Article about my experience in the EVS

First of all I introduced myself, I’m Oriol García, I’m 26 years old and I’m originally from Barcelona, Spain. To explain my expectations, impressions, learning, my development, importance and the most important events, it is important to contextualize first.


One of the most important questions according to my point of view is to know the reason why an individual decides to change his course and embark on a new experience for the following months, in my case 11 months. The answer is simple, I just finished my university studies (Psychology) and I wanted to do something different before doing the master’s degree and dedicate myself to work during my next 40 years, apart from other personal reasons.


The next logical question that follows is ¿Why this project and this country and not another?. Initially I only had 3 criteries;

  1. I wanted a long project and finish before September of the following year.
  2. A country where survival was cheap with the salary received.
  3. An interesting project where I could perform and develop my skills while continuing to train.

Obviously this project came to me like a ring for my finger and it was also a country that had never been before and that caught my attention.

If we talk about my first impressions I remember perfectly my arrival in Sosnowiec at approximately 2 am, where I saw that my location looked super old and neglected surrounded by the same conditions. And to deny it, my first impression was “I do not know where I’ve gotten myself”. But it is quickly change in the first days to see the comfortable and charmy apartment, meet my colleagues, the strong and warm reception I got and feel integrated into the group from the first moment. Although the city did not look very nice in the beginning, it is loved and you learn to value over time, as well as being very well connected and with great and beautiful cities nearby.

As for the expectations were clear and these are both related to my development and my learning.

One of the main objectives was to improve my English and launch myself to practice it without fear and in this aspect I did’nt have another one here (in spite of being several Spaniards). Another was learning to live in an apartment with people unknown from other countries, ages, personalities and different cultures. In the same way as working as a team in the same school with the same common goal; collaborate and help as much as possible, feeling useful. To know myself better and, of course, to enjoy this new experience that was offered to me.

All expectations defined just before have the same relationship in my learning and development; It has been progressively fulfilled as I adapted and feeling more comfortable and knowing more about others.

I have to say that I can feel fortunate for the other volunteers with whom I have found who make it easy enough due to their personalities and the good general atmosphere that is breathed. And of course the organization and the school in which I find myself, where I feel very well-rounded and with the freedom to propose new ideas and have helped me in everything they could. For the other personal objectives, I myself was the one in charge of working with them to achieve them, and I am still working on it to maximize the results from here until the project ends.

To finish this article talk about the best lived events. Although of course there have also been bad experiences, the balance is generously moving towards positive ones. Many of them I can’t tell because they stay between us, so I feel so sorry for the readers. But to highlight are the coexistence, sharing our time and experiences and also the fact of being able to travel and visit other countries knowing more Europe due to our free days or vacations that we have. A part of many activities that can be done as linguistic exchanges, festivals, training camps … But it would not be fun if I explained everything … it is always better to live it and experience it for yourself.
So with my hand in my heart I invite you to carry out this similar experience in the country that is, and from then live an unforgettable experience and continue to grow and develop on a personal level.

“One Late night became Wild in Sosnowiec”

Sosnowiec is a city of Poland in the upper Silesian region. It extends by an area of ​​91 km², with 224 244  inhabitants, according to the census. It’s also the city that is hosting us during all our erasmus+ and Evs project.

I packed my bag and left my country Portugal , destination Poland,ready to leave a big adventure that i was sure that it would change my life forever.Born in Guinea-Bissau (West Africa), travelling abroad wasn’t new to me at all, have been in country such as:Senegal,gambia,Slovenia,Uganda,U.K,Italy,switzerland Cyprus,Greece, Northern Ireland and even Russia.
Fan of all cultures,ethnicities and religions i always wanted to experience and see our world from different perspective,(up- down,inside-outside,north-south,west-east), with all it’s true colours closely. Poland was to be no exception.

I´ arrived to a country where i didn’t knew much about, just some facts such as:  Pope John Paul II, that coincidentally or not,happens to visit my country of origin ,on 1994 one year just after i was born.

But because he´s visit means a lot to my recent independent country, after his visit there was a great high school built in his honour outskirt Bissau´s city. and the other  famous personality there i heard of was Lech Walesa (Polish first president after communism era and a Nobel prize winner 1983), these one i knew it from my high school , history class  II WW matters.Apart from that nothing else (ooh almost forgot Lewandowski).

Landed at Krakow airport, 5th of December 2018 ,my first impression of Sosnowiec wasn’t the best , but maybe because it was winter, really gray atmosphere, not only the sky but also the weather were so sad,almost as the british countryside and  villages, such a quiet place i thought ,no green spaces at all, old buildings all over, i found it charming though , because every old building usually has history behind, as ours for instance, it used to be a chocolate factory according to our coordinator.

Got to meet my new flat mates, they’re mostly italian and spanish, some with south American backgrounds (Colombian and Argentine),some are french and British. I was  the last one to join the project, the only one from Portugal also, more specifically a black portuguese.

My eyes were amazed with such a multicultural team , just europeans but yet diverse. Almost all of them has some degree in a some field , from  psychology , to biology, artists and me the sociologist.

Also different interests, personalities  and life experiences , all of these things impressed me so much.But unfortunately didn’t dive right into exploring it ride a way, my attention got caught for something else , the event COP 24 ,( that´ve spoke about it so exaustively already:).

Didn’t get sad or worried though , because after all we´ll have almost 1 year of cohabitation to know each other, plus  “when you wanna know someone do not ask them questions, because you´ll  only get fact and information instead leave with them so you’ll know them better” one of my favourite saying from my country of origin Guinea-Bissau. So i didn’t rush it. Just taking my time.

The incident that i´am about to tell you about took place on 15th of December center of the city, one lazy friday night made us unusually,(usually we go Katowice city to hang out) go out on exploring around, pubs and bars of the city. We end up entering in this one ,that will mark us for the rest our lives.

Attracted by the sound that could be heard on the middle of the street, we decided to change our course of coming back to home, we felt appeal to  go to check it . we were five (three girls and two boys). we entered three at once, one italian, one spanish and me,the black portuguese.we past few people standing outside, we enter without anyone objection or asking for our I.D.

As we were getting down the stairs the air start to get heavier and full of smoke ,the smell weren’t just from simple cigars or tobacco, anyone could tell, the music was obviously loud , it wasn’t completely full though.

My two male colleagues rushed to the toilet , while i was putting myself comfortable (it was a hell of a winter, around 22 degrees celsius outside, around 4:40 a.m earlier morning, you could imagine how cold it was).

As soon i put my hands into menu catalogue, someone start to shout i couldn´t listen clearly as the music was loud, but the voice were approaching and it was getting stronger and clearer “NO MOTHER FU#ING BLACK , ONLY WHITE , JUST FOR WHITE. Before i could say anything to my defense. i felt one elbow´s on my nose followed by a strong push towards the floor,my attempts to stand on my foot were smashed by punches and  kicks all at once repeatedly.From the few things i could remember, was seeing the waitress and the bar owner watching everything apathetically. Meanwhile my two spanish, female colleagues decided to enter probably to question why we´re taking so long, (as they didn´t even want to enter there in the first place, tired from  school´s activities they just wanted to reach bed).

when they came across the scene, while they were walking down the stairs trying to figure out what was happening,i ran towards the street, opposite to the way they´re coming, the loud music did not help our communication, instead it makes it hard for us to  understand each other, they ended up falling on the danger, the man (lately we end up knowing that he was security of the pub), that marcelesly beat me just for being black, didn´t spread them either,my last flash before closing the door were my colleagues head been smashed against a hood stairs and she passed out.

Outside the pub the people that we past entering were still there, i cried desperately for their help but in vain. The indifference and the coldness of those polish people that i received inside was the same outside. Not a single soul to care or wonder let’s alone to help.

I start panicking, couldn’t  even stand properly my legs were shaking so much , afraid to sit, got to be ready to ran for my life if the danger decided to erupt again, my breath sped up,i was coughing, crying my nose was running.

Somehow i manage to call police, from Katowice the neighbour city (because of the COP 24 i had more info from that city than my own city Sosnowiec. Again in vain the police didn´t help at all, instead he was making some nonsenses questions like  can you identify them? did you took some photos? while i was begging them to come. Meanwhile my others colleagues were still inside getting severely beaten by the security and his mates.

outside, i was going crazy, I completely forgot european emergency number 112, by then the panic and the fear has completely overpowered me. Just thinking on how to make it, I didn’t figured yet what was going on, while my mind was going through a short circuit trying to make sense on the situation, my body was feeling more exhausted and shaking continuously, one thing i knew from my heart  is that :“whatever was the situation i can´t lower the guard or else.

Finally the situation got controlled when the police ,the ambulance and our coordinator arrived. The police took forever to arrived and when they did , did´t entered right away,instead they´re decided to wait for some back up meanwhile they went to ask us for our I.D , and  carry on a shameful and poor performance that will remind me forever that the institutions are racist because the people that works there carry their prejudices and their lack of preparation inside it. while we were getting massacres with unnecessary questions and sermons of the kind “you should never been here, at this time of the night? what you´re searching here? no place for you ! o the attackers were escaping through the emergency door.

Worst than get insulted and viciously spanked for a racist and xenophobic reasons was seeing the perpetrators scaping freely.Maybe is not the end of it!

   We´re still waiting for justice to be served,they “ say it takes some time but its doesn’t  fail” but i say “see is believing “.






  .

” Let´s talk about COP 24, Katowice- Poland 2018 “

If you ask me to highlight one of my best experiences in Poland, COP 24  will be among them for sure.COP 24( 24 th conference ), was The UN climate summits, including global conferences, which aimed to know which actions for climate policies is negotiated and implemented. Although Poland  hosted them twice before in 2008(COP 14) in Poznań and in 2013 (COP 19) in Warsaw.And now in Katowice ,upersalesia region from 2th t0 15 of December 2018.

For me, this was the first time that i was “attending” such a event calibre.Even though i didn’t attend it officially ,once our organisation didn’t get invited, that didn’t stop me from participating, I express my opinion and also heards one´s opinions , get to know what s is being made by others in another’s world’s regions in order to make our planet a sustainable place to leave.

COP 24 was pretty diverse not only ethnically,religiously,linguistically , but also people from different backgrounds, professions (musicians,artists,dietitians, agricultures, students,youth workers and a lot more), wasn´t  only for intellectuals and specialist has i thought it would be. The event was very interesting , didn´t get bored at all, i enjoyed every moment while i was there, I even took the opportunity to expand my networking . In some point, according to some participants (that was attending it officially), “it was getting more productive outside than inside, once inside the governants was clinging to their own agenda, no one want to give in ,which was making it hard to get any further agreement “, what make all the sense when you think about it: The so called “outsiders” participants were composed mainly by ordinary people, teachers, farmers,youth workers, religious leaders,NGOs ( both nationals and internationals), with different areas of operation(sexual educators, businessman, gender equality advocators ,LgbtQ representatives, individual personalities who defends earth rights, basically all the civil society that elect those “insiders” who turns out to not represent us at all.(not going deep in it now ,subject for another day).

summing up: The main reason why the “outsiders” conference room was being more fruitful than our own leaders (insiders) is because among us , the audiences was so diverse that i believe that it represents almost all prism of the society and knowledge in general, so no one can talk in our behalf and in first person apart from us, plus we don’t owe any big capitalist (the bigs corporations, multinationals , “those powerfull 1%”)  obedience or favours therefore we can speak up our mind freely without fearing nothing. Almost as free as Greta Thunberg, the world youngest climate activist, (i won’t even say swedish girl, because when “things goes down” it won’t even matter which countries we´re from- countries is  amongs of thousand of others man artificial inventions to divide and conquer).So as someone from mankind i think it’s time to think seriously about reverse the process. How ? one would ask!

According to another special guest, Al Gore, we don´t lack of anything but our will to care it out, the same ultimate technology  that we use to deforest the Amazon and the dense basin of congo, can also be used other way round, the same education, studies and researches that we apply on extracting ,transforming and transporting minerals to feed ours futile lifestyle , the same efforts can be putted finally in finding alternatives , that are more enviro friendly.That include what we it and how it’s produced.

If the biggest capitalists are making it we should all try:)

If China can make it we will make it anyhow 🙂

   For those who still don´t know what it is about, or insist that “it’s all lies” ,here some concerning datas extracted from Al gore presentation:

  • Globally, floods and extreme rainfall events now occur four times more often than in 1999
  • The 2006-2010 drought turned 60% of syria´s fertile land into desert

* one of the reason for war in Syria.

  According to U.S department of defense,on October 13th 2014 “ climate change will likely lead to food and water shortage,

  pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources and destructions by natural disasters by natural disasters in across the globe.

  • The Arctic ocean has lost 95% percent of its oldest ice.
  • The north Pole has now experienced mid-winter heatwaves three years in a row (2016,2017,2018).
  • In july 2017 kuwait city experienced temperature up to 51º C , as consequences birds in the city died and felt from the sky from heat exposure.
  • In 7th , 2018 Sydney Australia temperature reached 47.3ºC , city hottest day in 80 years.
  • 28th of July 2017, Baghdad Iraq capital reached 51º C .The government had to declare a mandatory holiday to prevent people from working in the heat.
  • 2 th of june 2016, the Louvre museum moved artworks upstairs as floodwaters threatened the building.

I could go on and on but i think i made my point : “climate change is a medical emergency”.

Let´s some of our most powerful leaders denied the undeniable, after all, as  Wallace Stevens (1979-1955 American modernist poetry) would say : “After the final no, there comes a YES, and on that YES the future world depends”.

On arrival training in Warsaw Evs

On arrival training is a welcome training hold by national agency for all new Evs and Erasmus+ volunteers arriving to Poland, usually it last 1 week, (our was from 21-27 of january).

 One of the gold  is to introduce the new comers how life is in their new home, what is expected from them in the project,what are the available resources to reach it,and the most important (at least for me) is to build the bond among volunteers , this mean to widen your networking, this is why i applied for this project.

Meeting new people is not just about having fun,go to the pub but is also about share your experiences, your story and qui sait  find common ground for collaborations in one´s  future projects.

The on-arrival training is also for the participants to clear up every issues concerning to logistic part and manage the relation between hosting org,sending organisation and the participant.

During this one week the participants were invited to build their agenda and our own timetable concerning on “what we need to make our volunteer experience as good as possible?” from monday to Sunday we elaborate activities and implement it, we debate about hot topics now in europe  such as: immigrants and the refugees pros and cons; Gender equality more specifically , the women right in Polish society; we took the warsaw street´s to ask the residents what they think about some nationalities (what are the stereotype about people), it was pretty much revealing on how mainstream media influence our perception on each others.

Aside from that the participants went on to share some methods when it comes to non formal education, basically a peer teaching, which turn out to be very enrichant and productive, since we experience the same reality daily (at schools with pupils, or with youth in general), on top on that we belong to the same age group (so there’s actual no barrer just respect).

This one week was memorable as the participants get to know each others, builds some relationships that some of us will care for the rest of our lives .we explore the city of Warsaw had a tour guide, to explain the story although we all heard of it somewhere in our History class but now we Re the one making history, by positive i am sure . We also got a special surprise by our trainer, they brought the traditional dance group to show us almost all the folklore that build polish culture.

 As a participant the only thing i can say is that i’m looking forward for the mid-term training.

Polish folklore dance group , i forgot to tell you they involve us in :)= we weren’t´t  just spectators !!!

COP 24 and the ECOFEMINIST

The event cop 24 that took place in Katowice city (Poland) from 2th to 16th of December ,the city were flooded by people from all over the world and with different perspective about ” HOW WE CAN STOP THE CLIMATE CHANGE ?A lot of environmental activists, leaders (both religious and politians) and many more show up with only purpose #action time#.

One particulary group call my attention “THE ECOFEMINIST”.

According to the one of the member  the organisation that promptly explains me “ the ecofeminist see the oppression of women and the domination of the nature as interconnected; It’s also confronts issues of gender, race , class and nature.”

Instantly i feel related to the concept, because it tackle  all the problematic that still hunt our society.Our society still has big bias towards woman, Black people,made for and by capitalism and  has no respect to the nature whatsoever.

To understand more what they do, i´ve decided to spend that day with them, follow all the set up for the march, help with banners, flares and the graffitis with phrases like “#there´s no Planet B”, “save our world for “, “#future generation matters” and so many others flooded the streets of Katowice. We´re ready, as we starts to march more people were gettering and chanting on the top of their lungs , hoping our leaders could heard our prayers and take that in consideration.

we march from one of the point of the city to another,under the heavy polish winter,it goes on for more than 5 hours, side by side with the seniors  and youngsters as sixteen years old Greta Thunberg.Nor exhaustion or pressure from the security forces with their severe ways intimidate us.

After all we´re a peaceful group and disciplined rained among us. we knew why we came there, wouldn’t let anything distract us.It was also a opportunity for some fraternal cohabitation for one moment we forgot our differences,our problems and became unity for one cause, the streets and the main avenue were packing from people all over , no one complains for being pushed or touched , now i wonder why it can always like that?For once i saw the power of 99 coming together ,the  good atmosphere and civic spirit among us keeps us going on for miles.

we´d stop to listen some speeches, some physiological reinforcement, some would share snacks, to put some more energy , there were we unstoppable. Media from everywhere came to cover the event, interview some people about their thought on climate change and the nature the agreement that´was being discussed by our leaders inside the main room.

But the respond to that question were yet to come, and it let us everyone nervous and excited , the event was about to finish and there’s no agreement about our common future.some starts to fall into despair.Contrary to the pessimist feeling that start to dominate the crowd  ,among the ecofeminist this never seen faith,perhaps the right word would be conviction and optimist feeling that characterize the female being. And this astonished me so much and my it´s recovered my mood from the common wave of defeated that were taking over.

For some it wasn´t  no surprise at all , “once the mains sponsors of the event were the big mines explorers and multinationals of course they wouldn’t let anyone vote against they interest”, some stated.

As in PARIS agreement some big countries Like U.S.A and Israel were again blocking the negotiations, “our minister of environment did not come deliberately instead he rather to send some of his subordinate, because of his lack of conviction on the theories that prove climate change”- i heard from some israeli fellas.

 All those statements concerns me a lot and broke my heart, I could picture our world run by blind, deaf and mute individuals (No disrespect to people who suffer from the disabilities above mentioned, no doubt that they’d perform better than some of our leaders- just pure figurative meaning).With no respect to people opinion.

Back to  the ecofeminist, i appreciate every moment spent with them, all the learns and moment shared meant a lot to me.

After that journey, all my now on project and activities has some ecofeminist touch on it.

EVERYTHING SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE TILL IT’S DONE!!! NM

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