Volunteer your summer teaching English or Japanese at youth camps in Poland!
97% Rating
(7 Reviews)

Volunteer your summer teaching English or Japanese at youth camps in Poland!

Would you like to lead workshops on American culture, sports, and English or Japanese culture for Polish youth at summer camps? Do you like working with children?
This summer (June-August) engage creatively, intellectually and socially and gain knowledge, skills directly from professional teachers, leaders, and camp directors ! Make friends with people from Poland and immerse yourself in Polish culture. Knowledge of Polish not required, although we can guarantee you that you will be fluent in that language by the end of the summer … Just kidding:)

This amazing experiential learning is addressed to college students and graduates who want to gain international experience of living and teaching abroad. Volunteer teaching English or Japanese at summer youth camps (subjects: American Dream, Japanese Culture) in most beautiful destinations either in southern or northern Poland (Tatra Mountains or Baltic Sea).

Other volunteer sites available!

Locations
Europe » Poland
Length
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
Language
English
Timeframe
Summer
Housing
Hostel
Hotel
Lodge
Starting Price
$500.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Partial scholarships available to college, university students, recent grads and K-12 teachers. Must be a native speaker of English and or Japanese. Participants are responsible for the cost of their travel to Poland, travel medical insurance, and spending money.

Questions & Answers

Yes, volunteers must be at least 18 years old. Most of our volunteers are between ages of 18-30 years old, majority are university students, recent graduates, or teachers who have summers off and want to experience teaching in Europe and at the same time do some sightseeing. For younger, high school students we offer a College Prep Travel Seminar Leadership and Service program in Poland. http://ww...

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    97%
  • Support
    94%
  • Fun
    90%
  • Value
    93%
  • Safety
    99%

Program Reviews (7)

Default avatar
Catherine

What to Expect When Teaching English at a Polish Summer Camp

10/10

I stepped further outside my comfort zone than I’d ever been when I disembarked from my arrival plane at Gdansk airport in late June, 2016. I had only a vague knowledge of where I would be in Poland and what I would be doing, some scant words and phrases of Polish, and my only contact with the people at the camp was via the manager’s phone number. Stepping off that plane was terrifying. It was also, without a doubt, one of the best choices I’ve made in my life.

My purpose at the camp was to teach students from ages 12-18 about the English language and American culture. While I was there, I learned about Polish perspectives on American culture, music, and politics. I learned about Polish customs, Polish food, and picked up enough words and phrases in Polish to communicate as a tourist outside the camp. I learned some new things about my own language, specifically related to the formal study of its grammar and phonetics. I also grew in my teaching and leadership skills.

It wasn’t always easy. Some lessons came as a result of culture shock, others because of silly tourist/foreigner mistakes, and others because of my own inexperience. However, spending four weeks at that youth camp was life-changing, and I would highly recommend the experience to anyone who wants full immersion in another country’s culture while gaining valuable life and work skills. So, for all those planning on making the same trip (or doing a similar volunteer experience at a Polish youth camp), here’s a rough outline of what to expect.

1. The kids and the counselors are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet.

On my first morning at the camp, I was completely dazed. I was surrounded by people talking, joking, and chatting to each other in a language that was utterly incomprehensible to me. Only a few of the counselors spoke fluent English, and I felt overwhelmed by the cacophony of voices around me. For a short while that morning I wondered if I’d made a huge mistake in choosing to volunteer for four weeks in an environment where, apparently, I wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone. That worry was put to rest when I did my first activity with the kids.

It wasn’t the fact that many of them spoke English at a conversational level that assuaged my fears. It was the fact that the majority of the students were friendly, enthusiastic, and eager to find out what we had in common. In the span of 45 minutes I went from worrying that I’d be trapped and lonely with no one to talk to for four weeks to sitting in a circle with about fifteen happy teenagers, chatting about Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Volunteering at a Polish youth camp, you won’t find yourself without a friendly face. Kids will enthusiastically come up and talk to you, and the counselors who speak English fluently are welcoming and willing to converse about a wide variety of topics. And even though many don’t speak English fluently…

2. You will still make friends, despite language barriers.

People are people. They laugh, they play games, they make jokes, they sing, and sometimes they need hugs. No matter what language anyone speaks, those things are universal for human beings. And it’s no different for Polish people.

There were a lot of counselors and kids who were shy about speaking English, or didn’t know enough to make conversation. So we befriended each other in different ways. We played ping-pong and basketball. We shared our favorite music. We taught each other games. We drew and painted. We laughed over my halting attempts at pronouncing Polish words. We swam and played in the lake. We danced to Beyoncé and Lady Gaga.

Many times, making the effort to form those relationships required me to step outside my comfort zone. And every time, I was glad I took the risk.

So when you’re invited to dance at the camp parties, or find yourself pulled into a group of teenagers determined to win a karaoke competition: dance, and sing. Even if you think you look awkward dancing. Even if you don’t think much of your voice. Because it’s not just about the experience of the activity itself: it’s also about doing things with the people you’ve elected to spend time with in their own country. It’s about engaging with them, learning what they like, participating in the activities they enjoy, and making memories with them.

3. You will have a lot of down time.

Some activities with the kids don’t require the presence of a native English speaker, which means that some days you’ll have a lot of time on your hands. You also might not be guaranteed 24/7 functional internet. So use your free time well. Read a book. Write. Practice your Polish. Take pictures. Come up with interesting games/activities for the kids. The possibilities are limitless!

4. It behooves you to know at least a few Polish words and phrases.

Polish is a beautiful language - and it’s also very different from most of the languages you’ve probably had exposure to, such as Spanish and French. It has different rhythms, a slightly different alphabet, and a heavier emphasis on consonants than vowels. Watch some videos, and set aside at least a few days to learn some basic pronunciation. You’ll want to know how to say "przepraszam" and "dziękuję" before you have to use them.

5. You will need to be flexible.

Working at a camp means that the day has a definitive schedule. However, what happens within the time slots for lessons and activities can change very quickly. Sometimes lesson plans just don’t work out, sometimes you’ll finish an activity quicker than you expected, or sometimes the counselor you’re working with might have to leave you in charge; and when that happens, you’ll have to improvise.

A lesson about Shakespeare might easily turn into a madcap adventure where you end up the assistant director of a two-minute sci-fi/time travel Romeo and Juliet skit. A Q&A about what living in America is actually like might turn into designing and setting up an obstacle course under a tight time constraint. You might even have to lead a whole lesson by yourself - which could mean anything from facilitating a conversation about the differences between Polish and American holidays to coming up with an English-learning activity for the kids with nothing but paper and colored pencils.

If you’re not used to presenting in front of people or leading groups, it might be scary at first. But then it becomes easier. And then, very quickly, it becomes enjoyable.

6. Have fun!

Remember: you’re here to teach the kids about American culture, and learn about theirs. You’ll be working in a very relaxed atmosphere; the kids are polite and interested in what you have to say and in interacting with you, and the counselors are friendly and understanding. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to ask for help when you need it. You will have support, you will have friends, and you will have an amazing time growing your skills, teaching kids and learning new things yourself.

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MaryCarmen
Female
20 years old
Miami, FL
Miami Dade College

My Summer in Poland

10/10

I’ve never felt more thankful to a program than this one. I had the opportunity to help teach English in Wroclaw and Krynica, Poland. I started out in Wroclaw and fell in love with both the city and the countryside. Also, the people were very passionate about learning English and there was never a dull moment! Afterwards, I went to a summer camp in Krynica that focused mostly on music, theatre and art. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the landscape was. It was a bit nerve-racking on the way there because I felt kind of lonely, but after settling down I got to fully enjoy Krynica! The kids were a bit shy at first but after they warmed up to me, they started to speak English more each day! Even kids and teenagers that weren’t in the English program wanted to speak English with me. The camp counselors tried to help me any chance they got and even the ones that didn’t speak English tried to greet me. The language barrier was a struggle sometimes, but we all connected in other ways. I got to meet so many different people and make many friends. They’ve even offered to show me around their hometown when I go back! I say “when” because I definitely want to go back to Poland. I love this program because I got to fully immerse myself into a whole other culture and I wouldn’t have gotten the chance any other way. It has also helped me with being more courageous. Poland is such a hidden gem and I’m grateful that this program has shown me how aesthetically pleasing it is!

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Chris
Male
25 years old
West Springfield

TravelnStudy- Szkoła Języków Obcych The Best Summer Camp

10/10

I traveled to Poland for 3 weeks to teach English at a summer camp. I went up a week early and met the camp director and the others teachers and counselors to prepare for camp. Afterwards, we took a bus from Kostrzyn nad Orda to Zakopane. The area was absolutely beautiful; it felt like a fairy tale village. My students were amazing. They were between 10 and 15 years old and they all spoke English very well. They were all so funny and nice, and they taught me some cool polish phrases. Several of them said how much I helped them, that I was the best teacher they ever had, and that their English was improving just by talking to me. At the end of camp, several of them put their money together and bought me a pair of wool knit slippers :) Things like that are so rare and hard to come by. It makes me feel like I'm doing something very worthwhile and makes me want to continue teaching. THANK YOU!

Carolina
Female
20 years old
Miami, Florida

My Polish Journey!

10/10

I feel extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to volunteer as a native speaker in both Wrocław and Łeba, Poland. Starting off in Wrocław, this year’s European Capital of Culture, I fell in love with everything the city had to offer. Unlike other European cities, it isn’t inundated with Americans and other tourists which can take away from the authenticity of the place. It was beautiful, modern, and yet traditionally Polish. There was truly never a dull moment for me there! Once leaving the city, I spent the majority of my time in Łeba, a seaside town on the coast. Throughout the program, I worked with the children on their English skills, swam in the Baltic Sea, ate traditional Polish meals, visited National Parks and historical landmarks, and ventured through town. I learned more Polish than I thought was possible during my short stay, and discovered a true appreciation for Polish hospitality and of course Polish dishes. As an International Relations major, I took this journey with the intention of teaching myself the necessary skills to cross-culturally communicate as well as to experience a new place. A place that is a little off the beaten path rather than the go-to countries for most Americans like Italy and the United Kingdom. Don’t get me wrong those places are wonderful, but Poland was authentic, diverse in its landscapes, and rich in its history. Often overlooked by those who do know what treasures it holds. With that being said, I will not say I didn’t struggle. When I first arrived at the camp I found it difficult to communicate and felt isolated; but time progressed, and I found other ways besides language to connect with the kids and adults alike. I think most of all, I discovered that human connection was much greater than any language barrier and that is something I will take with me to every place I travel moving forward.

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Jennifer
Female
20 years old
Amherst, Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts- Amherst

Great learning experience!

10/10

Discovering Poland volunteer program was a continuation of my European adventure with TravelNstudy! Last June after a month in Lugano (another program by TravelNStudy that I highly recommend) I arrived at the GDN airport not knowing what to expect. Will my stay in Poland be similar to my previous one in Switzerland? It was different! But Discovering Poland was better than anything I could have imagined. My first two weeks in Poland I spent on interning at a language school in Gdansk. This was a fantastic time because I was given an opportunity to run my own classes on several occasions and experience all the hands-on learning! Teaching a group of adults in Gdansk was kind of a different experience that teaching children in Lugano, Switzerland! From mid July to mid August I volunteered at a summer camp for Polish kids in a small village in northern Poland. Not only did I find out that I am passionate about teaching English, I learned an incredible amount about who I am and have made friendships with Polish counselors and teachers that will hopefully last a lifetime. I am thankful to TravelNStudy for the incredible opportunity and for the best summer of my life. I am looking forward to teach English in Poland after I graduate from the university.

How can this program be improved?

It would be good to have more sightseeing tours of Gdansk for the volunteers.

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koki
Male
24 years old
Tokyo Japan

Camp in Zakopane.

10/10

I had a great times assisting at summer camps in southern Poland
last year.I am originally from Japan and this was an unique opportunity to teach Polish teens about Japanese lessons .I learn a lot about Poland , the history and the beautiful culture mostly from the Polish counselors.Poles are open , honest , and friendly and the team I worked with was extremely helpful.I thought my students how to make sushi and they gave me instruction on how to make pierogies , a kind of traditional Polish meal.Overall food at the summer camp was really tasty.Accommodation was in a very beautiful resort with a breathtaking view of Tatry mountains.We had time for field to local town , Zakopane and more.I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking for a safe volunteer opportunity in Poland , the most welcoming country in Europe.

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Eileen
Female
24 years old
Connecticut
Western Connecticut State University

Daily Life at a Summer Camp in Poland

8/10

I was at the site near the beach in Jantar from July 11th to August 4th. Every day you wake up and meet with the whole group before all meals. After breakfast there is some down time before having your class with your camp. The class lasts about 3 hours and during that time you do activities with the students, you talk to them, and teach them about your culture while you learn about theirs. Another staff member is there so you don't have to teach them alone. After class is another large group meeting, then lunch, then more down time before your next class. Classes are sometimes on the beach or at the pool or indoors. After your class, there's another large group meeting, followed by dinner, and more down time, then the group gets together for an evening activity, which may be karaoke or a dance or a scavenger hunt. After that is more time to relax and play basketball with the students or talk to them. After lights out at night is the staff meeting where you review the day's activities and plan for the next day. On Sundays, some staff members take the students who wish to go to church and in the afternoon the students can go to different groups than the one they are in. We often went to the store for snacks and to the beach. The most challenging part was being unable to speak Polish, but I learned some. The best part was getting to know the people and playing sports with the students.

How can this program be improved?

This was the first time the staff at the camp worked with native English speakers and I felt lonely and out of place because I can't speak Polish. I think it would be helpful in the future for the staff at the camp to be more understanding of this and to translate things more often.

About The Provider

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Education through travel is the key to success in today’s global environment. Hungry minds will devour the opportunity to visit new places, of enhancing their cultural understanding, improving language skills, enjoying sight-seeing and experiencing the full immersion of everyday life in a different community. Volunteer,

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