"I am glad to inform you that your application, after our initial selection and Skype interview, has been accepted. The teachers from the Special Kindergarten 393 would be very pleased if you joined them as soon as it possible".
I reread these frases again and again. No,it can't be true, I'm just dreaming. Frankly speaking, I realised that it was true only when I got off the plane in Warsaw. But even now sometimes I tick myself just to be sure that's all happening to me.
My name is Maryna Isaieva and now I am a volunteer in Polish Robert Schuman Foundation. My project takes place in Warsaw and my task here is to help kids with disabilities.
My first day there wasn't so easy as I expected because I didn't know kids too well to interact with them in a proper way. But day by day I started to understand their glances, little gestures, smiles, cries and movements. Thanks to the opportunity of being present on speech therapy, psychology and physical therapy lessons I’ve seen the real possibilities of kids which they don’t show on daily basis. Additionally specialists explained me what practical goal has each of their exercises and what are the main difficulties each children faces. The kindergarten became a real new school of life for me and I couldn’t be happier thanks to it.
My project also gives a great opportunity to attend workplaces of other volunteers from our foundation. Once we were in the Kindergarten for kids with visual disabilities. As I have myopia, I know what is to live with bad sight. Although on workshop I explored that even with much more serious eye diseases kids still manage to study, move and have fun. So, as you can see EVS literally can open your eyes :)
Living together with a group of volunteers from Lithuania, Spain, the Netherlands I got to know a lot about the difference between our countries in aspects of traditions, cultural patterns and how do they personally perceive their own country. From other part EVS shows you that despite coming from different nations, cultures and experiences you can still find a person that will be with the same worldview as I did. EVS is just like a magic wand bringing together people with so different background and experience that I can’t even imagine where I could meet them in my ordinary life.
Before coming here I had a doubt about the ability of Polish daily life to surprise me. Fortunately, I was wrong. For example, Warsaw has a great public transportation system, a lot of bikers and joggers, extremely polite people, gorgeous parks and fascinatedly tasty bakery. I also visited Katowice, Gdansk and Sopot and can assure you that Poland is like a great market, each can find a place that he would like to visit again and again.
The last thing that I want to say is don't be afraid to make unusual and spontaneous decisions in your life. Life is like a box of chocolates and EVS is definitely the tasty one!
Maryna Isaieva, 22 years old, Kyiv