Applications for LE Croatia PY21 are now OPEN!
Tentative Dates: June 15 – August 7
Orientation: June 15-19
Midpoint Break: July 9-11
Closing: August 6-7
- Location: Koprivnica-Krizevci county region (Inland), Zadar county region (Coastal), Tuzla (urban)
- Language Requirement: None
- Setting: Rural and small town
- Duration: 7 weeks
- Volunteers: 6-8
- Living Conditions: Modern
The program will kick off with a four-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 familiarize 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 ancient ruins like Diocletian’s Palace (a UN World Heritage site) cliff jumping into the turquoise waters of the Adriatic, and day trips to Hvar and Krka- a spectacular island andstunning national park.
After orientation, volunteers will depart to their first teaching location, where they will teach for three weeks before reconvening for quick weekend trip in Zagreb, Croatia’s beautiful and historic capital city. During this midpoint break, volunteers will have the opportunity to swap stories and best teaching practices with each other and indulge in some R and R, while preparing for the next half of the adventure. Activities will include exploring the Old City area filled with Roman cathedrals and impressive architecture,as well as wandering through some of Croatia’s most notable and insightful museums. Midpoint break provides volunteers with the chance to reconnect and is sure to be a memorable experience.
After the midpoint break, volunteers will travel to their second placement, where they will again spend three weeks teaching in the community. The program will conclude with two days in Zadar for closing session. Closing is a critical moment for reflection on the challenges and successes of past 7 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 will travel with after the program and many of whom will become lifelong friends. In Zadar, volunteers will spend time taking in the beautiful beaches one last time, sifting through markets in the Old Town, and undoubtedly planning their return to this unique country.
THE IDEAL VOLUNTEER
- Flexible: Volunteers are comfortable with the potential of adjustment, whether it be in regards to people, places, customs, or resources. Flexibility entails the ability to make the most with what is provided and do so with a positive attitude.
- Open-minded: Volunteers understand and recognize cultural differences and similarities, and create an encouraging and accommodating atmosphere for learning and cultural exchange to take place.
- Aware: Volunteers thoughtfully acknowledge students’ difficulties and perspectives and demonstrate a keen and genuine desire to respond to the communities’ requests in a respectful manner.
- Energetic and Patient: Volunteers must be able to create a classroom that is fun and entertaining by incorporating games and hands-on activities in a creative yet productive manner. It is summer after all! Croatian students are high energy, effective volunteers must not tire easily.
- Responsible: Volunteers also maintain clear communication with the PD, potential co-volunteer, and host families. The program starts from the moment of acceptance.
Village Stays: Volunteers living in Croatian villages will either live with a host family or in an apartment. Either way, it will be one of the most defining and gratifying experiences you will have during the Croatia program. Village stays vary greatly in style, amount of free time, and local activities. Most hosts will have an array of moderate amenities in their homes, and some may even have internet. What these experiences share, though, is that certain Eastern European warmth. It is the best way to experience authentic Eastern Europe culture on a deeper level than any tourist. Whether you are in a host family or an apartment stay, most hosts will go out of their way to show volunteers the local sites. All village stays will abound in liveliness and, of course, food. Host families are not paid to participate in the program and graciously open their homes and their hearts to Learning Enterprises volunteers. You will find it difficult to say goodbye after three weeks.
Sunny Village Camp: 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 theopportunity the camp provides in connecting with Croatians their own age. Koprivnica Youth Center: The newly built Koprivnica Youth Center 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 Youth Center 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.
Tuzla (Bosnia): Volunteers in Tuzla will have the opportunity to be a part of Learning Enterprises’ second year in Bosnia! While this means that flexibility is a must, it also provides the opportunity to truly play a role in creating the foundation for what has already been a successful pilot program. Tuzla is the third largest city in Bosnia and the economic, cultural, educational, health and tourist centre of northeast Bosnia. While it is still Accomodation in Tuzla is an apartment stay with modern amenities and food will be provided by a local restaurant, volunteers will still be in close contact with a host as well as Bosnian volunteers around the same age. Classes will be held in a local community center, Kucha Mira, and take place from 9AM-1PM with occasional afternoon classes. Volunteers should be prepared for a wide variety of ages and abilities with students ranging from 5-70 years old! After classes, volunteers can spend time at Europe’s only salt lakes located in the middle of the city or explore the legacies of the Ottoman Empire that have left Tuzla as one of the most multicultural centers of the country.
Volunteers always cite their experiences in the classroom as the most rewarding component of the program. Volunteers in village stays and in Bosnia 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 in Croatia and 30 in Bosnia. 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 the Host Communities!
- Croatian inventions include the necktie, parachute, pay-by-phone parking, and more.
- The lucky people in Croatia enjoy 2,715 hours of sunshine a year. That’s more than people living in Sydney, Australia.
- Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again was filmed on Vis, a small island in Croatia. Star Wars: The Last Jedi and a couple Game of Thrones scenes were also filmed in-country.
- Croatia has over 1000 islands (one of which is even heart-shaped!), national parks, and waterfalls for all nature-lovers.
- Croatia is one of LE’s oldest programs (formerly Croatia-Romania)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina has the tenth highest coffee consumption per capita in the world. The world famous Turkish coffee in Sarajevo is a must try!
- Bosnia is the only majority Muslim country in Europe.
- 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.
- Bosnia has three official languages-Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian- and three presidents, one from each ethnic group.
- Bosnia has a rainforest! Sutjeska National Park’s Perucica in the eastern part of the country has a total of 170 species of trees and 1000s of different types of plants, along with an abundance of wildlife.
MEET YOUR PROGRAM DIRECTOR, JESS!
Jess Ryan is thrilled to be continuing with Learning Enterprises as the 2021 Program Director for Romania and Director of Programming. She began her journey with LE as a volunteer in the Romania program in PY19, then continued in PY20 as the Program Director. This year in PY21 she takes on multiple roles and is excited for the challenges that lie ahead. As Program Director, Jess is excited to gather a team of driven individuals committed to the spirit of volunteerism and adventure who wish to join her in continuing to spread LE’s mission across the globe. Jess graduates from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Fall 2020 with a Bachelor of Sciences in Liberal Studies and a concentration in Environment Education. She aspires to teach at the elementary level, with an interest in teaching in both the United States and abroad. She enjoys learning, being outdoors and experiencing new cultures.
Interested applicants can contact Jess at firstname.lastname@example.org.