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A great adventure ends…

Today I am finishing the volunteering that I started 8 months ago in the Waldorf school in Bielsko-Biala. It was really a great adventure, I met great people.

I have thanks to this volunteering discovered a new culture but also an alternative mode of education that I did not know. Become aware that the preservation of our environment is something essential, that we can no longer close our eyes, that we must act. So I had the chance to make, to talk about permaculture with a particular class from school, it was a very nice experience.

I have already had the chance to come on vacation to Poland. But thanks to this European volunteering I was able to live in Poland for several months, knowing that I was not alone in case of problems, which is very reassuring.

I was also able to discover the mountains near Bielsko-Biala (I always wanted to live near the mountains).

Unfortunately, I don’t know the names of the different mountains in Bielsko, but I manage to locate myself. I never had the chance to get lost. Once again by traversing the mountains it is possible to meet wonderful people. People who don’t have the same way of thinking as city dwellers, if I may say so.

The fact of doing this volunteering in a school, a high school more particularly, allowed me to see, to discuss with the teachers but also to be able to give some lessons, always under the watchful eye of the teacher. Previously becoming a teacher was one of my ambitions. I may be one day but I realized the complexity of this profession.

Valentin from France, volunteer in Stowarzyszenie Wolna Szkoła Waldorfska in Bielsko-Biała.

This project is co-founded by European Solidarity Corps

#EurpeanSolidarityCorps #ActiveWomanAssociation

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Ayshan in Poland

When I opened my laptop to start writing, then I realized it is the end. But a beginning of new adventures. When I first stepped into Poland, I felt a bit nervous for sure. But then I met with other volunteers in my first week. They helped me a lot in every way. Then my coordinator, Monika, from AWA made me feel less stressed. She helped me a lot along the way. On this photo you see volunteers visiting my school in a festival day.

Then I came to Tychy which a lot of people said oh it is not a good city, I hope you won’t get bored and stuff. But I absolutely loved Tychy. Such a quite, my taste city. I love nature. I am not saying it as it is not important. Nature is a big part of our lives. I was glad to be here. I met lots of great people such my neighbors. With my broken Polish, they understood me very well and we got communication amongst us going on. I will miss them as well.

My volunteer friends visiting Tychy.

Right down on this photo girls at school drew my day of look. I was super happy as you can see. Kids taught me a lot of new things starting from emotions.

Now, let me talk about my first day at Wolna Szkola Dzika. They welcomed me with a big ceremony and hug. Everybody gave me a hug. Kids were amazing. They got used to me so easily. My tutor, Ola, was a total helper and a great friend. I learned a lot from her, I spent my great time with her. About other teachers at school. They were great as they are.

I need to add a part about parents at our school. We were glad that they were open to meet up, have fun together. We were playing games or tasting local food in a restaurant. On this photo at the following, we were invited to one of parents’ house. We had such a great time together. Having a chat, eating, playing. Right after this moment, we spent time in a lake swimming. Yes, we were winter swimming. That was my first time, however it was worth everything. I am glad I had this experience.

Thank you for making me feel like home. Everybody I know here. I am leaving gladly with great moments.

End Of One Year Volunteering Experience

Hello, It’s Sefa from Turkey, I was a volunteer in Waldorf Free School in Bielsko Biala for one year. saying ” I was..” makes me feel bad now because being part of a Waldorf School was my dream, and here we are! end of the volunteering…

I don’t know where to start but I should definietly admit that it was one of the best experiences that I had. I was always dreaming of being a part of Waldorf Schools and I did it!

my dear school

at the beginning of my volunteering most of the things was a bit hard for me. different culture, differend people, a very hard language and a very very cold weather ( as I come from a hot country). but now I don’t even want to leave this school and this city even though terrible polish winter is coming, because I really love this school and the city, I had fun a lot with the students and teachers, I learned them a lot.

A Fancy Tree:)

Also; I should admit that these trees and lights one of the best things I saw in the winter, I fell in love Polish streets in winter, as I come from Turkey I don’t see such things like these trees in the streets. thats why I have tounsands of photos of these streets in my gallery:)

With kids in Waldorf:)

Spending time with the kids, learning the language and culture from their perpective and sharing my experiences with them…. I was always dreaming of it. for me the most beautiful side of this project was spending time with kids, because I worked with kids in Turkey too, but I always wanted to meet kids from other cultures too, especially from Waldorf, and I fulfilled my dream thanks to this project.

my dear friends.

I will never forget this moment and these friends… My volunteering project was not about just the School, It was more than that, I had the opportunity to get to know different cultures with my friends I met thanks to this project. I will miss you all guys…

Kaunas-Youth Exchange

as you can see I am in Lithuania with the people from different culture and country. This is another great side of being volunteer in AWA, Yes, You are coming to Poland as a volunteer but you can visit other countries and get a chance to know other cultures during your volunteering. also everything is covered by the National Agency for these kind of Youth Exchange and Training Programs..

Cantabria-Spain

I was in a training within Erasmus+ , and I went to Spain for the first time in my life, and the training was about mind and brain health, also as I am pschologist, this training project was a great opportunity for me. I learnt a lot from this training project. I had just 2 hours to decide if I will join this project or not, and I said Of Course!, I am so happy that I was part of this beautiful project

AWA

Thank you so much for everything AWA, I am so happy to be a part of you.

Do Zobaczenia!

#activewomenassociation

At the end of 4 Months in Poland

After spending 4 months in Poland as a volunteer, I finally finished my project. Looking back, it was a nice experience to be able to live in a different city, be in a different educational environment as well as the summer activities I have attended.

Katowice

Living in Katowice, it was change of scenery for me with various types of restaurants & markets, churches and some historical places. I tried to go out and explore, walk around, as much as possible to discover different things during my free time. Generally, being in a foreign country, everything more or less was very interesting from the beginning which was a good start for me. There were a lot of old buildings with different types of architecture styles that were worth to see. Generally, I had a nice time being in Katowice.

Montessori Education & English Project

As a volunteer I got a chance to be in an environment where rather than traditional approach to education, the school was focusing on Montessori Education. Students were more free to choose what they want to work on, have more outside activities as well as creative ones. I also got to participate in activities and events as well as got a chance to prepare an English project with the students about animals around the world. Working in such place, I believe I have learned many things.

For the rest of the summer, I was mostly in an English speaking camp where I got to interact and meet with a lot of young Polish people. It was a nice change for me to observe different types of ages about how they learn, and basically get to know them.

Overall, it was a nice and beneficial 4 months for me. I have learned a lot and gained a lot of experiences.

The last one in Poland

It’s time to say goodbye or “hasta luego” as it is in Spanish.

I have lived in Poland during four months and for me It was so powerfull I could learn more about the internal organisation of the NGOs and work in administration and financial tasks in. 

My experience with other volunteers was so good. I could learn more about diferente cultures and make friends in differents countries as Imane from Morocco, Islam from Algeria and Olena from Ukraine. And I can’t forget my deal AWA’s staff, that more than staff they were my Little family here to help me in some different situations. I would like mention Monika, Daga, Wiki, Ysaura and Gosia, thank you a lot for your work. 

During these months I could improve my English, live in foreign country and live alone abroad. I think this is an experience that all people have to try because I allow you be more Independence and grow up yourself. A part of that, all people must be try because our world needs us, we have to imporve it with small activities that al lof us we could do it. All counts or as a Spanish saying goes: every grain of sand counts.

Thank you a lot for this experience and see you son in Spain, I’m really going to miss you!

Cristina, Spain

It’s time to say goodbye

After 11 months in Poland, it’s time to say goodbye. I did it! When I came here in September I was scared, I wasn’t able to imagine that I would finish this. The beginning was hard, nobody was here, just me as a new volunteer, our coordinator left… But step by step people started comming and Monika (our new and lovely coordinator) arrived to our lifes to help us.


There were a lot of obstacles during this project, not everything is wonderful. Polish winter (and spring too), sharing a flat with a lot of people, not having enough money, being alone in a new country, cultural shock… It’s hard, but that’s life. Eventhough now I know this, I would repeat again.

I came here because of the school, I wanted to learn about Democratic Schools and I had the best time with kids, teachers ans mentors. I improved my teaching and personal skills and, now, I see completely different Ester. I’m really grateful to have the chance to meet them and I will miss them so much.

I’m also grateful for the people that I met here, it was hard at the beginning because all of us we were living far, but we manage to meet and to travel (in Poland and outside too!). Now I have more friends around the world and it’s amazing.


During the project we did a lot of trainings, but now I will go back home and I don’t have any training that can help me to deal with that. How will I manage it? I don’t know, it will take time I guess, but Poland will be always my second home.

Do zobaczenia!

Ester from Catalonia, volunteer in Wolna Szkoła Ursynów
This project is co-founded by European Solidarity Corps

EurpeanSolidarityCorps #ActiveWomanAssociation

My European solidarity corps program

Hello, it is Mohamed! As my program has come to an end, I just wanted to write my view of it, I would start by simply describing it as an eye-opening experience, but I will elaborate more on that so bear with me hahah!

I have always thought of learning more about different kinds of education, learning about education in Europe in general as it is no secret that European countries have gone so far in that, living in a whole new and different community from mine and seeing how I can manage and be in that…kind of pushing myself out of my comfort zone to do more and experience more, and discovering different environments and cultures.

I consider my time here fruitful because the way I see it, I achieved these goals mentioned above, moreover, I got to make new friends from all over the world and I do not see myself now as that stranger living in Poland as the people at my school really made it feel like being with my family, the support and help I got from the association too, especially Monika – my program coordinator and the best coordinator that a volunteer could ask for, she was and still the most helpful person for us in Poland – all of the new friends that our roads crossed in Poland and some left while others stayed. All of this made unforgettable memories that I will always cherish.

The amazing students at the school whom I became their student on many occasions while teaching them, they also taught me, the fun we had, cooking together, playing together, losing in chess to one of my smartest students…I got to laugh a lot at this because I do not really often lose in chess but those students were really amazing!

My flatmates with whom we shared many moments, situations, parties, and trips, and that life would’ve been incredibly hard if they hadn’t been there so I am thankful for them and for our time together.

The great people whom I met during my training in Slovenia, the amazing situations and traveling experience together, our long walks and discussions about life, philosophy, politics, and the future.

And now as I am preparing for my new adventure and the next chapter of my life I feel really content and happy about my time with each and everyone from my people in Europe and I want to tell them that it has been a pleasure and we shall be in touch.

Now, I just want to say that the people I met and the connections we had, they are really the highlight of my time here and I am glad that I got the opportunity to participate in such an amazing program. I truly believe that making those friendships are my real success story here…so keep it up and we shall meet again, mates!

Mohamed from Egypt, a volunteer in Wolna Szkola Ursynów.

This project is co-funded by the European solidarity corps.

#EuropeanSolidarityCorps

#activewomenassosiation

Living on a Kurkum Farm

Hi, I am Weronika. I come from Poland and I would like to share my story here. Two months ago my travel to Spain started. I moved out to Cretas, a small, adorable village with a magnificent mountain view. I lived in the place in which I could live in harmony with nature-Kurkum Farm.

Since a long time I wanted to live in a sustainable and concious community.
This safe, caring and inspiring environment gave me a lot of precious memories. Every week was different. At the begining I had to accomodate to new climate, place, people and language. It was a lot! However, I feel stronger, more resistant and flexible for changes now.

This project was not only a journey to meet people, cooperate together and create beautifull space around us ( which was immensely valuable) it was also a journey inside myself. I had a great opportunity to get to know myself better. It gave me a lot of peace and tranquility.

Everyday I could enjoy being surrounded by nature and admire astonishing nigth sky here. Beauty and special ambience of this place improved my life-style. I was practicing yoga and meditate. Thanks to that I feel more grounded and stable now, so I am healthier person. Moreover it was good place to work with emotions and learn non-violent communication. I had to communicate despite the differance in age, experiance and language.

We were constructing buildings from wood and stones and organizing events. I could learn how to cook traditional dishes. I can make tortilla di patatas. I might participate in workshops about permaculture, aromatherpy and ayurveda. I could dance, have fun and feel free. I taked care of garden, plants, animals and people. They were giving me back the best they could do. I will miss all this things.

I am so grateful for being part of this project and for meeting on my path all this people who accompanied, helped me and shared their stories. I feel sad now because I became a part of ‘Kurkum Family’. I think that piece of this place will stay in my heart. This adventure is going to the end, soon another begin. Nevertheless, acccording to Heraclitus sentence, ‘The Only Thing That is Constant is Change’.


Weronika, volunteer on a Kurkum Farm, Cretas


#EuSolidarityCorps
#ActiveWomanAssociation

Mission completed!

Almost 1 year passed and so many & different experiences appeared during my way! New people with new ideas and frames! We built all together new enviroments of sharing trust & love! The connections are unique and the moments as well!

For sure I discovered many & new parts of myself I realized and I observed from different perspectives a variety of topics as regards society or natural enviroment or education or mindfullness. I am sharing all those thoughts as a completely different human than when I came as first.

This volunteering project offered me chances to come more close to my dream- goal of meeting flexible learning enviroments around the world. At the same time it opened new horizons for the future!

Sometimes is not easy to put in words the feelings and the thoughts you already earn of such precious experiences!
Thank you for that opportunity!

Sofianna

Last day at school

At the end of June, the school finished and I had to say goodbye to all the amazing people I met there. It was an amazing day but hard as well. A lot of hugs, tears and laughs. I wrote a letter for them and I want to share it with you too, hope you like it: 

On the 13th of September, I started my adventure here at school. 9 months later is time to say goodbye. It was a long journey, like a roller coaster. There were good moments (really good ones) and hard ones. But all of them were significant and I learnt a lot every day I spent here with you. 

I came here to find answers, but I’m leaving with more questions. I look backward and I see a different Ester. At the beginning I was shy and scared, always observing and not understanding polish at all. Now I feel energetic, wild, crazy, asking and suggesting things to do. And surprisingly, I understand more polish than I was expecting!

Maybe you don’t know that, but I learnt a lot from you. First of all, you are the best polish teachers! I hope I will remember all the words that you taught me. But not only polish, you also taught me how to be wild, how to have fun, how to be honest, how to take care of each other…

In this place, I had the chance to be myself at 100%. No judgements, no bad-comments. At the end, I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes, to say no/stop or to cry (although it took me some time to realize that). Chodor was always saying, “This is a safe place” and it’s true. I hope you will remember this: This is a safe place, so be yourself, make mistakes, cry and laugh. 

The firsts months, I was lost here. Too much freedom for me. I didn’t know what to do. I was observing a lot: watching you playing, listening to your conversations… And I want to thank you for allowing me to be there. Because maybe it was weird to have a stranger in your school and watching you all the time. But you didn’t complain and it was really helpful to me. 

After this quite beginning, I started playing with you and making workshops. I will remember all of this:

I will remember how I was trying to learn the rules of the games with my translator. I will remember all the cooking workshops, the cakes and the popcorns. I will remember having fun during the English lessons with Łukasz. I will remember observing you playing Geoguess. I will remember the trip to Gorce Mountains (to be honest: I thought that you wanted to kill me. I was just a normal human and you had an incredible energy all the time). I will remember the chill moments in Plastyczna or in the dining room while listening music, painting mandalas or just having nice conversations. I will remember playing Djembes, the cups and singing Let it go, Lemont Tree, The Witcher song or We don’t talk about Bruno on repeat. 

I will also remember our Spanish workshops playing games, our music workshops and also the artistic ones. And, of course, the t-shirts workshop!

I have a lot of random memories on my mind and even though they seem stupid, I hope that they will make you smile when you will remember me, like: gumka-pomoc, the trip to Kacze Bagno, the sweet pasta and the pizza with ketchup, the board games night and the movie night, plastelina (with english accent, of course), Baranek Shawn, playing Virus for hours, the excursions to the forest and the breakfasts at 9am. 

I also had so much fun showing my culture to you, like hitting a lock for Christmas, eating 12 grapes for New Year’s Eve, the catalan chocolates, the book fair for the Catalan day and the human towers. Thank you for being respectful with my culture and for being interested. 

I look at all of you and a lot of memories come to my mind. With some of you I spend hours and hours talking and playing, with some others we just spent some moments (but special ones as well). Sometimes, just one hug or a high five was perfect for our communication. 

I have the feeling that I still have a lot of things to do here, but it’s time to say goodbye and to say thank you for all the moments.

There’s a sentence that I like that says: Education that impacts is not head to head, but heart to heart. This is Wolna Skoła. 

Dziękuję i do zobaczenia!

Ester from Catalonia, volunteer in Wolna Szkoła Ursynów

This project is co-founded by European Solidarity Corps

#EurpeanSolidarityCorps #ActiveWomanAssociation