Are you searching for a meaningful yet reassuring volunteer opportunity? Ease into a service trip to Poland! Global Volunteers engages individuals of every generation, ethnicity and walk of life on our Poland Service Program to help teach conversational English to students – and no previous teaching experience is necessary! These students crave the chance to learn American English from native speakers. So even if you’ve never taught, your native English expertise is a resource to help students enhance their future opportunities.
This first-hand story is by Ken, a Poland Global Volunteer, who, like many of our volunteers, decided to join the Poland program with no previous teaching experience. As you read on, you’ll realize that although Ken took a chance by stepping outside of his comfort zone, he returned home with a new perspective, life-long friendships, and memories he’ll likely remember forever.
Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone and Building Confidence
My service trip to Poland was quite out of my comfort zone. Most of the time, I’m less than comfortable speaking to a group of people I don’t know. I’m not a teacher. I’m not college educated. I don’t have any children. I’ve never traveled outside the states alone, and finally, I didn’t know a word of Polish before this experience. And despite Iwona’s best efforts, I still know very few! (Iwona used to be a student at the Poland English summer camp, but now she teaches Polish lessons to the volunteers.)
Add to all of this, as I met my fellow volunteer teammates, I learned that virtually all of them had completed many assignments with Global Volunteers. Several had even been to the Poland English summer camp many times in the past. To say I was frightened would be an understatement.
There were 61 children at the camp. I was assigned to teach English to a group of eight. As I met “my” kids on the first day of class, my anxiety, fear and feeling of “I cannot do this” began to melt away. Don’t get me wrong, I continued to fret about lesson plans… But, by the end of the first day with those eight kids, I knew they were going to give and teach me just as much (if not, more) as I did them.
Over the next two weeks, the other volunteers along with Dorota and Iwona supported me more than I could have hoped.
A Lesson Worth Learning Over and Over
I’ve completed a couple of marathons. And I can tell you that it took far more courage to stay at camp that first day than it did to complete a marathon. However, in just two short weeks, I grew to care about my students, forged what I hope will be long friendships with other volunteers, and learned I can do anything. I just have to “jump”. A lesson worth learning over and over again, even at age 58.
Photos from Ken’s Service Trip to Poland:
Step outside of your comfort zone and just “jump”!
Feeling inspired? Step outside of your comfort zone and just “jump” – as Ken would say! Visit our Volunteer in Poland page or chat online with a Poland Program Specialist to learn more about upcoming service opportunities.