Anna Jurczak – IVLP 2017, American Language: English Teachers

Experience is growth – national heritage, culture and travel

My adventure began on the east coast, in the much snow-covered for this time of the year Washington D.C. (March 2017). Then I moved to the sunny, though cold, Philadelphia and New York, and then flew to Seattle on the west coast of the USA. I spent the next part of the expedition in the rather cool Des Moines in the central state of Iowa, and ended in the summer climate of New Orleans. In addition to organized tours with tour guides in individual cities, together with other participants of the program, we drew a handful of opportunities to visit selected places on our own. I participated in many performances and concerts, including those spontaneous on the enchanting streets of New Orleans. I even managed to get tickets for a football match and basketball game with Marcin Gortat playing the first fiddle!

Never stop learning – professional development and a global view on teaching

As part of the program, I had the opportunity to participate in discussions on current trends in education, ongoing changes and forthcoming news. What’s more, many classes were devoted to history, democratic traditions and the general outline of social, political, economic and cultural life of the country and their influence on the development of language.

I had the opportunity to watch lessons in public and private schools at various levels, with different profiles and in different local environments. This was the basis for exchanging views and discussing the methods of teaching, techniques, forms and organization of work and the possibilities of coping with difficulties. Visits to local departments of education have made me aware of the diversity of the education system, curricula and external examinations as well as the ways of defining the role of the teacher and the requirements for it in particular states and other countries around the world. In addition, a trip to different cities in smaller groups allowed us to focus on common challenges we encounter on a daily basis and fostered the search for effective solutions for use in our workplaces.

The IVLP program is finally a multi-day international conference TESOL 2017 in Seattle, Washington, during which I had the opportunity to participate in many lectures and talk to renowned experts in my field!

Beyond boundaries – relations matter most

During the trip I got to know and repeatedly cooperated with people of different nationalities, races, religions and views. Daily contact with the other twenty-four representatives of countries from around the world (including Libya, Nicaragua, India, Paraguay, Japan, Croatia and Iraq) encouraged to look on domestic culture from a wider perspective, supported critical thinking and provided an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and experience, and learning from each other. In addition, the program has become the beginning of many friendships, regardless of distance and cultural differences.

Participation in IVLP was a great professional and personal experience for me. Excellent organization, diversity of activities, new experiences, the opportunity to learn about cultural richness and the geographical and natural diversity of the United States and international contacts are among the most important advantages of the program. The trip has certainly become an inspiration for me and motivates me to remain active in the local environment.