Orientation Week is a series of integration events which are organized at the beginning of every term for Erasmus students coming to Poznan and their Buddies. Its goal is to integrate Erasmus students with the local ESN section, other students and the community. It usually lasts a week. During each day of that week events are organized to help foreign students to better get to know Poznan, polish culture and each other.
Organizing Orientation Week, which took place at the beginning of this term, was significantly more difficult due to the pandemic situation in our country. There was some uncertainty related to making plans with current restrictions. Mostly because of that Orientation Week become quite a challenge for ESN UAM Poznań. However, challenges and taking on the impossible is just another day for ESNers, so (as usual) we managed.
Orientation Week organizing committee consisted of experienced ESNer Michał Słoński, who took a position of a financier, and three new members: Martyna Bartłomiejczak as a PR coordinator, Gabriela Potentas and Karolina Jankowska as Co-Heads.
Preparations were intense and took many days. Four days before the attractions filled week began the Office Hours, during which participants could come and buy entry tickets to the events. There was a great interest. A few hours before the scheduled end of the Office Hours there were no more tickets left. Unfortunately, we had to turn down anyone, who wanted to sign up afterwards. Safety reasons forced us to limit the number of participants, who we still had to divide into smaller groups.
Monday, 1st March, the first day of OW
Traditionally, everything started with an inauguration – it took place online, just like in the previous term. On the same day classes were organized, during which the participants had the chance to learn three of the traditional polish dances: Krakowiak, Oberek and of course… Polonez.
Tuesday, 2nd March
The second day started in the center of Poznan. We showed Erasmus students two goats (Pyrek and Tyrek) appearing in the Town Hall tower and how they are butting their heads 12 times when the clock strikes 12. Next, we went to the National Museum. At the end of that sweet day we could (of course wearing aprons and hats) make and decorate our own chocolate bars in a… Chocolate Museum!
Wednesday, 3rd March
During the following day we gave Erasmus students a chance to get to know the history of Poznan and Poland in an unconventional way - using multimedia. Of course, we took them to Porta Posnania. Not only did we visit the interior, but we also went to the observation deck and watched Poznan from above. Then we went to the oldest Cathedral in Poznan - The Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul.
Thursday, 4th March
The middle of the week is a perfect time to get some exercise in fresh air. The participants could go to Malta Ski, where they could choose either skiing or snowboarding lesson, and the ones who were more advanced could ride independently on a bigger slope. What is interesting is that there was still real snow there. If someone was not much into winter sports and snow, they had the alternative in the form of Laser Tag.
Many people decided to go to both events (which was possible for an additional fee). During the second one it was important to be both adept and strategic, as well as a good team worker. We were divided into two competing teams (blue and red) and played a game against each other. After the game we received statistics, so we could find out who was the best player of each team.
Friday, 5th March
The fifth day was the day to visit another symbol of the city - by that we mean of course the Palm House. We could feel normal again, even for a moment – like on vacation, marveling at exotic plants from all over the world. What is interesting, after our visit in the tropics we went outside just to see a lot of snow, which excited and surprised many of our foreign friends. We also visited the Botanical Garden of Adam Mickiewicz university.
Saturday, 6th March
Continuing our nature-based events – this day we wanted to spend some time with animals, which meant a visit to the New Zoo. A long walk through the second biggest zoo in Poland was a great opportunity to learn more about our four-legged (and not only) co-inhabitants of the planet.
Sunday, 7th March, the last day of OW
The culmination of the week filled with attractions and discovering the nooks and crannies of the city was integrating Erasmus students with their Buddies, which meant a game in the biggest park in Poznan – Cytadela. Despite, to put it mildly, an inconvenient weather each team showed up on the spot. Participants received envelopes with tasks next to Rosarium. They received a series of tasks, which they had to complete in order to find the final place of the game – Amphitheatre. Getting there was not at all easy, because each team received incomplete geographical coordinates, students had to show some math skills to solve puzzles and find out where the volunteers were waiting for them. What mattered was not only the time to reach the final location, but also the number of points for completed tasks. Competition was evenly matched, everyone wanted to win prizes, which were only provided for the winners. The tasks included reading up and finding out information about sculptures and museum exhibits, visiting café, counting stairs, taking photos, describing the shape of Cytadela, being observant and quite creative. It turns out that ESN can be short for not only Erasmus Student Network, but also Extraordinary Sunday Nirvana, and OW is not only Orientation Week, but also Original Wishes!
As the organizers, we hope that all participants were satisfied with the attractions we prepared. The whole week was an experience that put us in front of many obstacles to overcome, generated a lot of problems and stress at each step. However – we did it. We are happy to see every nice comment about our work, happy about every friendship made and every smile received during that week.
At the end, there is nothing more left, than to genuinely, from the bottom of our hearts thank everyone who helped make Orientation Week work – everyone involved in consultations, preparations, promotion, volunteers and people who gave an account of our actions, and also everyone who – passively and actively - supported our activities, especially:
Basia Gajzler, Karol Barton, Marta Sobieraj, Magda Majewska, Marta Komisarczyk, Patryk Meyer, Karolina Kosmacz, Ania Kowalczyk, Radek Stanisławiak, Igor Renar Romaniuk, Adam Soszyński, Magda Antoniewska, Magda Urbaniak, Maciej Szulakiewicz, Ola Mizgajska, Filip Franowski, Jacek Marchwicki, Marianna Pikul, Paulina Dominiak
We did it all together because our ESN is, after all, Extremely Supportive Network!