Applications for LE Poland summer 2018 will reopen next fall!
Dates: June 26 - July 30
Orientation: June 26-July 2 (Krakow)
Mid-Point break: July 14-July 16 (Zakopane)
Closing: July 28-July 30 (Krakow)
Duration: 5 Weeks
Number of Volunteers: 15
Setting: Rural Villages
Language Requirement: None
Visa: Not Needed for US Volunteers
Living Conditions: Modern
Volunteers with LE Poland 2017 will spend the first week of the program in Kraków with approximately 15 other volunteers. Kraków, a crucial center of Polish business, culture, and education, has a long and glorious history and a rich heritage. Kraków has witnessed many events of great historical and political significance, and volunteers will have opportunities to immerse themselves in the history of this Eastern European city and in Polish history and culture. Today, Kraków remains as southern Poland’s metropolis. Its growth and popularity in recent years can be largely attributed to Poland’s entrance into the European Union.
Orientation gives volunteers an opportunity to get acclimated to their new environment. In addition, orientation helps provide volunteers with the expertise necessary to teach ESL in the style of LE. The daily schedule consists of a balance of training sessions, sightseeing, and social events. Group excursions include a tour of the old town, and a tour of Kraków’s pre-eminent tourist attraction: the site of Kraków’s cathedral, Wawel castle. Volunteers are responsible for the costs of orientation, including an organized hostel stay (about $15-20/night including breakfast) at the heart of the city, dining, and all group excursions.
After orientation, volunteers travel to their assigned towns or villages to begin teaching. Towns and villages are located in three central areas: Tarnów, Bieszczady, and Lublin. Host families will pick up volunteers directly from the train/bus station.
After the first two weeks of teaching, volunteers will meet for a mid-point break. This break will give volunteers a chance to discuss their first impressions of teaching and their lives in their towns or villages. Mid-point break also lets volunteers share lesson plans and teaching strategies that have been effective as well as those that were not.
The Ideal volunteer:
- Energetic, enthusiastic and patient!
- Creative and able to think outside the box.
- Interested in meeting new people, embracing a new culture, and teaching English.
- Responsible and reliable. The program starts the moment a volunteer is accepted.
- Committed to LE's misison of expanding horizons through global volunteerism.
Most volunteers with the Poland program are placed in rural villages, though several volunteers may be placed in more urban environments. The towns and villages that LE volunteers live in are very picturesque, with mountains in the Bieszcady region, rolling hills around Tarnów, and well-known historical sights around Lublin. Most volunteers will be less than two hours from the nearest metropolitan center and from other volunteers. Transportation between all villages is easily accessible. Volunteers should have no problem walking to the places where they teach—though host families might insist on driving!
Each volunteer is placed with a host family. Most host families have moderate amenities, such as a TV, landline phones, and showers. Some host families have many more modern conveniences. A volunteer typically has a private own room; however, a volunteer may have to share a room with a host sibling. Most host families are warm, welcoming, and protective of their volunteers. They do, however, expect volunteers to make an effort to be part of the family in all ways. Poles are known for their hospitality and place great importance on food. No restaurant beats Polish home cooking!
Volunteers are expected to interact with town or village life in their free time. This includes spending time with host siblings and arranging events outside of class with students. Some examples include: playing basketball with students, taking them out for ice cream, or meeting the older students to just chat at the local pub. Volunteers want to be sure to bring a bit of themselves and their culture to the table. On weekends, volunteers may travel with their host families, travel with friends, or stay in the village and bond with those around them! Nearly all host families will be practicing Catholics and will most likely attend Mass on Sunday morning. Polish meals typically consist of soup, meat, potatoes, and salad, however, accommodations for vegetarians can be made. Volunteers should be proactive in their town/village, and take the opportunity to explore life in their location.
Teaching conditions vary considerably - there is no "standard" experience. Volunteers will most likely teach at a local school or community center. All students will be on summer break. Volunteers should expect to teach between 30-70 students in total, and are expected to teach a minimum of 3 hours a day. Most students will be between 5 and 18 years old and range from beginner to advanced in their knowledge of English. Some volunteers may also have enough interested adults to have a separate adult class. Most volunteers teach at least three classes daily, one hour each, depending on the number of students and their level of English. In the past, volunteers have taught three classes from 9-12 in the morning as well as an hour evening class for adults. As their teacher, volunteers are free to divide the students into groups and create their teaching schedule. As some students may be studying for their “Matura”, or final high school exam in English Language, they may ask for tutoring in a volunteer’s spare time. Every volunteer’s teaching experience will differ, depending on the circumstances of the school. Some volunteers might even have the chance to teach more active classes at summer camps. Despite their variety, all teaching experiences will be positive ones!
Basic teaching resources like chalk and a chalkboard are available in most villages, and computer facilities may be available as well. Art supplies may be available as well. In the past, younger students have loved incorporating games into their learning, while older students have enjoyed speaking and practicing their conversational English skills. Most students will be very eager to learn, and excited to meet a native English speaker.
Learning Enterprises would love for you to apply to the Poland program. If you think the Poland program is right for you, be sure to check out the 2017 Poland Addendum for a more in-depth description of the program!
Why Le poland?
- It's an opportunity to learn about Polish, Eastern European, Cold War, and Communist histories.
- A volunteer gets to experience Polish culture, food, lifestyle, religion, etc.
- It's an opportunity for service - our service projects extend far past teaching English.
- It's one of LE's most developed and popular programs.