My final article – Andres
At the beginning of the project, my English level was not so fluent. I had the chance to improve my skills through the continuous use of the language in daily life, interacting with the other volunteers in an international environment, at my workplace with the colleagues and local people from Sokolowsko.
As for my Polish level, I did not improve it so much because we did not have regular Polish lessons. I tried on my own, using different mobile apps and interacting with the local people from Sokolowsko. Mostly, I feel that I improved my listening skills.
On the other hand, I have also been practising Italian language again. I had a language tandem with another Italian volunteers that I met during my project in Poland.
I have been living alone for a year in a tiny studio located in a tiny village surrounded by beautiful and inspirational forest and mountains. I have spent most of my free time hiking around and travelling. Regarding to this, I think I have learned a lot on a personal level, to face loneliness and fear, and live happily surrounded by simplicity, to take care of my metal and physical wellbeing. I also have been learning a lot by myself about the surrounding nature and working on my own projects during my free time.
I have learned how to communicate properly to solve problems and to find solutions, to share work space and facilities, respecting everyone’s needs building mutual trust. Using non verbal communication I tried to create a nice and a friendly atmosphere during communication with others, mastered listening and supporting, realizing what peoples’ expectations, difficulties and desires are.
During this year I have had the opportunity to meet part of the Polish local people of Sokolowsko, either young and older people. There are two types of locals, people from Sokolowsko and people who moved to Sokolowsko in the past 10 years. Regarding this, as being involved in social and cultural activities with both groups of people, it was very interesting to know their different points of view about Sokolowsko, the reasons of living here, the ways of living, their local dicussions about the fact of that Sokolowsko is getting popular and more external activities are taking place there, so also how these activities are influencing the village and the surroundings.
I have been involved in four festivals: Kulturalna Czerwcówka w Sokołowsku (3-6/06/21), Hommage à Kieslowski (27/6/21 – 28/8/21), Konteksty Sokołowsko (29/7/21 – 01/8/21), Sanatorium of Sound (13-15/8/21). During these festivals, I was working mainly as a Sound Technician and a lot of physical work too related to the preparation of the festivals.
In the first festival, I was working as a sound technician and team leader of the volunteers, so the producer and the head technician were in close contact with me and I had to manage the time efficiently, to take decision and solve any problem quickly from the beginning till the end of each day.
On the other hand, the other volunteers and I have been working as a team on the creation of a digital map of Sokolowsko. Each of us had different tasks and ideas. We were interviewing local people asking about their stories, their past in this village, taking pictures about architecture details, ruins and historical buildings. During this project I recorded soundscapes in specific places in Sokolowsko, to be uploaded in the digital map. It was very interesting to excercise active listening in different spots of the area and at the same time the work of storing and cataloguing all the sound recordings.
As I told before, we have been involved in four festivals about contemporary art and music, sound art and film. In addition, other cultural events have been taking place in the village too and not related to the festivals. I had the opportunity to be involved in different kinds of art and cultural expression, as well as I met many artists so I could understand better their point of view and way of living.
On the other hand, it was also very interesting to spend the Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Sokolowsko, so I was able to experience it with only Polish people and following their traditions. I also enjoyed a lot to have international dinners and showing my cooking skills to the Polish people, so we could exchange our knowledge from our different cultures and gastronomy.
During this year I managed my activities regarding to my work and my free time in calendar that I made in Excel and I kept updated in Google Drive. This calendar has been very useful mostly when I needed to plan new activities for the future and see how I can manage all of them.
I have learned new digital tools thanks the arrival and mid online training from National Agency. These tools are related to online working groups, ways of express and sharing ideas via different online platforms.
I have improved my skills in managing my expenses and income. To do this, I created a table in Excel where I have been including all the expenses and income to make a record of what I spend the most on and what I spend the least on.
On the other hand, I have been working on projects in which I have had to learn and improve my computer skills with creative software such as Adobe Premiere (video), Gimp/Photoshop (graphic design), iZotope RX (audio editing), Reaper and Ableton Live (audio mixing and mastering).
Cross-cultural communication, stress management, self confidence, commitment, active listening, keen eye for details, etc., are aptitudes that I developed during this year. In conclusion, I highly recommend taking part in an EVS experience.