Justyna, one of the volunteers at IPC, has a few updates about her experiences at IPC. Read on for news about Valentine’s, ‘Fastelavn’, training courses and hiking trips!

“Time flies amazingly quickly! The second half of February was full of attractions. Starting from Valentine’s day when Student’s Council took the role of love letter messengers and prepare amazing decorations, Japanese students where preparing amazing cupcakes and we baked heart-shaped cookies. The same day we decided to have a break from serious movies in Human Rights Café and presented mocumentary about vampires from New Zeland to be less romantic. As a part of Valentine’s day celebration on Friday’s party we had karaoke with love songs where Pip was taking millions of photos with heart in background as a photo booth. Next week we had an opportunity to assist to a modern performance – non-verbal theatre play about relationships between people in the culture center in Elsinore.

The next day, I visited a library located in the same place with one of the classes where we could get to know Danish library system and thanks to that I got to know that I can request books for a book club! I visited with some of the students Malmo and Lund in Sweden at the weekend. We were very lucky with the accommodation – it occured that our hosts had sauna in their house. We really enjoyed the travel: more modern Malmo and students city – Lund, our slow-hygge meals and the sauna. On last week of February we focused in Human Rights Café on activities for the group that was going to visit Central Europe. We showed “Shindler’s list” with explanation about holocaust and I made a presentation about places to visit, food and events in Cracow – my hometown that was one of the places visited by students. At the weekend there was American Cultural Evening – students made a smooth transition from the performance to the Latin party on which Pip was also taking photos.

Sunday followed with celebration of Festelavn – Danish ending of carnival with event similar to piñata and preparing takoyaki – ball-shaped Japanese snack in the cooking club. The week was also full of attractions. I had an opportunity to go with one of the classes for a trip to Kopenhagen – first half was lead by a homeless person and on the second we visited Christiania. In the afternoon there were activities for contact groups: I joined the one that was cooking Italian food. Pip was hosting one of the other groups in Human Rights Café. In the evening we had a game night with our lovely coordinator! The same week we participated in a lecture with journalist David Trads about Trump and his politics. As the end of first trimester is slowly approaching, we had one of performance nigths with amazing drama class interpretation of Hans Christian Anders fairy tales, fantastic choir show and screening of the movies prepared by students on Movie Making Class. The same week I also went for the first time to watch a professional floorball game between our city and Linkoping in Sweden.

On the first week of March we participated in on-arrival training for EVS volunteers. It took place in scouts center close to Kolding in the south of Jutland located in very pictoresque area with lake and a lot of green fields. We met there 26 other volunteers from a lot of European countries – all of them staying all over Denmark and on totally different projects – only one was also volunteering in Danish folk high school as we do. We had three very experienced trainers. Workshops were organised in non-formal way – we were learning by doing and participating in games rather than listening to presentations. At the beginning we had a lot of team builiding and getting to know workshops – including outdoor activities in which a local dog was taking part willingly. Next, we focused on our projects and their presentation – I think we both can agree that a workshop in which we were asked to show our project in 3 dimentions by decorating a box was fantastic exercise. We had also workshops about learning styles and informal education, Danes and Danish culture, more about Erasmus projects and some useful information about the problems that we can encounter during EVS. One entire day we were reflecting about our future, connection between our EVS project and plans for incoming years, setting our learning goals and planning them in the time. We had a trip to Kolding where we visited the castle, in the free time we were supposed to make a short videos on which we ask in groups local people about something that we would like to know about Denmark. My curagious team even went to erotic store to ask shop assistant what kind of animal Denmark would be if it would be an animal. We also had Italian style dinner in local culture center. In the evenings we had free time – on the last one we had a party organised by volunteers and Pip – the same as at IPC – was responsible for photo booth. He cannot run away from this duty!
We came back to IPC on Friday evening – welcomed with hugs and kisses 🙂 In the evening there was a cosy party with manicure, face massage and masks. It was very nice to be back!

On the second part of alternative weeks I joined the hiking group that was going for a five days trekking to Jutland. The group was preparing for this trip one week in advance by learning how to cook in outdoor conditions, going for shorter walks and also by sleeping in tents in front of the school. The trail that we took is called „coast to coast” and leads from Western part of Jutland to the Eastern – it has almost one hundred kilometers. Our trip started early on Monday morning. We took three trains to reach Varde – our start point.

We hiked for five days. First and last was about 15 km and the three in the middle longer than 20 km. We were very lucky with the weather which is very unpredictable in Denmark – it was almost all the time sunny and without rain! Also our campisites were very well-equipped. We walked through very nice landscapes full of lakes and canals, saw deers and what might sound strange one alpaca. In the evenings we had bonfires with storytelling by Canadians, singing and games. Even though the conditions were rough, every meal that we were cooking was really delicious. We also had nice surprises: friends of Lars brought us tea and coffee one evening and pancakes the next morning. For me it was very challenging experience physically – even though I have already hiked several times, during this one I got a fever on the way and also a lot of blisters, but thanks to supportive companion, I was able to accomplish it. And as I’m planning to go hiking this summer, I also know that I have to continue practising so that the next one would be easier.”

Being a volunteer at IPC sounds pretty amazing, huh?