Hi everyone! We are Federico from Italy and Alina from Ukraine, and currently we are doing our European Voluntary Service in Bona Fides located in Katowice, Poland. We are engaged in 2 projects, both of them being focused on integrating foreigners into the Polish society and community building in Katowice.
Our main goal is to improve the lives of foreigners living in Katowice, to bring their problems local decision-makers and to make their voices heard, as well as making Katowice an attractive place in the world map for foreigners to live and develop. In this context, one of the most important things we do is getting engaged with the international community in Katowice, collecting their feedbacks and opinions and establishing contacts with the leaders of these communities.
We believe that this project can bring a positive change to the lives of foreigners in Katowice, as they will feel safer and more integrated, as well as more involved into the live of Polish society.
Another important element of our EVS in Bona Fides is helping the organization conduct current tasks, such as contributing to existing partnerships and projects, promoting the organization`s activities, etc.
We are strongly convinced that EVS is a unique opportunity for young people to develop themselves, gain unique skills and experience in the field of youth work, as well as the work of an NGO. Being a part of a diverse international team enriches your horizons, makes you more confident in who you are and what you do, as well as makes you step out your comfort zone. In fact, we faced many challenges already in our first weeks in Katowice and we had to figure out the best way to start our activities. Working with different kind of people, such as children, seniors, foreigners and homeless, requires creativity and flexibility and thinking about how to plan it and then realize it in a practical way was stimulating and incredibly satisfying.
Spending all your time in the intercultural environment helps you learn more and more about other cultures and countries, deepen your knowledge about the traditions of other cultures, and learn new languages.
During the 3 weeks of our service in Bona Fides, we have already learned plenty of new interesting thing, shared our cultures and ideas, established important contacts and friendships.
A great moment for us was the Welcome Meeting we had in our office when we were introduced to all the Bona Fide’s members. We shared our stories, our experiences and of course some of our traditional food. We tasted delicious dishes from different countries, Ukrainian dumplings, Spanish tortillas, Italian pasta and sweets and of course a lot of Polish and Silesian typical food.
What makes EVS in Bona Fides even better is the incredibly warm and friendly atmosphere within the organization which makes feel like home and gives you the inspiration to work, develop and learn.
Last week we took part in the on-arrival training for all EVS volunteers held in Warsaw, and we can surely say that this was an unforgettable experience! We met new people from other cities of Poland, we had interesting trainings on various topics such as rights and responsibilities of EVS volunteers, how to solve conflicts, emotions and cultural shock, work with kids and homeless, how to teach a language. We believe that our participation in this training gave us the knowledge required for fulfilling our tasks during the EVS, as well as the inspiration and energy for it!