Tuesday, July 8, 2014

First Week of Language Camp

On Saturday, June 28, we left Siedlce around 6 AM in the morning with about about 16 student campers.

Then we traveled for about 30 minutes to Minsk Maz where we picked up campers who came from the area west of Minsk. Then we turned south towards Krakow and about 10 minutes later pulled into a public bus stop where we picked up the final student camper. We had a total of 21 -- 11 young men and 10 young women. They range in age from 15- 17 years primarily. We stopped for about 10 minutes once for a "facilities" break and we also stopped at the McDonald's in Radom for 30 minute break. Since I didn't have morning coffee in the sack lunch breakfast I got at my hotel at 5:45 AM I was most appreciative of this break.

We arrived at the Krakow airport about one hour earlier than the travel has been for the previous years. I thought the road construction projects in Poland are finally paying off in shorter travel across the country. There we found the other Global Volunteers. They come from Wisconsin, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and California.

We then left for Zakopane arriving at the hotel in Koscielski about 5:15. We settled into our rooms and then enjoyed a wonderful evening meal at 6:30. We later gathered for a short meeting to introduce ourselves and learned about the schedule for the next couple of days.

On Sunday, June 29 we gathered for the usual meeting where we established team goals and identified characteristics of an effective team -- identifying how we work together. These activities took most of the morning. We enjoyed the midday meal and then for the afternoon went into Zakopane.

I enjoyed ice cream at a new shop in Zakopane.
 I had yummy chocolate ice cream with nuts and the one that looks white is smetana, something I like in Central Europe. It's not exactly like vanilla ice cream in the United States -- actually smetana I like better -- I never eat vanilla ice cream at home unless I'm putting it on a piece of cherry pie!

During the early evening the Polish staff introduced themselves to us and we later met the students. As they introduced themselves they were evaluated for their English skill so that students at about the same level were put together into one class. I was assigned three young women -- all about 15 years old. Two come from Warsaw and one comes from a small town east of Siedlce.

When I met them that evening I asked them what they wanted to learn. One immediately identified she wanted to learn about American culture. The next day we explored this again and found also one wanted to learn how to use English as Americans do. They are wonderful young women and I'm really enjoying my time with them

We've worked on phrasal verbs, one thing they don't appear to learn from their British English textbooks. We have explored homonyms and homophones. Homophones are words that are exactly the same but have two unrelated meanings such as making change and change the baby. Homonyms are words that sound alike but spelled differently such as ate and eight. We also used Jingo and Bingo games and they enjoy also playing a game Apples to Apples. Apples to Apples introduces adjectives and then nouns that go with the adjective.

On July 3 we provided a July 4 celebration, since this year July 4 is a Friday and some of us were going to Krakow after the mid-day meal.

The purpose of the bonfire was to make S'mores. Often Polish students tell me marshmallows are too sweet, but this group seemed to like them very much.

So it has been a busy first week, and when I have a minute I'll write about my adventures in Krakow for the weekend.

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