranging from the county governor, to director Marek Błaszczyk and Global Volunteers country manager, Dorota Wierzbicka, Reymontowka staff, counselors, and campers – all are engaged in making this exceptional teaching program in Poland a success.
The incredible quantity and quality of teaching materials, equipment and games available in the resource room and the opportunity to interact with fellow volunteers in the sharing of ideas and development of lessons, make teaching in Poland informative and fun.
For us older volunteers, it is also an opportunity to experience vicariously the joy and energy of the campers in their evening activities. Teaching in Poland as a volunteer is truly a rewarding experience in cultural immersion and sharing!
The Poland volunteer program integrates practical activities in English to accelerate learning. For instance, the volunteers are enlightened about Poland with a performance of the stately and regal Polonaise by the campers. We also received a presentation on the history, geography, and culture of Poland, with both Polish and English narration by campers. Their formal program ended with a heartfelt chorus of the Polish national anthem.
We volunteers were also quizzed to see how much we had learned from the presentation, how articulate we were at repeating Polish tongue twisters and how many of the top 10 traditional Polish dishes we could name. Thankfully, with a lot of assistance, we didn’t embarrass ourselves too much! The evening ended when the camp staff treated us to a traditional offering of bread, lard, and pickles (minus the usual vodka!) It was with such energy, joy, and goodwill that we ended another wonderful day of sharing, learning and teaching in Poland.