Long-Term in Wolow (Poland)

Summary

After the students’ selection process which was done during the first half of June 2021, a hectic second half of June with the SEPIE’s online course, students’ fully COVID’s vaccination, the due paperwork for the mobility had us really entertained! Working with Inga, the Polish Coordinator was a pleasure. She was always eager to help and we exchanged papers in due time. We shouldn’t forget that at that time there were still COVID19 travelling restrictions and paperwork to be issued to track departures and entries from and into European countries. We were wearing masks all day and nobody could guess if you were sad or happy unless you screamed or cried!!!

And all of a sudden… departure arrived!!!

It was very early in the morning. 3:30 am of the 20th September 2021, and parents, students and our Erasmus coordinator Maya were in front of our school, IES Thos i Codina in Mataró, ready to have a picture taken for future generations. We were feeling like astronauts who are about to endeavor the most difficult travel to outer space! Half asleep, enthusiastic, intrigued and a 40% nervous. Nonetheless, at the edge to step into a unique and a lifetime experience. They were about to spend three months in Wolów a lovely small village close to Wroclaw in the South Silesian part of Poland.

We had already met our partners and host families either by Instagram, by phone calls or videocalls. Ariadna and Ainhoa studied 12th grade and were hosted by Natazscha. Klaudia,Ramon and Maya  worked on their weekly schedules based on their academic goals. They studied optional/modality subjects (English, History, P.E., Music,Art) in English at the Polish school with CLIL teachers and core subjects such as Catalan or Spanish with home teachers via Moodle. In their schedules, they all had “self-study” / spare hours for homework or to organize tasks. During “self-study” hours they had a place reserved for them in the school library. However, academic issues were not the only and most important objectives of this mobility. The development of soft skills such as self-knowledge, self-organization to achieve autonomy, self-responsibility, knowledge and understanding of other cultures, opinions and tolerance, as well as the Erasmus project about finding new strategies to improve social inclusion in their schools and home towns, comprised the global achievements due for our students to acquire. Ramon accompanied the students to Wolów and, as they arrived, a surprise was waiting . A three-day outing to Gdansk with the rest of students and staff. Ramon was also invited. It was a wonderful welcome!!!!

 

But let’s go back to reality. Once back in Wolów….

Tutorships with Ramon were done on a weekly basis via videocalls and with Klaudia presential tutorships once a week according to schedule. Fall came; lesson started to be harder, new acquaintances, outings with families, parties with new friends and days became shorter and shorter. Cold arrived and Ariadna and Ainhoa were smoothly adapting to this new culture and routines.

Time flew as fall became cold as winter and the first snow flakes covered Wolów. They couldn’t believe it was time to go back home. They didn’t want to. Now they felt part of Wolów and they had got used to their routines. Ainhoa and Ari had learnt some words in Polish  and they knew exactly how to move around all the town,

On the 10th December 2021, Ramon accompanied the two students back home. Nobody wanted to come back. They said: “Three months is not enough. We need more. Now we are situated in this culture. Now we can absorb and take advantage of what we’ve got”. But the experience was over. They had to come back to their reality.

 

The second part of this unique experience started when Judith and Marc were chosen for a second long-term mobility to Wolów from the 6th of April to the 6th of June. Both students were in 10th grade and enthusiastic to start this experience. Ramon was in charge to lead them to Wolów once again and to pick them up at the end of the mobility.

 

In this case, they had previous knowledge of their hosts because both had already hosted the Polish students Franek and Ida from January to March in their mobility to Mataró. So, now, they were eager to meet their partners in their home town and atmosphere.