When people think of volunteering abroad, they generally think of less developed countries in Africa, Asia and South America. But volunteers can make a big difference in Europe, too.Poland is a highly developed nation with a stable government and economy. So what can American volunteers do for the country and its citizens? The answer is teaching English, "the language of commerce and opportunity."
When Global Volunteers initially established their relationship with the country the Polish representatives told them there was a demand for English language instruction.
Make it a family affair!
"The kids were very well behaved and most could speak very good English," Smith says. "We helped them understand language usage better." Pete also shares what he found to be distinctive of Polish culture, saying, "The Polish people are very proud and lean heavily on their traditions and folklore."
Poland volunteer Judith Strobel shares her recreational travels: "Our team took the train to Warsaw for our weekend free-time activities to see interesting and historic sites in the capital city that is just an hour or so west of the Siedlce District."
Judith is a 55-year-old marketing director living in Minnesota. She volunteered in Poland with her 13-year-old son, Ryan, and together they became teachers of the English language.
The Next Step
Global Volunteer’s co-founder Michele Gran explains "Polish representatives said they had 'enough hands' to work but wished to communicate in English, the language of commerce and opportunity."
This is why you will find most volunteer opportunities among various Poland programs offer teaching English as their main effort.
Besides Global Volunteers’ conversational English instruction to elementary and middle school students, you can choose to befriend and tutor children in an after-school program, or provide personal care and assistance for mentally and/or physically challenged adults and youth.
More reasons to go to Poland:
Whether you’re volunteering or not, make sure to take advantage of your time in Poland by attending cultural events such as music recitals, as well as, jazz and polish festivals. These happen frequently in the metropolitan cities such as Krakow and Warsaw.
Also, don’t forget to satisfy your inner tourist by visiting the historic attractions. A few highlights are the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw, the Wawel Castle in Krakow, and Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Oswiecim.
And Poland definitely matches up with other popular European destinations. Traveler Sarah August says she was captivated by the beauty of the country:
"Sitting on a terrace looking out at the square in Warsaw I felt I was in a painting."
"Poland is very picturesque," she says, "from the vast green countryside to the magnificent architecture in the cities of Krakow and Warsaw, it is truly a beautiful place to travel and explore."
If you’re feeling inspired to familiarize yourself with the unfamiliar, plan your next trip to Poland! For the cultural immersion experience consider volunteering!
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