“Fact Hunt,” I muttered as I read the piece of paper that Will handed. A sudden burst of laughter erupted to my right. I looked over wondering why he was laughing. We were playing a word game that the folks over at Angloville organized.
The game was facilitated to improve the Polish student’s (participants) English using vocabulary words. We had to come with a name for our group. Will, a teammate and a consummate jokester, wrote these two words on paper, “Fact Hunt.” I would read it and he would laugh hysterically every time I said it. Everyone thought this guy lost a few screws in his head. One of the Polish participants read the words loudly trying to figure out what’s so funny about it.
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Will, again, burst into laughter. I scratched my head and asked what’s so funny? Say it faster, he muttered. “Fact Hunt!” I said with a little bit more speed.
No, say it faster, he continued.
What does it sound like? He asked. It sounds a little like, “Fat C*nt.” Oh, shit!
This a sample of a one-day itinerary for the week I spent in Poland teaching English for Angloville. Angloville is an intense course designed to hasten the learning process for non-native English speakers. Native English speakers are paired up with Non-Native speakers for various activities all the while speaking and writing nothing by English. What’s in it for me/you? You’ll get whisked away to a random castle in the middle of nowhere, with free food, and free lodging. Throw in a free tour in Warsaw (this was the Poland program) and you have something very hard to resist.
I was just going to pass through Poland during my tour through Europe when I got a random email from Couchsurfer named Magda. It detailed:
I saw you logged in Tallin. Hope you’re having a great trip!
I don’t know what your travel plans are but I help coordinate this cool volunteering programme where you spend 6 days in a good quality hotel in Poland interacting with successful Polish professionals in a laid-back environment (board + lodging + transport from Warsaw all paid for) – it’s a language immersion programme. Good fun and you can meet some great people there from different walks of life. It starts August 25th and goes until August 30th. If you have no other plans, we have 2 last spaces for English-speaking participants. www.angloville.com .
This whole programme is basically storytelling, exchanging experience and making friends. The English-speaking participants get to know the country and learn from Polish participants and the Polish participants get to practice their English. We have had a few Couchsurfers attending the programme in the past.
See what people say about it: http://www.youtube.com/user/angloville
The hotel where the programme takes place is this one: http://www.dwor.moscibrody.pl/
I don’t know if this is your thing. Nevertheless, whatever you decide, have a great trip.
All the best,
Speaking of which
I guess being an English speaker is a great sought after skill, why not put it to good use? I wasn’t in any rush to get whatever next destination. So I signed for the program, met up with the group of English-speaking volunteers in Warsaw the day before the program started, and off we went to some Polish town somewhere for a week. My teammates came from around the world and with different backgrounds – Scotland, England, Australia, Canada and the U.S. Some were even certified TEFL language teachers and some were just average Joes like me who were looking for a change of pace in their travels.
Here’s a quick rundown of Angloville and what you get:
- A free stay in a beautiful countryside resort in three countries: Poland, Hungary, and Romania
- A chance to meet, connect and learn from successful professionals from Central – Eastern Europe
- Invaluable teaching experience (with a free voucher for online TEFL course on completion of Angloville Weekend program AND Tandem House program)
- A week full of memories, new friends, and an introduction to a new culture.
- Free accommodation and food for six action-packed days.
- A free tour (lunch included) of Warsaw, Wrocław, Budapest or Bucharest (depending on which place you leave from).
- Free transportation from the departure city (Warsaw, Wrocław, Budapest or Bucharest) to the venue and back.
- An invaluable experience with local professionals/youth from Central and Eastern Europe.
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As an English-speaking volunteer, your job is to speak English to your student participants. The days are intensive but the time goes by quickly as activities and people you interact with change every hour. Throughout the life of the program, you can sense the Polish participant’s confidence growing as their English-speaking and writing abilities improve. They are, after all, taking this course to better their lives and you’re directly involved in that process. You will also become immersed in the culture and learn about the history of the people who have experienced it firsthand.
All I can say is, the experience was remarkable even if the days are long. The Polish participants started out shy but warmed up after some long conversations. I gained a lot from the cultural exchange just as much as the Polish participants did from improving their English. Best of all, you’re getting a free bed and 3 square delicious meals a day. There’s also a similar program in Spain called Diverbo. Maybe someday I’ll give it a go.
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A quick tip. Beware of a breakfast dish called Smalec. It looks deceiving. What looks like a hearty meatball is in reality made of pork lard and gristle. I gobbled one up one time during breakfast. The Polish participants saw what I did and the soured look on their faces and the ensuing burst of hysterical laughter after was priceless. Smalec was meant to be spread “sparingly” on bread, not eaten whole. I almost had a heart attack from that experience!