Portia, Poland

Portia blogs from Warsaw, POLAND! (Pt 1)

Former Timaru Craighead Dio student Portia King has caught the travel bug while she spends the year away in Poland teaching English:

 

In the days leading up to leaving New Zealand, I felt like a lunatic. Why was I leaving Timaru to fly halfway across the world to Poland to teach English for a year? However, this has turned out to be the most amazing three weeks so far. Being in a foreign country with like-minded young adults from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Scotland meant we were all in the same boat – often lost, confused and unable to communicate with people or understand anything. Our first week was spend doing an intensive English teaching course. In the evenings, our in-country coordinator, Beata, had activities organised for us so we were kept busy. This included some sightseeing, Polish cuisine and ice-skating. I’d estimate at least six meals per week have been delicious pierogi, which are dumplings with endless choices of both savoury and sweet fillings. I’ve also tried barszcz, a surprisingly good beetroot soup. Apart form the traditional food, everything has been similar to NZ and luckily my host family shares my love of pasta. Over the Christmas period, the national stadium in Warsaw is turned into a festively decorated ice-skating rink. I’d like you to think we were co-ordinated but I have the feeling the professional skaters were laughing at us, not with us. 

 

Living with a Polish host family has helped me to adjust to life in Poland very quickly. My family has been very welcoming and with their help, I am managing the public transport and learning the basic Polish phrases and words that I need to know. On the first weekend, they took me to see the Old Town to see the Christmas decorations and another icerink set up for Christmas. This trip was not complete without trying gofry (waffles) to warm ourselves up on this cold and snowy evening. Now, perhaps the scariest part of this year – my first day as an English teacher! I have a ‘mentor’ teacher, Gosia, who organises my time in the school, so I spent the first day with her classes and meeting all the other teachers. The children were very excited as it is the first time my school has had a native speaker through the Lattitude programme, let alone someone from New Zealand. In this first week I basically repeated the same facts about myself and told them about New Zealand using varied levels of English to all ten year groups, from 5 to 15 year olds. It was a great way to meet all the students and get to know them by asking them questions about Poland. I know this is going to be a great placement for the semester, with such great children who are eager to learn, and supportive fellow teachers who are just as excited. The intercity buses and trains in Poland make it easy to travel around so a group of us have already made a weekend trip to Krakow in the south. We spend hours exporing the beautiful Old Town and Wawel Royal Castle. I can fully understand why Krakow is the most visited place in Poland.

Next months update will include the next weekend adventure to Wroclaw which I started booking the day after returning from Krakow – I might have the travel bug!

 

Living with a Polish host family has helped me to adjust to life in Poland very quickly. My family has been very welcoming and with their help, I am managing the public transport and learning the basic Polish phrases and words that I need to know. On the first weekend, they took me to see the Old Town to see the Christmas decorations and another icerink set up for Christmas. This trip was not complete without trying gofry (waffles) to warm ourselves up on this cold and snowy evening. Now, perhaps the scariest part of this year – my first day as an English teacher! I have a ‘mentor’ teacher, Gosia, who organises my time in the school, so I spent the first day with her classes and meeting all the other teachers. The children were very excited as it is the first time my school has had a native speaker through the Lattitude programme, let alone someone from New Zealand. In this first week I basically repeated the same facts about myself and told them about New Zealand using varied levels of English to all ten year groups, from 5 to 15 year olds. It was a great way to meet all the students and get to know them by asking them questions about Poland. I know this is going to be a great placement for the semester, with such great children who are eager to learn, and supportive fellow teachers who are just as excited. The intercity buses and trains in Poland make it easy to travel around so a group of us have already made a weekend trip to Krakow in the south. We spend hours exporing the beautiful Old Town and Wawel Royal Castle. I can fully understand why Krakow is the most visited place in Poland.

Next months update will include the next weekend adventure to Wroclaw which I started booking the day after returning from Krakow – I might have the travel bug!