This summer I spent 4 weeks teaching English in Eastern Europe. I spent three weeks in Poland and one week in Romania. This work was all volunteer work, the programmes were a week long and they were similar to what you might expect from a summer camp. I was volunteering for a company called Angloville who focus on teaching through language immersion which means that I did not need any formal teaching experience. At first, I was extremely apprehensive to take part as it would mean spending almost half my summer away from home in an unfamiliar country and travelling alone. However, I decided to do it as I believed it would help me to improve my own personal independence and would be good practice for the coming September as I would be going on my year abroad. As a thank you for volunteering, the company also gave me a discounted TEFL course which I completed throughout the summer and am happy to be able to say that I am now qualified to Teach English as a Foreign Language. I worked on junior programmes, which ranged from ages 10-19. I had a wonderful time volunteering with Angloville; it was a great way for me to meet like-minded people, try new activities and improve my overall confidence. I found it very rewarding working with young people and seeing them improve in their confidence when speaking English. Due to the teaching being mainly through prolonged and structured conversation it meant that teachers were able to form deep connections with the participants which made their progress even more rewarding for us. I faced many challenges during my time abroad; the days were extremely long and draining. However, in hindsight, I realise that this was a great opportunity for me to learn how to manage my own energy levels and I was able to discover exactly what my limits are in a work environment. The nature of the programmes meant that I was talking pretty much all day which at the time seemed extremely difficult but with practice came improvement in my overall confidence, resilience and interpersonal skills.
The volunteers were mostly backpackers from English speaking countries all around the world, which means that I now have connections and a network of people all around the world; from Canada to South Africa.
My summer volunteering abroad has allowed me to become a more rounded person. Not only have I improved a large number of key skills, I have also found a new appreciation for different cultures, all of which I could not have accomplished without the Go Abroad fund.
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