Applications for Poland PY24 open!
2024 Program Dates: June 22nd - July 23rd
June 19th - June 22nd
July 5th - July 7th
July 20th - July 23rd
- Location: Bieszczady, Tarnów, and Jaslo
- Language Requirement: None
- Setting: Rural
- Duration: 4.5 weeks
- Volunteers: 4 - 10
- Living Conditions: Modern with the occasional exception of Wi-Fi/Internet connection
Below you will find the program structure for a normal year of programming. Information about virtual programming is coming soon!
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 Warsaw, 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:
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!
meet your program director, Grace Talty!
Grace Talty is in her second year at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Global Studies, and specializing in European and Russian Societies and Cultures. She is also minoring in Public Policy. Grace was a volunteer with LE summer ’23 in Poland. After an incredible month learning about Polish culture, teaching, and spending time with locals and her students, she is extremely excited to return to LE as the Poland Program Director. Grace aims to create a unique, organized, and memorable experience for future LE volunteers, in line with promoting LE’s mission.
Interested applicants can email Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org.