Need: Poland (Team Leader)
Opportunities are available working with International students. Please contact email@example.com
What is Poland like?
Poland is a country in central Europe, the most populous post-communist country in the EU. Its neighbours include Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania.
Poland is home to not only the beautiful and historical city of Krakow, with the largest market square in Europe, but also the vastly interesting and picturesque Warsaw, Gdansk, and the mountainous Wisła. The Polish people are very friendly with a reputation for kind hospitality.
It’s a country with a fast growing student population. The number of students in higher education has increased four times over the last 15 years, with some experts putting the number of university students at around 2 million, most of these unreached and currently uninterested in the Gospel message.
What is the current state of the work?
The Chrześcijańskie Stowarzyszenie Akademickie (ChSA), also known as the Christian Students Association, celebrated its 20th anniversary in October 2009. Since its founding, student fellowships in various cities have been founded and grown. In some cases, the ministries have struggled and sometimes even disappeared. The stability of these fellowships largely depends on the availability of national staff workers, consistency of volunteers, and commitment of graduates once they have finished their studies. Some cities have strong and thriving groups, such as Wrocław. Some cities have smaller groups, but could use staff support, such as Warsaw. And some cities, for example Poznan and Rzeszow, have had strong groups in the past but, for various reasons, the work there has ended. There are currently efforts to restart these fellowships to make an impact on the very large student populations in these cities. To have new InterAction staff would be a great help to those trying to re-establish a Christian student witness on their campuses and to those cities with large numbers of students but no staff support. While it is very encouraging that the work has persevered these past 20 years through a tumultuous national economy, new staff are more than welcome to bring new energy and creativity to the current work.
ChSA is working with students, international students and young graduates. We have student groups in almost every university city in the country. As a Catholic country, there is a problem when working with students, as trust needs to be built effectively before the Gospel can be shared. Although living in a Catholic country may seem like an advantage, there often appears to be no interest in true Christianity as many are so familiar with the subject that they are almost desensitized to the impact of the true Gospel message.
During the academic year the main focus of the work is weekly meetings with twice yearly leadership training and summer and winter camps. The main group who runs the work are volunteers and leaders, although there are a few staff workers as well. One of our main focuses is to be able to understand and identify with student culture and to see the unique needs of students within the polish culture.
InterAction staff would be of great importance as they could invest the time into developing friendships with students and cultivation groups that are in desperate need of staff.
What do teams do?
Teams in Poland support the needs of the national movement. Teams in the past, when large, have been spread across the major cities in Poland to support the student work in their cities through hosting Bible studies, leading discussion groups, organizing events, and training leaders. They would also gather as a team in different cities a few times during the academic year to provide support or to help the local group host a larger-scale outreach. When the team has been small, it would live together in one or two cities to pioneer a local fellowship and disciple and train students to lead Bible studies, or to support already existing groups. Types of outreaches and activities of team members include street dramas and evangelism, concerts, handing out copies of the New Testament, leaflets and surveys, engaging in conversation after a lecture or drama presentation, hosting meals in their homes, and meeting with students in the dorms, student centres, or cafés to be a source of encouragement, prayer, and friendship.
What requirements are there?
It is an advantage if an applicant has the ability and will to learn languages as, although many Polish students are able to speak some English, it would be much easier to build friendships and trust with the ability to speak Polish.
Erasmus students are also welcome to come and work in the ministry. The cost of living in Poland varies and could be up to approximately 300-350€ a month.
98% Roman Catholic, other religions include Polish Orthodox and Protestants.