Teaching English abroad during the summer sounds like a good idea to many students, combining the opportunity to travel and the chance to contribute to society. However, many available programmes show a preference for students with teaching qualifications, or who are currently studying teaching courses. That was until I found a ‘golden ticket’ among my college e-mails from Trinity, advertising for students from any course to teach abroad together with Learning Enterprises (a non-profit, student-run organization) during the summer.
After sending in my application and going through interviews, I was able to teach in Niedrzwica Duża Lublin (Poland). I had a fantastic 5 weeks as I fully submerged myself into Polish culture, living with two amazing families in the village. They treated me like an adopted member of the family and taught me about their customs, their language and their history (as well as their delicious food!) Their cuisine included pierogi (dumplings), flaki (tripe soup), kabanosy/parówki (different sausages) and so much cake! They brought me to see more than their village, and ensured I was exposed to Poland as much as possible.
Teaching students ranging from 5 – 18 years old was an interesting challenge. We were given full freedom of what to teach them and how to do so. Activities ranged from labeling body parts with sticky notes to acting out daily conversational situations, such as buying ice cream from the local shopkeeper (in this case, me). Teaching them made me appreciate my own teachers as it is not an easy task being simultaneously creative, patient, loving and stern. My students also taught me several Polish words in return, such as nie rozumiem (I don’t understand) and dziękuję pani (thank you ma’am).
My experience in Poland was incomparable to anything I had ever experienced. The amusement of children when I attempted to speak Polish, the love of my foster families, the gratitude of my students, and the unexpected way in which Poland touched my heart, all made it an unforgettable memory. I could never have had these experiences if it were not for Learning Enterprises, and that ‘golden email’ from Trinity.
Audrey is a Student Ambassador in the Global Room.