Ever since I lived in Saudi Arabia as a young child, I have had incurable wanderlust! Ibn Battuta has a quote that says "Travel will leave you speechless, then it will turn you into a storyteller." Every culture and every person has a story to tell; my life is a collection of these stories. I was looking to spread my wings and become even more independent and inspired.
Why did you choose Angloville over other TEFL program providers?
At first, I found the Anglo-TEFL scholarship online and I thought that it must have been too good to be true! How can it be that I am offered a TEFL certification course and hands-on experience with free food and accommodation? I did research and found many reviews that showed me that this was an opportunity that I would be wise to take!
What was your favorite part about Poland?
I could go on about the rich artistic history of Poland, or the intricate architecture, but my favorite part of Poland was learning these things from local people who gave me a picture of the funny side of Poland, like Lily the pig, the 600 pound pig who lived with a family in a flat in the center of Warsaw! It was also very wonderful to visit the homeland of Chopin, the great classical composer.
What made your experience abroad unique?
I made so many friends who shared their perspectives with me. My skills, whether teaching or navigation, were expanded.
How did the local staff support you throughout your program?
The staff are exceptional! They did an excellent job preparing us for our task as well as making sure we had what we needed to complete what we came to do. They helped me with everything from printing a bus ticket to laundry to how to explain a difficult word.
What surprised you most about Poland?
I was surprised how many times the borders had changed in the last 200 years.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I have no regrets. I would have liked to do one more Angloville program, to experience Romania or a different age group.
Describe a typical day in the life of your program.
Breakfast buffet in the restaurant at 9:00 a.m., one-on-one conversations with Polish participants, which could be as simple as going for a walk or having a cup of tea. Group activities, lunch, a few more one-on-one conversations, then dinner and entertainment hour, which was usually group games, but sometimes music, and then social time until you choose to call it a night.
What did you enjoy doing in your free time?
I took time to write and play music, enjoy the sauna, and play foosball in the game room. Our Angloville team also played quite a bit of chess! We even made up chess with different rules and called it "Chaos Chess."
What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?
We were hosted at Hotel Chojnik in a picturesque location outside of Wrocław. It was well equipped, and I was impressed with the pickle soup! We had spacious rooms that often had a balcony. There was even a pyramid built on the hotel grounds! The surrounding area was birch forest with a castle to explore within walking distance.
How difficult was it to communicate with locals?
Since this was a program specifically designed to increase English skills, it was fairly easy to communicate.
What was the hardest part about going abroad?
Having to come back home again! The adventure quotient is high when you are getting a fresh perspective. It was quite mentally and socially stimulating to be involved in this cultural experience.
What advice do you have for future participants?
Much attention is required! The Polish participants are depending on you to help them with English fluency, accuracy and vocabulary. Those three words became a mantra during my time at Angloville. Social time is really quite fun, but make sure you have enough rest to give your best the next day. Also, keep an eye out for Polish the quirky sense of humor, like the tiny brass gnome statues that cavort in the streets of Wrocław!
Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Poland?
Pack a few extra layers, a fun game to share, and a flashlight!
Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?
Besides gaining valuable certification, which opens doors for a job and a life abroad, I have learned so much more about the world around me and myself. I know that my world is filled with so many rich stories, and all of us are woven together in the tapestry of life.
It's so easy to take things for granted, but travel is a way to go forward with open eyes and a full experience.
Would you recommend Angloville to others? Why?
Angloville is a truly exceptional organization! From the very beginning, they were communicative and answered all of my questions via email. Once I arrived, the program coordinators went out of their way to make sure I found the meeting spot in Poland, made sure I was able to have vegetarian meals (which is no small feat in Poland!), and were very friendly and helpful. I learned firsthand in a very natural way how to teach English skills. Angloville is based on conversations with participants from Poland, or Romania. It's a fantastic way to make new friendships that last.
If you could go abroad again, where would you go?
I would like to explore African islands, such as Madagascar and Mauritius.
When Olive was very young, she always loved playing arpeggios on her tiny piano and recording songs on a portable tape player. Many things have changed, but that has stayed the same. Olive is an audio engineer and multi-instrumental songwriter. She travels often and has seen over 20 countries. Olive makes creative technology based summer camp experiences for people who love electronic music, graphic design, and just plain having a great summer!