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Friederike - Riki

It's not my full name but it doesn't matter because everybody call me in this way. Even in my hometown Leipzig, Saxony. After the high-school, which I just finished before going to Warszawa, I needed to break out from my own flat, my daily habits and the habits of the people around me. And, of course, I love to travel and be in other countries! But before going to travel around the whole world (what I do next) I want to have some experience with living abroad. That’s why I decided to take part in the EVS project in general. Coming to Poland and especially to the Fundacja "Polsko-Niemieckie-Pojednanie" was more by chance. But I love history and politics and that's why it was perfect for me. So I came to the ugliest city in Poland. Here I fall in love with the industrial romance, the wisła, Praga, … . I work mainly in the social sector so I go as much as I can to my contemporary witnesses at home. There we do a lot of things , the greatest are dancing swing, cooking barszsc and have a conversation. I really like the feeling to see that I really can help them and they are looking forward to my next visit. All in all I just can say that i enjoy my staying time and i earned a lot for myself!


Jördis

I am Jördis and since November 2010 as an European volunteers for nine months in the Foundation. Before my volunteer service I also was able to explore Poland through various paddle breaks. However, the experiences of the past are out of proportion to what I'm learning now from this country and the city. Great! During my studies I concretized my intention to live from a long time abroad and to venture a little adventure. I am particularly intrigued by the possibility to collect impressions and experiences away from their familiar environment and to meet many new, nice and open-minded people. I got to know the Foundation through the EVS program (European Volunteer Services). Especially the ability to keep oneself busy with the history of Poland and Germany during the National Socialism and to visit victims of the Nazi regime and to support them in everyday life sparked my interest, to make an application as a volunteer in the Foundation. For me is it particularly important and interesting to learn about the personal and individual experience of the people, especially the victims. Currently I visit an elderly lady who spoiled me with her culinary skills. Our understanding language is Polish – despite of my limited language skills. With admiration and astonishment, I noticed how well our communication works. We often sit together with cake, tea and the dictionary and try to find the right words. I also work a lot in the office, and amongst others I correct already into German translated contemporary witness reports. This activity also allows me to get a deep insight into the individual experiences of the survivors and also expanded my knowledge about National Socialism. Similarly, I feel the discussions with the colleagues of the Foundation as a particularly valuable and enriching time. I experience Warsaw as a very pulsating city that offers diverse opportunities to explore the various culture and nightlife. It also has many beautiful spots, which are ideal for drinking coffee, enjoying and relaxing. In addition, the city also lives from its history, from which you are reminded by various points in Warsaw. I enjoy the time in the Foundation and Warsaw and am looking forward to more exciting months in this country.


Patrick

Dzień dobry! Hello! In the following I’d like to tell you, which kind of service I do and about my balance points . Like two other volunteers in foundation I’m EVS volunteer and was sent out by VIA e.V. in Fulda and I’m here since the beginning of September and i will stay presumably until June. My motivation to go to Poland was first and foremost influenced by my polish roots: My grandmother as well as my mother are born in Sopot. Due to the fact, that I never had learned really to speak polish, I had a quite big motivation to learn it in one year after my A-levels and therefore it’s important for me to speak it in a passably acceptable way, in order to communicate with some relatives of mine. Furthermore I’m very interested in history of Second World War and I’ve got a big knowledge which I could amend many perspectives from many different time witnesses and sources. I consider my EVS particularly as a chance to have a go at many things and to make experiences, which could be useful for me in future – and on top of that, I enjoy the freedom which is granted to us.


Anne

My name is Anne and I am from Eibau, which is located in the south-eastern part of Saxony in Germany. I'm 18 years old and after my final examinations I wanted to do something different before I begin to study. The European Voluntary Service was the perfect way to get to know another culture and language and to do something practical for one year. Now I'm working for 9 months in the Foundation Polish-German Reconciliation as a volunteer. The idea to go to Poland was born through many cultural German-Polish-Czech projects which I attended in my area. And because I am very interested in historical stuff the Foundation was one of the best projects I could have find. Besides the work in the office I will also work at the elderly people's home, in the archive and at the people's private homes.


Jona

Hello there! I'm from Germany and I came to Poland just by chance, but so far I really like it here. Especially since Warsaw is in the middle between Berlin and Riga, Latvia where I used to live for one year. Now I live in another capital, in Warsaw. It's a lot bigger than my hometown in Germany, it's bigger than Riga, but I like it. I use to say that Warsaw is the new Berlin: it's still cheap, there is a lot going on already, and there is a lot of potential left in the different districts of Warsaw even if most of them do not appeal to visitors due to striking beauty. Still, the possiblities to discover seem sheer endless and especially in Praga you stumble upon classy bars or cafes where you would have never expected them. It's lovely to have the opportunity to get to know fellow volunteers and the usually very open Polish people who are always impressed if you are able to command some basic Polish. Now the harsh winter limits the possibilities for travelling, but I hope to explore more of Poland as soon as the days start to become longer.


Eggert
My name is Eggert Kristjánsson, I am 20 years old and I come from Reykjavík, Iceland. I am actually brought up in a small village called Bú?ardalur which is in a region called Dalirnir.
I have been with the Foundation as an EVS volunteer since September and my stay here is intended to be 9 months. This is sort of my gap year between finishing college and trying to decide what I would like study when I go for higher studies.
Since I am an EVS volunteer I applied to dozens of projects all over Europe. You are supposed to choose a programme based on it's content but not location. What interested me was the programme itself, it being in Poland was just a big plus. In Iceland there is not much known about Poland nor Poles and what is "known" and said is not true and based on prejudice.
In Iceland as well there is generally not much known about post-communist countries because people very rarely go and visit them. I must admit that despite many, many differences between Poland and Iceland that Poland in no sense "less" in any way compared to Iceland. - In Iceland there are 320,000 inhabitants whereas in Poland they are 38 million.
At the Foundation I do a range of work e.g. visit senior homes and work at the office or the Archive. By having diversed task you are always getting to know something new and after work Warsaw has a lot to offer.
If you are a volunteer thinking about applying to this programme I strongly recommend that you do. It can not be avoided to get homesick or have second thoughts when you go and stay abroad as a volunteer, but being at the Foundation and being in Poland will help you overcome these lesser factors of being a volunteer.


Ana

I live by the Atlantic Ocean in the warm latitudes of Porto, Portugal. Now I'm facing the Polish Winter in Warszawa. Today it started to snow, and I didn't know the snow could be so aggressive. I thought it was more like in the cartoons: little pieces of ice, similar to cotton that would slowly fall from the sky. What was I thinking choosing Poland for EVS? Well, it is just one of the hundreds of things I will discover. How to survive in the Polish Winter (Zima), slowly I'll understand more and more what people are talking about in the trams (I hope), and little by little I will feel more inside the Polish culture. I am 22 years old, I've finished recently my Astronomy Degree and I thought it was time to expand the limits of my little world, to speak a language I knew nothing about, to become friends with people from places so East of Europe like Ukraine or so North as Iceland, to try different tasks from those I am used to, as working in an office, and with elder people.. I am still in the beginning, we'll see what experiences, adventures, accomplishments, stories these months will bring.


Lothaire

My name is Lothaire, I'm French coming From Paris even if I'm living In Warsaw. I'm 20 years old , Rugbyman and loving sports, music and History. I really feel like European and this is why I decided to take part in the E.V.S project to meet people from all over Europe and built together the European Culture by sharing all our cultures. I chose to work in the FPNP to be close to history , to share with people their experiences and to be a witness in the future and tell to people that I met some victims , and that what happened must never happen again.


Jannik

Hello everybody, my name is Jannik, I was born in Bremen, Germany and I am also a volunteer in the foundation: "Polish German Reconciliation". With support from "Aktion Sühnezeichen Fiedensdienste", a German organization, I am working in Warsaw for one year until August 2010. From my point of view this historical and social project is really interesting and maybe I will consider to work or study in this field in the future But why it is so special for me? First of all politics and history are my favorite topics in life. It means that I am reading a lot, I am visiting conferences and I want to know everything about the history of Poland, especially Warsaw. In addition to that it is included in my work to help and visit the older people who survived concentration camps or the "Warsaw Uprising" in their houses. These people can tell you many stories or personal experiences about their life in the past. Sometimes it is very hard to listen to the sad, inhuman stories. Nevertheless I totally like the combination of social work and history. Every day stands for new experiences and fun. In the foundation there is a real nice atmosphere to work, write and talk. By the way Warsaw, the capital of Poland is one of the best places I ever visited. All in all I love my project but twelve months its a little bit to short for me. Nice greetings from Poland: Jannik


Tobi

I'm Tobi and come from Germany from Neubrandenburg. My home town lies between Berlin, the Baltic Sea and Szczecin. I'm 18 years old and now I live for more than 3 month in Warszawa. In 2009 I finished school. In the last years I struggled with my "wanderlust". Mentally I lived somewhere else than in my town. I spend much time in Berlin, my "second home". I can not sit still, I need the possibilities and the challenge. I like Berlin very much, but Warszawa has something to Berlin. Warszawa satisfied my desire to be in the distance. Poland's capital is a physical very young and dynamic city with a interesting history. You can discover always new places with a unique atmosphere. It seems that the amount of clubs, bars and galleries you want to see becomes bigger and bigger day by day. Everything is booming here. I like the crazy contrasts. Warszawa is like an inside tip in Europe. But city life is exhausting. For this is good to meet people with the same problems and similar impressions and feelings. The EVS gives you this great chance. I don't feel boredom and I also don't feel like turn into a zombie. I mean through the great work in FPNP I have much stimulus. One of the best is meeting the contemporary witnesses – the Nazi victims. This force you to much reflection. It creates a bridge to the history and the past of my family, my grandparents. Both countries have a common history. Unfortunately often we don't be aware of this. From Germany I only go by train 7 and half hours to Warszawa. On the one hand metropolis seems to be a completely different world with influences from many sides like the former Soviet Union or the strong curch. But on the other side it is so close to Western Europe. Luckily Poland lies in nowadays in the heart of Europe and you can feel this on the street. Poles are so interested in other cultures and they like to be with foreigners. I only can recommend the polish hosting skills...


Kasia

Hello, my name is Kasia .I'm a volunteer in the Foundation since September and I'm going to stay in Warsaw a whole year. I'm 19 years old and I was born in Ratzeburg, in Germany. My parents are from Poland, so I don't have any problems with the Polish language. My main tasks are working in the office and in the old people's home. Besides, I visit two older women twice a week. We drink tea, talk and sometimes I do their shopping. It's nice to see, how happy they are, when I come and that's why I decided to do this voluntary service. After thirteen years school I wanted to do something not just for me, but also for other people in need. Also I learn something about the Polish and European history and I meet interesting people. Living in the capital of Poland is very exciting and there are many different possibilities for young people. In the end I would like to say that I really like my work and I can recommend it to everybody.

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