Global Volunteers - Volunteer Programs in Poland

By Global Volunteers   Reviews (9)   99% Rating

You're needed as a volunteer to teach in rural school classrooms in the Siedlce region, east of Warsaw and at English language camps in the Tatra mountain village of Zakopane - teachers and non-teachers alike are helpful! The primary objectives are to intensify the young students' desire to learn English and to enhance the adults' ability to communicate in English. Summer teams are a fun family Adventure in Service! Volunteers and Polish school students take trips together and play American games.
Occasionally, activities outside of teaching include:

  • After-school tutoring: Mentor and teach disadvantaged elementary students. Tutoring responsibilities include assisting in studying and homework assignments and improving social skills.
  • Special needs assistance: "Caritas" Institute serves adults age 18-50 with physical and mental disabilities. Volunteers lead English cl
View Program Information
Location: 
  • Poland
Program Length: 
1-2 weeks
2-4 weeks
Cost: 
See site for details.
Cost Description: 

Program fees, based on the GV's costs, include food, accommodations, transportation within projects, project costs, administrative expenses, and support from Global Volunteers staff. The rest of the costs are used to support the continued development of host communities. Discounts are available for

Age Group: 
14-18
50+
Language: 
English
Application: 
Online Application

Questions & Answers

  • It's been a long time (more than 15 years) since we've done any of the Global Volunteers trips to Poland so it would be difficult to answer this question. But as I remember it the costs of the progr… Read more
    Answered by VirginiaG on 02/17/2016
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Program Reviews (9)

99%
Positive
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  • Impact
    93%
  • Support
    100%
  • Fun
    94%
  • Value
    94%
  • Safety
    100%
  • Alexandra
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    San Diego, Califorina
    University of Michigan
    10/10
    Once in a Lifetime Experience
    03/31/2016

    Zakopane was my first experience with Global Volunteers, and they exceeded my expectations and beyond. From start to finish, the GV staff helped me in every way possible to prepare for the trip and have an outstanding two weeks.

    Only being seventeen at the time I thought it would be weird teaching students so close in age as me, but it made the trip all the more special because my students and I had many of the same interests that made my teaching and their learning more fun and interesting.

    Going with the kids on their after lesson activities like hiking and occasionally soccer, was definitely the highlight since you got to know the kids, as well as the other volunteers, on a more personal level. Making sure there was never a dull moment, volunteers and the kids participated in off key sing-a-longs and the kids teaching the volunteers some Polish along the way on the hikes.

    It was hard to leave after the two weeks had finished, but I knew that I would definitely be returning to have the same amazing experience with the wonderful staff and the sweetest students sometime in the near future.

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    Useful 3 Inspiring 3
  • Jo
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Nr Sevenoaks, Kent, UK
    Other
    9/10
    We learnt skills we never knew we had.
    03/12/2016

    I wanted my twin 17 year old daughters to do some voluntary work during their summer holidays. Teaching English at Reymontowka in Poland was something that I thought would be challenging yet achievable given their ages.

    From the minute of arriving we were made to feel appreciated, like honoured guests. During our time there we were treated to performances, by the children, showcasing Polish culture through song and dance. I would say we learnt as much about the Polish culture as they did English.

    We were part of a group of five non-native speaking volunteers (we are British and our two co-volunteers were American). None of us had any previous teaching experience. However, there was a resource room full of learning material, games, books etc which made the lesson planning easy. We were left to ourselves to decide what to teach our groups relevant to their ages and abilities. The afternoons we were free to explore, lesson plan or watch the activities laid on for the youngsters.

    The children gravitated towards my daughters (being closer in age to them) and, of course, my girls knew all the words and dance moves to current pop songs which helps. It made my daughters feel very special. The age range of the children was 8-11 years. The majority of them really wanted to improve their speaking ability though I was surprised how much English they already knew. They were definitely not beginners.

    We were genuinely sad to leave at the end of our two weeks. Not only did we learn about a country I had never thought to visit before but we were shown huge respect and friendship from all whom we encountered. We had the opportunity to visit Warsaw during our weekend off and flew to Krakow at the end of our volunteering for an extra few days of sightseeing.

    On a personal note I was delighted to accompany my daughters (in fact I needed to as they were under 18 years old). I could see by the end of the two weeks how they had grown in confidence and belief in themselves. We left with many happy memories.

    How could this program be improved?

    Before arrival I thought the children would come from disadvantaged backgrounds. A lot of the children came from, what appeared to be, quite affluent families. If they had come from a lower social/economic background this would have made the voluntary experience more rewarding for me.

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    Useful 5 Inspiring 3
  • Emily
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Scottsdale, AZ
    10/10
    The GV Poland Experience Changed My Life
    03/29/2012

    I volunteered with GV in 1996 in a location near Zakopane which is no longer available. Our group stayed in the small town, with transportation daily out to even smaller communities. The logistics of getting enough community volunteers with cars to help each day was our biggest struggle, because it was a small, rural town. The community embraced us wholeheartedly, turning out nightly for dances, music, and cultural exchanges, and everyone was so appreciative that we were providing opportunities for their children. My biggest praise comes for the Poland program structure and in-country staff/translators who made the experience seamless and allowed us to focus on teaching, learning, and cultural experiences. We had assistance where needed with transportation, money conversion, events, and introductions but were also allowed to experience on our own if desired. I built wonderful friendships which continue today, and gained valuable cultural insights. I considered myself a veteran traveler and had experienced many cultures prior to experiencing Poland, but the quiet fortitude, humility, and graciousness of the Polish people made a lasting impression on me.

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    Useful 8 Inspiring 10
  • Jim
    Age: 51 or older
    Male
    Tampa, Fl.
    Other
    10/10
    A Wonderful Program!
    03/19/2012

    I have been to Poland five different years as a volunteer with Global Volunteers, and I will be returning again this year for 4 weeks. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who may have an interest in volunteering. The students are engaging and eager to learn, and the staff at Reymontowka are fabulous. Can't wait to return later this year to volunteer for 4 weeks.

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    Useful 7 Inspiring 7
  • Steve
    Age: 51 or older
    Male
    Hanover, New Hampshire
    Dartmouth College
    10/10
    Experience living and working with Polish students and teachers
    03/16/2012

    I have been to Poland twice with Global Volunteers. I spent 2 weeks at the Reymontowka summer camp. I had a great experience. You will have an opportunity to teach English to Polish children and live and work with the Polish students and staff. The staff are great, very supportive I have made numerous friendships. The students are very bright, and much more like American kids than I suspected. To make the most of your time at Reymontowka you should try to spend time with the students and staff outside of the 4 hours teaching English. There are many opportunities for this, whether its riding bikes, playing basketball, or sitting on the porch drinking coffee. Be prepared for a full immersion, up close and personal experience.

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    Useful 11 Inspiring 7
  • Lisa
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Minneapolis, MN
    Other
    10/10
    teaching middle school students English in Zakopane
    03/14/2012

    What a wonderful opportunity to a part of the world that isn't always the most popular toursit destination. My goal was to visit somewhere not so typical and really see it up close, not just thru a tour guide's lense. My goals' were fulfilled and then some... I was able to help Polish Middle Schoolers improve upon their english speaking skills AND really see a new part of the world, first hand, NOT like a tourist. A bonus... the mountains of southern Poland are gorgeous (put on your hiking boots and try a hike or 2). I would highly recommend this program with Global Volunteers. I went solo and met some fun people of all ages as well. Excellent opportunity.

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    Useful 7 Inspiring 4
  • VirginiaG
    Age: 51 or older
    Female
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    Other
    10/10
    Make lasting friendships and learn lasting lessons.
    03/12/2012

    We've gone on 3 trips with Global Volunteers to Poland and loved every one of them. The organization of each trip was slightly different and the students were always enthusiastic and wonderful to work with. Getting to know a country and the people this way is the best way to travel. Traveling and making a difference in the lives of many teen agers is so rewarding. And Global Volunteers has such a well organized and thoughtfully structured approach to their group efforts. They don't go into a community telling them what they need - they listen to the community representatives and then help them working together WITH the community - not doing it FOR them And the Global Volunteers trips are enriching for volunteers of all ages, and I look forward to being able to travel with them again.

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    Useful 5 Inspiring 5
  • Lori
    Age: 51 or older
    Female
    Saint Paul, MN
    Other
    10/10
    You have a Polish Soul
    01/22/2012

    I have participated in 15+ Global Volunteer programs in Poland. I've done the language camps for high school students in Zakopane, participated in teaching in the village school programs, and also participated in multiple language camps at the Reymontowka Conference Center near Siedlce. My experience now ranges over a 10 year period and I can see the impact of the English teaching program, as I've seen children move from elementary school to becoming successful university students.

    A typical day is to teach about 4 hours and then have the other half of the work day for preparation for the next day. At the language camps we often are treated to programs by the students in the evening as they share their talents or do a program to acquaint the volunteers with Polish history and culture. Often when teaching the village school programs, one is invited to go along on a field trip with the students to a national park in Poland or a historic site. If one is there on a holiday such as Mother's Day, of course the volunteers are included in the activities the children present for their mothers. When one is at Reymontowka in May, the volunteers can enjoy a cultural festival called Majowka, and often regarded as honored guests by the Polish people.

    The weekends are free time. I've traveled to many other places in Poland during these weekends. The train system in Poland makes it easy to get to Krakow, for example, from either Zakopane or the Reymontowka Conference Center. Warsaw is only an hour away by train from Siedlce, so it easy to go there for the weekend or even just an afternoon.

    I'm often asked if I have Polish ancestry and explain no. That's when one of the Polish teachers with whom I've worked several times interrupted and said, "But you have a Polish soul."

    I've never had difficulties during any of these programs. The only real difficulties I've seen others have are health problems such as a dental emergency. The Global Volunteer team leader is trained to deal with problems such as this and help a volunteer to get needed health or dental care.

    The Polish countryside is beautiful -- this often a surprise to a visitor to the country for the first time. The food is plentiful and excellent. Now in 2012, it is easy to access the Internet to keep in touch with home.

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    Useful 7 Inspiring 6
  • Ginny
    Age: 51 or older
    Female
    Oviedo, Florida
    10/10
    Zakopane, Summer 2009
    01/22/2012

    The Polish people are absolutely wonderful people. In the two weeks that I spent in Poland, being around them was the best part of this experience. They were so happy to have us there and made us feel so welcome, whether it was at our site in Zakopane or during our free time activities.

    The country is beautiful. We were settled in the foothills of the mountains. The weather was fantastic. I can't leave out the food, which was delicious.

    One weekend, we went to Krakow. It is a beautiful medival city. We toured the salt mines and had a college student take us on a city tour where we saw the actual site of Schindler's List. There is so much to see an do in this country.

    The team I was on worked with high school students. We taught them English. The students are so grateful to have native English speakers work with them over the two weeks. The time they spend in the camp improving their English skills enables them to bring more to a college application/experience. We saw the impact we made over the course of two weeks.

    We also saw the bigger picture. Because Global Volunteers has been coming to Poland for many years, students who acquire English skills are able to get better jobs. This, in turn, has helped improve the economy of the country of Poland.

    Finally, Dorota is fantastic at what she does. She makes sure every volunteer has a positive experience. She was so excited to be able to share her country with us.

    I know the volunteers were able to help the students in so many positive ways. At the same time, the entire Polish experience was good for me in so many ways. I highly recommend this program.

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    Useful 6 Inspiring 5

About the provider

Global Volunteers, a non-profit organization, has been giving short-term volunteers the chance to provide essential services to local people on service programs since 1984. Volunteering under the direction of local leaders, team members form groundwork for international peace via common, global understanding. Our goal is to sustain authentic development projects with the host community and give volunteers wide opportunities to help.

Since 1984, over 30,000 people have volunteered with Global Volunteers in 34 different countries. Visit our website to learn more about how to join this movement and become a Global Volunteer!

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