As part of my EVS project, I work at an international school department, along with three English colleagues and two other volunteers. Together we prepare various school events and organize foreign internships for pupils, but above all we work on Erasmus + projects focused on non-formal education, assistance and support of young people with poor experience in traditional education and developing their skills.

For example, we are currently creating digital escape rooms to develop young people's entrepreneurial and civic skills. As you can see, this work is quite challenging for creativity, but so far our team has managed to crack every nut!

Most of all, I am learning with the pupils I work with almost every day. I spend the most of my time teaching English and helping with lessons in a special curriculum attended by a group of 15-17 years old migrant and refugee families from Turkey, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Georgia.

We can hardly imagine what difficulties young people with such a personal history must cross every day. From adapting themselves to a foreign culture, small things, such as the (supposedly terrible) local cuisine (which is a popular complaint for teenagers). Not to mention the new school system, rules and foreign language that is the gateway to all areas of their new life. We Europeans often say how difficult it is to learn to speak German or French, but have you ever tried Arabic? When I see how many struggles the students have with the Latin alphabet or numbers, I realize what admiration they deserve.

Some students don’t have too much passion for school, others have a clear idea of what they want to study at university. And what is often forgotten is that, first and foremost, they are teenagers like everyone else - both diligent and lazy, those who disturb and are in the center of attention, alongside the quiet, hardworking students longing for the career of successful football players or doctors, they just want to be treated like everyone else.

It looks similar but yet quite different in the adult classes at the local community center where I also participate. Three times a week they meet the whole world from East Africa to India - newcomers of different ages, origins and English levels. Some of them are quite successful in "singing", others are just pulling up the letters when writing, which is mainly for older pupils accustomed to Arabic chore.

I have several years of experience in teaching English, but I still find it difficult to learn the basics. Perhaps it doesn’t seem to be, but only the pronunciation of separate sounds in English compared to whole words is a mystery that cannot be easily explained to foreigners. That is why these situations are completely new to me and I always learn a lot when I find out how to do it, and I invent the methods and aids that they can use.

Most of all I’m always surprised about the gratitude and kindness witch the adult students always give me during the one-hour lesson when I help them or correct a word they’re working on with. I see how thankful they are when they have this opportunity to learn and I’m looking forward seeing their small achievements.

It is quite challenging sometimes, but it is undoubtedly a life experience that has changed my view of many things and is worth it! In addition, I am beginning to review Muslim holidays, Hindu rituals, Middle Eastern traditional clothing, Kurdish pop music, national dishes, Arabic words, weather in Eritrea and climate change in Kuwait. That is why I am very grateful for this experience - where else would I know all this, if not on the European Voluntary Service?










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