Yukiho Polen

Yukiho
Polen

2020

Evaluation – Two months in Poland

Great city, Great people and Great experience

Hej. I am Yukiho. I am originally from Japan, but I lived in Denmark. So I joined the ESC project in Poland from ICYE Denmark. I had a great time in Poland so I would like to share my experience.

PROJECT: The ESC project I joined was named “Youth and the city”.

I was working as a volunteer in the small city called Rzeszów which is 100 km from the Polish -Ukrainian border. The main goal of our project was to organise the intercultural events for local young people in the city. We held events such as MONDAY STORY, OPEN CAFÉ and meetings with local schools. We also worked for our video project.

In MONDAY STORY each of our volunteer talked about his or her own country. OPEN CAFÉ is a more interactive event which we set some theme related to human rights and problems young people are facing these days such as Mental Health,Cyber bullying, Impact of video games. I gave some presentation in English classes at local high school. I was so glad that local students were so interested in my country.

PEOPLE: I met great people. We were seven volunteers from European countries in the same period. They are originally from Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan. We often have different opinion, but everybody was so open minded to talk about what they think. We talked a lot about social problems such as abortion, LGBTQ and so on. We also talked about cultural differences and it helped us to understand each other much more. We also had amazing  local mentors. They helped us to know the city and culture in Rzeszów and we had good time together for example going to the park.

DIFFICULTIES: Since our project was going on in the meddle of corona virus pandemic, we need to move all of our project to online. At first we were struggling with managing technical stuff. We should learn how to use zoom and facebook live. If you want to hold nice streaming, you should know functions of these web services. At the same time we should learn how to use our electric devices such as cameras, computers and lights to take nice movies.  During meeting with local schools we also had some problems of internet connection. However we managed to solve all these problems after two weeks, and we were doing well-managed online events. At the beginning it seemed so difficult to handle all those new stuff, but we thought together and came up new ideas and made action.

Sometimes people say “It’s difficult for people from different backgrounds to do something together because we have culturally different ways of thinking.” and it’s true. But now I am sure if you are the group of seven people from different backgrounds, your knowledge is seven times more than alone. You can get to know a new way of thinking. I think that’s the invaluable experience of joining international opportunity like ESC.

Yukiho Itadani