SERVE AND LEARN IN POLAND WITH AMIZADE
Former concentration camps in Germany and Poland have been turned into centers of historical learning, mourning, and remembrance. Because the last generation of Holocaust survivors will pass away within the next two decades, future generations will have no opportunity to learn directly from a Holocaust survivor. Therefore, the importance of historical representation in memorial sites like concentration camps and Holocaust museums is more important now than ever. Honoring the last remaining Holocaust survivors and working to ensure the events of the Holocaust are never forgotten is an important and rare opportunity.
Through visits to historic sites in Germany and Poland, participants learn about the Holocaust and become a stronger part of the community committed to remembrance and bearing witness. Volunteers have the unique opportunity to engage in direct service work at the Auschwitz Museum. Yet the program focuses on the broader, community-driven moral and ethical question of how to continue daily work to ensure Holocaust victims’ lives are honored and that such an historic atrocity never occurs again
Location: Oświęcim, Poland; Krakow, Poland, Berlin, Germany
Service Opportunities: Maintaining and upgrading the grounds at Auschwitz and at the Jewish cemetery in Oswiecim, preserving artifacts.
HOW TO PLAN A PROGRAM
We pride ourselves in creating mutually empowering and safe global service-learning programs. This means that when you develop an experience with Amizade, you’re building a responsible, intentional, and community-driven service-learning program. Programs typically have three phases: (1) pre-immersion, (2) immersion, and (3) re-entry. Amizade works with you in all three phases to develop your program, including to build curriculum, itineraries, budgets, evaluation, follow-up, and sustainability.
The first step in building your program is to have a chat with us. We’re a people-powered organization, which means a little less tech and a little more human conversation. Send us an email, give us a ring or fill out this form to initiate the start of your journey.
Once we’re all feeling good about a potential collaboration and have a clear, co-created vision, Amizade and its partners submit a proposal to you. The proposal will include an overview of what you might be engaging in, a draft itinerary, health and safety information, and a transparent line-item budget.
After the proposal is agreed on, we send over a digital contract. This includes important legal and financial considerations. After a signed contract and a non-refundable $1,000 deposit are submitted, we can officially lock in your dates and begin the process of preparing for your program.
This phase includes pre-departure orientations (we mandate at least one with our staff), learning about the process of travel, culture, service, and the community you are visiting. This is also when family and community sensitization takes place, as well as any relevant coursework. Often this is when we see group bonding start, comfort zones being extended, and new challenges (as well as some nerves and excitement).
This is the travel phase. Community engagement, reflective practice, academic inquiry, and exploration all should be taking place at this time. All of our programs are a mixture of service, workshops, and cultural and recreational activities. Participants will step out of their comfort zones, try new things, engage complex issues, be introduced to new networks and ideas, and bond. Often this can be a very disrupting, inspiring, and transformational experience.
After a transformative experience, we sometimes can fall right back into the grind of life when we return home. It can be tough, isolating, and confusing. Re-entry is perhaps the most important phase for determining what kind of neighbor – the very person – you become. It’s also the easiest to ignore. In this phase, there should be serious reflection, advocacy, support systems, and/or a plan for community engagement, or social action. Depending on the design and funding of your program, Amizade can help create a plan and opportunities for participants.
Since 1994 we have been thought leaders and pioneers in developing best practices in responsible global service-learning, study abroad, and solidarity-building volunteering experiences. We work with:
Universities (faculty-led, alternative break, and semester abroad)
Community and Religious Groups
OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Service opportunities in Poland are primarily focused on education, preservation, and remembrance. Former concentration camps in Poland have been turned into centers of historical learning, mourning, and remembrance.
Poland Site Diretor
Dr. Matthias Hass
Germany Site Director
Find a sample itinerary of activities for groups in Poland.