Volunteering at English Immersion Camps with Angloville
After booking a flight to Poland to kill some time before my grand journey on the Trans Siberian I began to search for a volunteering opportunity to give me the opportunity to immerse myself in the country before heading north.
I found myself immersed in English Language immersion camps.
Through the wonderful website Workaway, I stumbled across Angloville – An English language immersion programme, enabling language and cultural exchange between native English speakers and Polish participants., claiming to be the biggest provider of language immersion programmes in Central – Eastern Europe.
The volunteer ‘program’ was advertised as including:
o Accommodation in high standard hotels during our programs
o Full board during programs (three meals a day at the hotel restaurant)
o Free transport to and from the high standard hotel in the countryside
o Complimentary tours of some of Poland’s most fascinating cities, such as Warsaw, Poznan, Wroclaw and Krakow (depending on the starting point of your particular program)
o A chance to meet, connect and learn from successful professionals as well as junior students from Central – Eastern Europe
o Invaluable teaching experience
o A week full of memories, new friends, and an introduction to a new culture.
…It sounded far too good to be true.
Flash forward a couple of weeks and I was on a bus from Warsaw with a mix of native english speakers and Polish adults keen to improve their own english.
We were on our way to the middle of Puszcza Knyszyńska Landscape Park, to a nice hotel called Lipowy Most, which would be my home for the next three weeks.
Despite the whole situation sounding too good to be true, we safety arrived at the beautiful hotel surrounded by a winter-wonderland scene and I soon was meeting some of the loveliest people I have encountered in my travels so far.
English speakers from every corner of the English-speaking world were soon friends with some pretty high-class Polish locals. And although the days were long, every evening was spent drinking the countries finest vodka and the entire week felt like a long party and one evening even spent drinking prosecco in the sauna (which felt far too classy for any kind of volunteering experience).
The week was nothing short of wonderful, and despite my mentee (a very high profile government economic advisor) deciding on making his presentation a humiliating expose on his poor mentor (I am cringing just writing about it), it truly was a wonderful experience and I was keen for the next two weeks ahead.
The next two weeks were junior programs. So I could forget the vodka.
I had never spent such extended time with kids since I had been one myself and finding myself surrounded by small people 24/7 was nothing short of overwhelming to begin with.
But I soon found myself realising how much more rewarding the junior Angloville programs were. Never had I been able to see myself as ‘inspiring’ or a role model but becoming a mentor to young people really left me with some warm and fuzzies.
Despite the lack of vodka, the junior programs ended up being far more exhausting than the adult program and after long days of high-energy kid-mode and many late nights spent wasting time with new friends I found myself absolutely exhausted by the end of my time with Angloville.
But between the long days and late nights I left with so many wonderful memories. Awkward disco’s, funny language discoveries, questionable kids mealtimes (including a dinner of pasta covered in jam), gaining my TEFL qualification, and one epic practical joke made my time with Angloville absolutely wonderful and I can not speak more highly of the wonderful programs they run for native speakers and local participants.
For more information check out the Angloville Website.