Well experienced Coach Tomasz is here to give you some important tips that are sure to motivate you to become Simba, a powerful Lion King Traveler!
/Tomasz’s deep, encouraging voice in the background/: If you’ve ever pondered if it’s worthy to go abroad and how you will manage communication in spite of being HoH in a world not adapted for us… find your Lion King sleeping inside you! Find the courage to go abroad and to shout ‘I AM HERE AND I WILL HANDLE IT!’ Don’t wait!
/Maria’s high pitched, annoying voice of a chicken/: In general, you can participate in several events abroad, like:
- ESC – long term voluntary service (from 2 months to 1 year), available to everyone
- Erasmus Youth Exchange (maximum 1-2 weeks), for anyone aged 18 to 35 years
- Erasmus+ Programme (at university), enabling you to study abroad (anywhere from 6 months to 1 year), available for students (including PhD ones)
We just presented here a short and subjective overview for you, as Erasmus is divided into multiple sectors. If you’re interested in more details, please click here:
Also, in the case of ESC/Youth Exchange, we recommend you check out the Facebook pages within your country, they often provide offers and instructions on how to apply!
/Tomasz’s voice is back, luckily interrupting the boring part of explanation, ready to give you a little thrill/: I would start from this point: if you plan to go to the ESC voluntary service route, begin with short one.
Stop. Short lesson about ESC: anyone can participate in ESC and everyone has one year available to them. How you divide it, it’s up to you and to available offers.
- The main rule for ESC (rules 2-3 are applicable for other options!) is:
You can go for 1 year, 5 months or like me, for 9 months (but then you wouldn’t be able to continue ESC in the same place: 12 months – 9 months = 3 months).
- To make it clear: start with a shorter ESC opportunity and if you like it, then extend it for longer. Not on the other way around. When you select a shorter ESC (2-3 months), you can test yourself if you can do it and if it’s something for you. I’m spontaneous so I began with longer one! XD But, upon completing your first short one, you can continue it there or relocate to another place.
- Another advice from my observation and experience: if you’re brave, I’m really happy for you! Be like that and don’t give up! But if you don’t feel like Lion King but rather a Pumba, then it’s good to go with someone who you know. It’s always nicer to be together, as Timon and Pumba. There isn’t always offers for more than one person, BUT there are projects that need two volunteers. Then it’s much better because you both can pretend that you understand something
And you can encourage each other! It’s enough for a beginning to make this first step and poke your tongue at the world!
/Narrator speaks/: And then you land at the airport with your luggage, saying ‘Hello darkness, my old friend…’ unsure if you are about to die from stress? Don’t worry, here are some tips for you!
- Not everybody is good at lipreading in English, nor everybody hears well, especially in foreign language. So why to tire ourselves and have a pudding in the pants from the fear if you can show that your ears are out of service? From my experience I know that for most of people it is a bit uncomfortable to communicate with HoH/Deaf people. A lot of them also look at us, pitying us how poor we are (facepalm). You can use it in positive way. I saved myself a few times by telling them that I DON’T HEAR when I arrived at the airport 30 minutes before departure without my itinerary. In most cases, they let me go. It even happened that I was transferred to the upper class on the board.
- Writing is safe. In case of any troubles it’s much more difficult for the airport staff to blame you that you didn’t understand something. So, write it down and ask them to write too, this way you can be sure of what is being said. If you feel good with English, try to talk, but if not, then just use your phone. Regardless of where you are, in restaurant, cafe, hotel, don’t be ashamed to use your hands. Didn’t God give you hands? Use them! Don’t let your hearing loss limit you, AMEN.
- Know your rights as a passenger! If they cancel your flight, you have a right to request €200-300 back. If the flight is delayed for more than 3 hours, you can also file a complaint on the airline’s website. If you have a transfer, check if this airline doesn’t offer you any hotel or trips. If you have a transfer and after landing on the spot it appears that second plane already departed, check in yourself again and seek reimbursement. In case if the next flight appears to be next day, you have a right to a hotel/voucher/food/ride.
Gossips says that these tips are quite useful… once upon a time a certain girl missed her flight at the airport and texted Coach Tomasz, crying for help. Coach Tomasz guided her, so she went to the customer service desk with a note on her phone that explained her situation. She received all the information on paper and even got a new ticket for no additional cost. Coach Tomasz guarantees you 99% effectiveness – only 99%, because life is unpredictable even for him! 😀
Small story time from the airport in the end, if you haven’t already dozed off…
Tomasz: I recall how once I had a flight from Berlin to Turkey (Lesson: Poles are required to have a visa to enter Turkey). I went with my passport in hand to check in, gave it to steward and showed him that I’m deaf. He nodded, tapped something on his keyboard. Looked up at me, opened his mouth and started to scream: ‘Viiiiiiiiiiiiisaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.’ Of course, I became red as a tomato while everyone else stared at me!
/Narrator can’t stop himself from intercepting/: Perhaps we should consider screaming back: ‘Iiiiiiiiiii aaaaaaaaaaaaaam deeeeeeeaaaaaaf, Iiiiii dooooon’t heeeeeeeeeeeaaaar youuuuuuu?’
Tomasz: Another time, I was coming back from the Study Session in Strasbourg. Security control. I showed them that I’m deaf. The older security guard started to sign to me asking if I have a laptop and so on! But then something was wrong with my luggage, I observed where my luggage was headed. A woman called out: ‘Whose luggage it this?’ She started speaking in English. I informed her that I don’t understand as I’m deaf, so she started speaking in French. I repeated signing again, ‘I’m deaf.’ So, she turned into German!!! At least she gave up, came back to English and we somehow managed to communicate with one another (who knows, maybe she thought you could be deaf in one language, but can hear fine in another!)
To sum it up: development always happens outside of comfort zone. Why not try becoming a Lion King, embracing all the crazy adventures while making amazing friendships around the globe? HAKUNA MATATA!
Credits go to: Maria Skoczyńska (Interviewer) and Tomasz Olender (Interviewee)