Applications for LE Poland are now OPEN!
Program Dates: June 23 - July 26
Orientation: June 23-28
Mid-Point: July 10-12
Closing: July 25-26
- Location: Bieszczady, Tarnów, and Jaslo
- Language Requirement: None
- Setting: Rural
- Duration: 5 weeks
- Volunteers: 11-13
- Living Conditions: Modern with the occasional exception of Wi-Fi/Internet connection
The program will begin with a four-day orientation in Krakow, the political, business, and cultural center of Poland. Orientation will train volunteers for teaching and living in their host communities and introduce volunteers to Polish culture. We will discuss teaching strategies and be able to explore all that Krakow has to offer before splitting up to meet our host families in Bieszczady, Tarnow, and Jaslo. In the past, orientation has included group trips to the old town, Krakow cathedral, Waweł castle, and a visit to the seven-hundred-year-old Wieliczka Salt Mines. Although host families will provide for volunteers’ housing and food, volunteers themselves are responsible for the costs of orientation, including a hostel stay (about $15-$20 per night, including breakfast), dining, and group excursions.
Once volunteers split up to meet their host families, they will begin teaching. Host families will pick volunteers up directly from the train station or bus station. While living in their host communities, volunteers’ expenses will be minimized, as transportation, food, and housing will all be provided by volunteers’ host families.
After two weeks of teaching, volunteers will reconvene in Zakopane for midpoint break. During this time, we will share successful teaching strategies and reflect on our time in our host communities.
After midpoint break, volunteers will return to their host families for the remaining two weeks of teaching. The program will then conclude with our closing ceremony in Krakow, where volunteers will once again have the opportunity to reconnect and reflect on their experiences teaching and living in their host communities and their experience with LE as a whole.
THE IDEAL VOLUNTEER
- Is service-oriented and excited about making a difference in their host community.
- Is adaptable, flexible, and ready to take on unexpected challenges.
- Is independent and responsible.
- Is open-minded and curious about Polish culture.
- Is passionate about teaching and language education.
Most volunteers with the Poland program will be placed in rural villages. The weather during the program will vary from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Polish summers tend to be fairly hot, so volunteers should be prepared for warm weather. Volunteers living in Polish villages will be staying with host families with fairly modern conditions. Amenities will vary, but host families will always have basic amenities like running water. Some host families may not speak English, but they will still be excited about forming a bond with their volunteer! Host communities in Poland are fairly spread out, and volunteers may be several hours away from one another. For midpoint break, host families will drive volunteers to the closest bus station to meet up in Zakopane. In their free time, volunteers are typically given the opportunity to interact with their host families, learn about Polish culture, and explore and give back to their host community. Volunteers should be proactive to take advantage of the opportunity of living in their host community and actively try to learn about their community’s culture. This includes spending time with host siblings and arranging events outside of the classroom with students. Host families treat volunteers like part of the family and will be very excited to show their volunteer around the area. Most host families will be practicing Catholics and will attend Mass on Sunday mornings. Polish home-cooked meals typically consist of soup, meat, potatoes, and salad. Accommodations for vegetarians can be made.
Teaching conditions in Poland vary considerably. Volunteers in Poland teach in schools, community centers, and summer camps. All students will be on summer break. Supplies and amenities vary greatly, but most classrooms are fairly modern. Volunteers will usually be provided with a chalkboard and chalk and a white board, a projector, and markers. Students’ ages also vary greatly. Volunteers will be teaching preschoolers, primary school students, or high school students. English level also varies. Some students may only have a very basic grasp on the English language, while other students may be at a more intermediate level.
SOME AWESOME THINGS ABOUT POLAND
- Poland is one of LE’s most developed and thriving programs!
- Host families are very hospitable and treat volunteers like part of their families.
- Polish Lody (all-natural ice cream) is an international foodie craze and widely regarded as the best ice cream in the world.
- Poland is a great place to travel for history buffs! Volunteers will get to learn about Eastern European, Cold War, and Communist history.
- Volunteers will get to learn about Polish culture in one of the oldest cities in Europe.
MEET YOUR PROGRAM DIRECTOR, CAROLINE!
Caroline Costello is excited to return to LE as your Program Director for Poland PY 2020! Caroline is originally from New Jersey but is now in her second year studying Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University. She loved volunteering in China last year and is passionate about global politics, development, and education. Aside from travel and language learning, Caroline also enjoys reading and playing the guitar. She can't wait to embark on another adventure with LE this summer!
Interested applicants can email Caroline at firstname.lastname@example.org