Applications for Croatia PY23 Closed!
Program Dates: June 20 - August 6
June 20th - 25th
July 14th - 16th
- Location: Koprivnica-Krizevci county region (inland); Zadar county region (coastal)
- Language Requirement: None
- Setting: Rural and small town
- Duration: 6.5 weeks
- Volunteers: 7-10
- Living Conditions: Modern
The program will kick off with a five-day orientation in Split, the largest city on the Croatian coast of Dalmatia. During orientation volunteers will be introduced to the vibrancy of Eastern European culture and discuss teaching strategies with the Program Director and other volunteers. While the purpose of orientation remains ensuring that volunteers familiarise themselves with the most effective and appropriate teaching practices, there is ample time built in to explore this incredible city. Some highlights of orientation in Split include exploring Diocletian's Palace, relaxing on the beautiful beaches, and taking a day trip to the local island of Hvar.
After orientation, volunteers will depart to their teaching location, where they will teach for three weeks. After three weeks, the group will be reconvening for a quick weekend trip in the country’s capital, Zagreb. In Zagreb, volunteers will walk through the historic city and visit places like the Museum of Broken Relationships and Tunnel Grič, while undoubtedly planning their return to this unique country. During this midpoint break, volunteers will have the opportunity to swap stories and best teaching practices with each other and indulge in some R&R, while preparing for the next half of the adventure.
After our six weeks, we’ll close out the trip to Zadar, one of Croatia’s beautiful and historic seaside cities. Activities will include visiting the Sea Organ, an art installation of an organ that is played by the power of waves, as well as wandering through the old city square. Closing ceremony is a memorable moment for reflection on the challenges and successes of the past seven weeks, LE’s mission, and the personal growth each volunteer is sure to experience in their own capacity. It is an opportunity to once again bond with the other volunteers, some of whom may travel together after the program and many of whom will become lifelong friends.
The Ideal Volunteer:
- Open-minded: Volunteers should be able to recognize and understand cultural and social norms and differences to better relate to and appreciate the community they’re in
- Enthusiastic: Volunteers should have a genuine desire to want to help the children learn and build genuine connections with not only the students but the community as a whole
- Independent: Volunteers should feel comfortable taking the lead in the classroom and be responsible enough to teach lessons by themselves or with co-teacher without supervision
- Outgoing/Energetic: The kids are very high energy and excited to learn and play and will have lots of questions about American culture. Volunteer should be high energy and creative enough to make class fun and entertaining for the students
- Adaptable: Each grade and student has a different skill level and knowledge of English. Most of the time volunteers might have to improvise the lesson day of, due to skill level or attendance. Volunteers should be prepared to change lesson plans to better suit the students and their interest
Village Stays: Volunteers living in Croatian villages will either live in an apartment or B&B. Either way, it will be one of the most defining and gratifying experiences you will have during the Croatia program. Volunteers will be located on the Seaside by the village Biograd. Village stays vary greatly in style, amount of free time, and local activities. What these experiences share, though, is that certain Eastern European charm. It is the best way to experience authentic Eastern Europe culture on a deeper level than any tourist. Volunteers are encourage to explore the local sites with other volunteers placed seaside. All village stays will abound in liveliness and, of course, food. You will find it difficult to say goodbye after six weeks.
Sunny Village Camp/ Hello Club: Set in beautiful, rural Croatia, the Sunny Village Camp in Jagnjedovec brings together children aged 8 to 12 from Croatia and surrounding countries for an English language experience. As a counselor, you will help in running typical camp activities that focus on the development of participants’ English language skills. You will work alongside Helena Hecimovic, the camp director, as well as other college-age counselors from Croatia. The camp has comfortable lodging and showers, and all meals are provided. Volunteers here should be prepared for long days; you may be working from 8 AM to 10 PM! Past camp volunteers have enjoyed working with the enthusiastic children and have appreciated the opportunity the camp provides in connecting with Croatians their own age. The Hello Club: The club is located in the center of Koprivnica, a lively Croatian city of 25,000. As a volunteer there, you will organize English language classes, arts and crafts classes, and field trips to other parts of Croatia. Those interested in event planning may find this option especially appealing. When you are not teaching at the Youth Center, you will spend your time at the Sunny Village Camp. While the Hello Club option is similar in many respects to the Sunny Village Camp option, it affords volunteers the chance to plan their engagement with the community more.
Volunteers always cite their experiences in the classroom as the most rewarding component of the program. Volunteers in village stays will be expected to teach for about four-five hours a day, five days a week. Most students are divided by age group, thus volunteers teach multiple classes per day. Number of students varies by season and age group, but will rarely exceed 20. Your teaching locations will be local, and may include schools, a language club, a city hall, a theater, a community center. The majority of placements will have basic teaching materials such as whiteboards, markers, and pencils, and some may even have construction paper and a laptop and projector. While Learning Enterprises will provide you with teaching ideas, you will have complete freedom in determining how to run your classes and the curriculum you prioritize.
LE encourages volunteers to teach creatively. If you love to sing, teach your kids the words to your favorite Billy Joel song then have the class write and perform an original rap. If you love to act, hold a drama festival on the last day and invite the entire village. It’s your classroom, your world! The students you will be teaching relish the opportunity to study with a native English speaker. The older students recognize the value in learning an important international language and eagerly ask about English colloquialisms and American culture. For the younger students, simply interacting with a native English speaker helps transform the language from work sheets and verb conjugations into something more real. There is nothing more rewarding than watching your students grow and learn. Even if your students aren’t exactly fluent by the end of the summer you may have ignited their interest in English and language, and have helped them to dream big about their futures.
Some Awesome things about Croatia!
- The lucky people of Croatia enjoy 2,715 hours of sunshine a year!
- Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again was filmed on Vis, a small island in Croatia. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and some episodes of Game of Thrones were also filmed in Croatia.
- Now one of the largest film festivals in Europe, the Sarajevo Film Festival draws more than 100,000 visitors per year and was established in 1995 after the end of the war.
- The world’s smallest town named Hum is located in Croatia. The town holds a Guinness World Record and has a population of about 17-30 people!
- Croatia is one of LE's oldest programs (formerly Croatia-Romania)
Meet your Program Director, Esme Marfo!
Esme Marfo is a recent graduate of George Washington University where she studied Public Health and Journalism. Esme was a volunteer with LE summer'22 in Croatia, and after an unforgettable summer of teaching and learning about Croatian culture, she is very excited to return to LE as the Croatia Program Director. During her summer in Croatia she learned and experienced the true value of cross-cultural exchange and wants to help future volunteers have the same amazing experience.
Interested applicants can contact Esme at firstname.lastname@example.org.