Moving to Gliwice

Finally after a few weeks plus in Sosnowiec I moved to my destination city, Gliwice, and only in one week (despite I had a cold🤧😫) I could meet a lot of great people, teachers, kids of the Democratic School (Wolno Mi) and parents, also I have the chance to try really good traditional polish meals on the hand of the school’s cook 🇵🇱🥣🍝

Certainly I have already seen the most part of the city and the neighborhoods around it, and I enjoyed all of it as well, so I highly recommend to visit this town due to the diversity of people ( Three or four universitys y think and a lot of Erasmus) and the charm of the main street and square with plenty of historical buildings 😍😍

Arturo, volunteer in Wolno Mi Democratic School in Gliwice 🇪🇦🇵🇱

This proyect is co-founded by European Solidarity Corps

#EUSolidarityCorps

#ActiveWomanAssociation

The answers of the Universe

“I believe there is something higher than all of us, and all of us calls this force many different names, but still we experience it all but the same. Sometimes we have to be very still and awake to see the shapes that it takes.”

Cześć! My name is Cherly-ann Franken, but I love to think that my name is 2 in 1, so I’ll give you the permission to choose, you can call me Ann or Cherly. I’m 21 years old, and I come from a very small beautiful island in the Caribbean called Aruba. I dropped out of college when I was 18 years old, see the thing is I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I consider myself an artist, I love to paint on canvas, carve wood, and just recently started sculpting. I believe that my hands can create anything and until now I still end up surprising myself. I am still debating if I should continue in art or psychology, both or something completely different. I’m a very indecisive person, and I hope being here can make me less afraid to make a choice based on what I feel is right for me.

how I got this opportunity

I was working in a family business thinking to myself is this it? and I remember asking in the open to the universe, to God; should I hold on for a bit longer? or should I leave? the first time I noticed a few minutes after it starts to drizzle outside, and then stops. I didn’t think much of it the first time, but after a few months I asked again, and to my surprise a few minutes after it starts to drizzle again, and then stops. Honestly there wasn’t any rain cloud, it was just a very small cloud that had a bit of water, and to think it would let it drizzle right where I am after i just popped a universal question is no coincidence. I took it as my answer and somehow I took it as ‘better days are coming’, and even thou for me this was the hardest one year and a half of my life, I took it to hold on. and I did.

December 2019 when I was 20 years old, this project came knocking at my door while I was working, and guess where.. at that same family business. A friend of mine called Sherwin Wester that I met in a competition came to me and asked me if I was by any chance interested into working as a volunteer abroad for some months, that I wouldn’t have to pay for anything and that it would be an experience of a life time. For me this sounded like a dream there is no way that’s possible. (My friend Sherwin has no idea how grateful I am for him in my life. Thank you again.)

Next thing you know I was set to go to Northern Ireland, it was between me and another girl, and again I said out loud to the universe; “if this is for me, let them choose me, but if it’s not and the other girl needs it more, that’s okay too, I am grateful”. To my surprise I got chosen to go to Northern Ireland for 9 months. Now there is no coincidence, so the next part is funny how it all went; I actually had to go in March, but I didn’t because of the pandemic. After the pandemic calmed down, I still had to wait for an answer if I will be going in August or September but nothing. So I was asked if I want to choose other open options because there might be a chance that Northern Ireland won’t be possible. At first there were options to go to Spain for 10 months to work with people with mental disabilities or Greece for 10 months to work with wolves and sheep dogs, I wasn’t sure because the universe gave me Northern Ireland, and the options they gave me didn’t get my attention at all even thou they sounded amazing, but then they gave me Poland for 10 months, and somehow I said yes to Poland, the thing is I have never heard of democratic school so I had to try. Again I said; “if it’s for me, let them choose me, but if not, and I have to wait for Northern Ireland, it’s okay, I am grateful, and I will”.

AND GUESS WHAT?!! I was chosen for Poland and in a very short time after that, here I am volunteering in Szczecin at an amazing democratic school called Szkoła Demokratyczna Droga Wolna ( Democratic Free Way School).

My personal 1st month experience

The first two weeks here I was so fascinated and overwhelmed, I’ve never been to Europe even thou my nationality is Netherlands. For example; I come from an island where it’s always summer and low trees and dry, I mean the only very tall tree we have in Aruba is the palm trees. Well here, there are so many tall trees and super green, and that only has me walking around, open mouth, looking at everything with bliss, and even thou I am already one month here when I walk I love to look up at the trees and see how slowly they are changing with the season from green to yellow and bright orange. I had no idea I could fall in love with how slowly and noticeable the season can change. I am just getting used to the cold, and noticing how my body reacts to it, is crazy. I also saw a foggy day like I’ve never seen before, I could’ve barely see a thing, and I was constantly smiling of how amazing all of this is for me and people will look at me like; what is wrong with this girl?

The progress that I can really notice is; the first week I was so afraid of going out and looking around, but now I am more confident and I am going everywhere and anywhere, and I can say that I am super proud of me for walking 40 minutes away from my home at night to go to an art gallery and it was worth it!

The school 1st month

The school still amazes me everyday, even though the first two weeks I was overwhelmed, I didn’t know what to do, where to be, and I was just concerned if I am doing the right things, or should I teach something? I was mostly observing and exploring the school, and after I just let it go and tried finding my place in the school, which was mostly in arts, things just started to happen around me. I am teaching Spanish, I did origami, I do paintings, I tried sculpting, and if the small and tall people (the “students”) are interested they just join you and so it goes. It’s funny, because you learn more from them than you can teach, and sometimes I just feel the same as them, learning a lot of new things together. I am amazed of how open minded and free all of them are and still super unique in their own special way. They inspire me so much, and I hope in the future there could be more democratic schools to give our children a more diverse education not only by the books but by existing with each other as a whole.

I am afraid the days are already moving too fast, and that it will be over soon, but I love the feeling of waking up every morning, realizing this is really happening, I am not in Aruba anymore, I am right where I am suppose to be by just trusting the answers of the Universe.

Wood art, “I am the universe in human form”

Communication without words

A walk in the park is like medicine

Making tiny people with nuts and acorns

The kids were hunting the criminals in school so they can win paper money, it was exciting!

A walk to the kids gallery

Galeria Przepraszam, Tworzę się

Let’s decorate the school for Halloween, our kids are super creative!

Cherly-ann from Aruba, volunteer in Szkoła Demokratyczna Droga Wolna in Szczecin.

Project is co-funded by European Solidarity Corps

#EUSolidarityCorps #ActiveWomenAssociation #nonformaleducation #CaribbeanGirl

One month, two quarantines, one thesis, one birthday.

Doing a quarantine is so mainstream that we wanted to do two 😊😷.

After the arrival training in #activewomenassociation that prepared us to this course in Poland we went to our schools for three days and suddenly we received a message, we had been in touch with “a positive” so we have to stay in home. I feel sad at the beginning because I was already in love with my school and I had plans there but…always look the bright side of life 🌈🌈. I had to present my thesis some days later so I used that time to prepare it properly and teachers were so happy with it.

After being free from my studies and with a lot of energy I went back to the school, other volunteers who stayed with us for quarantine went back to their cities and everything was “normal” again. My flatmates and me went to the mountains on Saturday to use our free day.

Next week I had an arrival training from the European Solidarity Corps, it was online and I had to stay at home, another week without the children. That Tuesday one of my flatmates started to feel sick and quickly he isolated himself in one of the rooms, finallybon Friday he received the results…another positive, another quarantine for us, another week without going to the school…

I had a lot of plans for that week, it was my birthday and I wanted to cook for the teachers and the children but I couldn’t, as a lot of other people on this lovely 2020, I had to spend my birthday at home, fortunately new technologies bring people together and I feel so accompanied plus Poland gives to me her own present with a pretty sunny weather that allowed me to spend around 2 hours just laying on the couch we have in our balcony, drinking beer…alcohol keeps the virus, right?

I want to add that we all feel healthy and quarantine is going to end soon…for now.

Ysaura, volunteer in Special Needs School no.30, Sosmowiec.

Project is co-funded by European Solidarity Corps.

Moving story of my polish grandparent’s point of sight

I want to share with you the knowledge about a part of Polish history. Especially ’80 years, martial law in Poland and Solidarność movement. I remember we were talking about it with other volunteers and coordinators on trainings. I want to approximate this topic in my article.

1980-89 is not that far period. 30-40 years back. My parents still remember what was happening in Poland. It was terrible time for them and also my grandparents… That’s why I’d like to introduce:

My lovely granny Irena, 70 years old now

And my grandpa Zdzisław, 76 years old

I asked them to tell me about Solidarność and martial law. They remember it very well… There is a lot of emotions in my granny’s answers… I think it’s worth to listen to them. I’m putting here YouTube link (https://youtu.be/uYllNa9-fto) to movie which I recorded with my grandparents and added subtitles in English for you. It’s always better to hear the history from people who got through this. They can move you to those times, their history become more real. You can see their reactions, know their feelings about their history. It’s really gripping and touching. I always like to listen my grandparents. They are living history to me. They have a lot of experience and interesting adventures. Some of them are funny and some are sad, but anyway it’s their life. Curious life.

I hope you, dear reader, my article is interesting to you and you will appreciate an interview with my grandparents.

First I want you to read Polish history in general, then you can watch the movie. It will be better to understand everything what my grandparents are talking about.

August 1980 was one of the breakthrough moments in the history of Poland’s communist regime and one of the founding myths of the democratic opposition. After protests in Świdnik and Lublin, the Free Trade Unions of the Coast joined the strike. The workers demanded, amongst other things, the reinstatement of the welder Anna Walentynowicz (fired for being a key member of the opposition), a pay rise, and a new monument dedicated to the victims of the 1970 protests in northern Poland.

A few days later on 17thAugust, the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee announced a total of 21 demands, including the possibility of registering free trade unions, freedom to strike and freedom of speech.

The authorities buckled under immense social pressure and showed weakness. Criticism started revealing itself, and more and more people, encouraged by the lack of reaction from the government, joined the Solidarność labour union.

During Martial Law, approximately 10,000 Solidarność activists were deemed dangerous by the Military Council of National Salvation and interned.

The leaders of Solidarność were jailed in the Białołęka district in Warsaw, apart from Lech Wałęsa, who was transported to Arłamów in south-eastern Poland. The facility was installed within a prison. Between 1981 and 1982, approximately 600 representatives from the democratic opposition were held there.

The police state tried to suppress the focal points of protest and isolate or directly hurt political opponents. ZOMO, the armed unit of the Civic Militia, was a tool in the hands of the authorities.

The security forces faced the strongest protest to Martial Law in the coal mines of the Silesia region. An especially tragic event was the massacre of striking miners in the Wujek mine in Katowice on 16th December 1981. A special unit of ZOMO killed 9 miners and injured a further 23.

Thank you for attention! ❤

#EuropeanSolidarityCorps

#ActiveWomenAssociation

#PolishHistory

#polishgrandparents

Martyna from Poland, volunteer in Special Need School no 4 in Sosnowiec.

Life is just beyond the system

Ciao a tutti! Dzień dobry!

I’m Giulia from Italy and I’m 25 years old. I’m graduated in philosophy and sociology, but I’m very passionate about education. Above all, I’m a scout and volunteering has always been a bigger part of my life. I love spending my time for the wellbeing others, walking in the mountain, reading books and writing, especially I’ve a passion for dogs. For the next 10 months, I’ll volunteer in the democratic school Droga Wolna in Szczecin, being part of a project of European solidarity corps coordinated by Active Women Association.

I’m so glad to de part of this project because it’s the adventure I was looking for. During lockdown months, I totally lost my goal in life, I was feeling empty, “closed” like animals in chains and I didn’t see a future at all. Then, one day, I found out this project and it literally gave my the mission I lost. I believe this is the opportunity to discover myself again and the beauty outside my comfort zone. Today, I’m going to tell you how amazing was this month, what happened and what I’ve learnt so far.

My adventures

A month already went by here in Poland and I’m still exploring Szczecin, a wonderful city, smart and green with his amazing parks and big trees, full of hidden historical treasures. With pleasure, I met a lot of people so openminded, kind and welcoming that I’ve never felt like an outsider. Everyone, my tutor, mentors, kids and families made me feeling like part of a huge lovely community. One day, one different adventure. I walked in the forest at night to hear deers. I had an impresa, a campfire all the day with families in a small village, tasting zupa gulaszowa. I did gimnastyka słowiańska and activate meditation during a polish yoga lesson for the first time in my life. I went to super funny tandem meetings and met nice people. I played harmonica in the streets and I was so lucky that I found a new friend, a girl who was playing accordion…and so on 😉 

The school

If I had to describe this community, I would use only one word: freedom. They are free in a way that I’ve never experienced! Everything goes around freedom: the school’s name is Droga Wolna, indeed, literally free way. And that’s true: kids are free to learn on their own times, to play, to be whatever they want to be. There are no formal lessons: kids are actually learning through daily things like games and nature. Kids are exercising their own freedom. They are feeling the responsibility to learn, so that they find their own way to learn: for example, one pupil wanted to learn English with me with books, while an other preferred to learn English words by pointing out things in the room. So, playing at “uno” cards is the new mathematics lesson. Going to forest and building a campfire or creating a garden in a bottle is the new science lesson. Dreaming, inventing stories is the new literature lesson. Sitting during obiat (lunch) next to a foreign volunteer is the new languages lessons. I discovered that the body and the food are the best way to communicate 😉 

Life’s lesson

Someone can still doubt about non formal education because there are no notes, no race to be the first, no checking about homeworks and adults can’t have the control over everything. Well, I swear to you: democratic school works and makes kids, families and mentors happy. For them, the school is like a second home and, you know, home is where you can show yourself for who you are, without hiding your emotions. Where ordinary people see confusion, educators see space to interact freely, without judgments, to get our hands dirty playing together, drawing because learning happens naturally, through simple things. This is what I’ve learnt until now. I’m an educator in my scout group since 2016, but only thanks to this school, I really understood who educators are: keepers of dreams, readers of emotions. That’s why education is not a job, but a true calling. So, I please you readers, remind yourselves that there is an extraordinary life beyond system. Just take it and let kids take it!

Craziest math lesson!

Garden bottle: don’t waste veggies!

Po angielsku – po polsku! K. best polish teacher ever!

Giulia from Italy, volunteer in Skoła Demokratyczna Droga Wolna in Szczecin.

Project is co-funded by European Solidarity Corps.

#EUSolidarityCorps #ActiveWomenAssociation #nonformaleducation

Great days, small fruits

Before coming here I already knew that a lot of new experiences were about to come, regarding people, culture and of course, food. But I couldn’t imagine that I was going to be able of tasting different fruits, as I come from Spain and our good weather makes all the plants grow (I’m sorry, we have the best tomatoes), I was a bit sceptical about fruit in this country with such a cold weather and lack of sun.

Life always surprises you and one day I was buying regular fruit (bananas and apples) and I saw mini kiwis.

They are weeter than regular ones and you are suposed to eat the whole fruit, skin is soft and hairless.

Another day I was walking through Sosnowiec streets and I found a street market with loads of fruit, that made me really happy because, as I said before, I was a bit sceptical of finding good fruits and vegetables here, everything looked amazing but a guy came next to me and offered me a mini plum it was delicious and I can’t leave without buying it, good sell strategy.

They really look like grapes

Last but not least, I went to a park and I found a tree covered with, what I thought at first sight, were cherries, but I was sure that ther could not be cherries on october, when I went closer I realized they were mini apples. They were super sour, and maybe I wasn’t suposed to eat them but I thought tha tif the tree was in a park, surrounded by children, they could not be toxic, after three of them I had tigling feeling on my lips but I enjoyed them anyway.

Small things of like strike my atention so I needed to write a post about my little big discoveries.

Ysaura, volunteer in Special Needs School no.30, Sosnowiec.

Project is co-funded by European Solidarity Corps.

#EuropeanSolidaityCorps #ActiveWomenAssociation #Newflavours

Warning! After reading this, you might never see the Polish language in the same way.

Introduction

In this article, I (Ondře Sojka, volunteer in Sosnowiec) would like to discuss the differences between Czech and Polish language. I will address the differences between some words similar in form but different in meaning.
The polish and Czech are very similar languages but when I talked to some Polish people, they told me the Czech language sounds very funny to them. I can say that Polish to a certain extent sounds funny to me as well. It is mostly caused by the fact that some similar-looking words in Polish, translated to Czech, means something completely different, as it will be further explained. The first part will be about rude words and the second part about the food.


Szukat

Before coming to Poland, I had an introduction to polish language from my Czech friends who went to Poland for the Youth meeting in Krakow. They went to the church when the priest started the preach by saying: “Potrzeba szukat Jesusa.“ My friends could not stop laughing. Why? In the old Czech sense the word “szukat“ meant to sweep the floor. Whereas now “šukat“ (instead of sz, we use š- same sound) means to have sexual intercourse. Instead of the need to search for Jesus, the priest would suggest them to do something very rude.

Szukat piciu

My friends were accommodated in the polish family and they overheard following conversation when the mother told her daughter: „szukaj piciu.“ My friends got almost killed again. You already know the Czech sense of „szukat“. Now imagine that „piču“, which sounds completely the same as polish „piciu“, is a very rude way to address vagina in the Czech language. The very innocent phrase in polish language “search for a drink“ can be translated into very rude Czech sentence which literally means (sorry for the words) “F*ck c*nt.“ Now imagine you are 16-year-old boy, is it possible not to laugh your guts out about this?

Sklep, gofry

Another very funny word for me is “sklep” which in Czech means basement but in polish, it means a shop, sometimes it can be very confusing. Staying with a food vocabulary, I have a question for polish people, how is it possible that out of similar meaning in many languages of waffles (in Czech it is “vafle“) you could create a word “gofry“, which does not even sound as a Polish word.

Jagody/borówky

On the trip, I went to the restaurant in Krakow and I ordered famous pierogi s “jagodami” (in Czech we have a similar word “jahody”=strawberries) To my amazement I received blueberries instead of strawberries. (In polish, it is truskawka, which to my Czech ears sounds like a name for firework “třaskavina”) It was a very surprising thing for me because I thought the blueberries “borówka” are the same as Czech “borůvka”, but the literal translation of borówka is “Kanadská borůvka.” These are bigger and sweeter than bilberries (“jagody”), imported from the Norh America.

Zurawina, lody

Then in the restaurant in the mountains, my polish friend explained to me that the word “zurawina” means cranberries, but Czech “žiravina” (again almost same sounds) means corrosive chemical. We discussed also the word “lody” (ice cream) which translated to Czech is “zmrzlina” but the word is similar to Czech “plody”, which is fruits.

Recommendation

In the conclusion, I have some recommendation for Polish people. Please, do not go to my country “szukat piciu.” Trying to find a “sklep” could be dangerous too, instead go to the “obchod.”
Also, try not to order any “truskawka” or “zurawina,” unless you want to create a bomb or something. However, do not worry about it that much for the Czech people it will be very entertaining.

Ondřej Sojka, volunteer with Active Women Association, working in Our Good School in Katowice

(co-funded by the European Solidarity Corps)

Sunrise in Sosnowiec.
Sunset in the mountains.

On my way

Last Friday i have to go from Tychy to Sosnowiec to spend some days, Tychy for me was a new city and this was my fourth day. I was training in a park before taking the train and my mobile was going really low in battery. While I was trying to remember my PIN password in case of my mobile shut off, I blocked it in the process. So now I needed a special password that I only have in my house in Spain.

Suddenly I was in the park far from home and I have to return home and find the train station. Knowing that I wont have mobile until I arrive to Tychy and borrow a Spanish mobile to call my house and search for the special number for unblocking it.

Then I finished my training I thought how was the way to go home, luckily I have a bike to make things easy so in a mix of lucky and intuition I manage to remember the way back to home, to add drama to the day the weather was starting to turn rainy.

As I know that wont be a inmediatly solution for revive my mobile I decided to take the moment with philosophy and as I nice opportunity to make a real electronic shut down for a few hours, don’t  rushing the moment and enjoying the situation. So I took a shower, did my landry, tidy up the house, pack a few things for the days in Sosnowiec and make a couple of sandwiches for the way. Once I completed my tasks, I went out and start my searching for the train station, my strategy was to communicate with a notebook and a pen that I usually carry with me. I thing is a powerful and quick tool to have with you and universal, not having for example the problem that electronic devices has for a lot of people that is not use to use it.

It Was 3 p.m and there weren’t many people on the street, also started to rain hardly. I approach to the first person that I saw, was a man in his 60s with two crutches, I say to him hello in polish (Dzień dobry) and as I wrote in my notebook I pronounced to him “Train Station” he didn’t understand so I draw a train (as good as my drawing skills allow me to do it) and rails to make him understand that was train and not another transport, I also added with my mouth some special effects to emulate the train sound. Finally he manage to indicate me to go straight and I will be able to see the rails (that’s what I interpreted). As I was walking in that direction and to make secure things I stopped to ask to two woman with her children, I repeat the same process and luckly for me one talk a little of English, she ask me If I know Kaufland (supermarket in Poland) and told me that behind it I will find a bus stop and I should take number A to go to train station. This indication was useful but also really wide cause behind the supermarket were at least 4 different stations, so I just took one and wait for the Bus A.

Quick notes in my notebook

As I was waiting, I ask an old lady but this time she didn’t speak English so we exchange some incomprehensible words and decided to stay with my decision of taking bus A. Few minutes later a little girl appear and I asked her if she speak English, she reply me that just a little, I asked her the proper way to train station, she point me the poster with the Bus A tour, so I knew that I should stay with this option.

When I saw the bus with a train image in the last stop I knew that was the good one and I feel more relieved, so I just enjoy the way in bus and relax in my way to the train station. There I just had to pick the ticket to Sosnowiec and wait for the proper train.

Thanks to this experience i was able to build a better version of myself, to interact and also contribute to other people growing, working in maybe other more forgotten skills like body communication and to get out immediacy of results we are used to today.

Flowing and enjoying in every second in his fullness even not knowing the time it is.

Some photos while waiting for the tran in Tychy Train Station.
Some photos while waiting for the tran in Tychy Train Station.

Paco from Spain, volunteer of project co-funded by European Solidarity Corps, in Democratic Tychy Wild School.

I think, the craziest and lovely month I have ever lived.

Dzień dobry, my name is Roger. I am 23 years old. I am from Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain?). We could have an interesting conversation about politics and territorial feelings! I have studied the Primary Education Degree, I’m in love with everything that is related to education. I love playing the guitar, being in contact with nature and working with children. During the next eleven months I will be participating as a volunteer in the Active Education project from the European Solidarity Corps, with the support from Active Women Association. Actually, I am living in Łódź. I will be volunteering in a forest school in Borchówka, from Fundacja Dmuchawiec. 

I arrived one month ago in Poland, and I can ensure that (I think) that it has been the craziest and lovely month I have ever lived. I have learned that Poland has bipolar weather (sun, rain, wind, hot temperatures, etc.), and that the temperatures we have in Barcelona in October-November, are the ones we are having some days here since one month ago. During this month I have met a lot of teachers (super-nice and lovely teachers by the way), I have met other volunteers, I have driven a car from Łódź to Sosnowiec, I have traveled by train, I have visited Kraków, I have been in a medieval village, etc. and a lot of more things!

Some people don’t understand forest schools, and they ask me: “But are you doing Spanish/English lessons?”, “How do you speak with children?”, “In the forest, but how do they learn academic things?”, and so on. Now, I will try to answer these questions giving my opinion (based on my point of view, and what I have lived during this month). 

But are you doing Spanish/English lessons?

No, I am not doing any language lessons. Borchówka Forest School is a kindergarten, so I am with children from3 to 5-6 years old. At this age it is not common to work by subjects (luckily). What I am doing, by the moment, is translating some routines or daily things from Polish to English and Spanish. It is a pleasure to listen to children saying: “Roger, manzana por favor” (Roger, apple please), or “See you tomorrow, bye”. Maybe, in the near future, I will start to propose different activities, but not just language activities, we can also do a lot of other things!

In the forest, but how do they learn academic things?

For a lot of people, it could be difficult to imagine that it is possible to educate without being closed between 4 walls. But that is what we do. Why, if we are surrounded by an awesome natural forest, should we educate our children inside a building? They are learning counting (and not only in Polish, also in English and Spanish!), they do manipulative activities, they cook, they play, they get angry with others, they share, they interact, they sit and talk… It is awesome, how in the forest, things happen in a natural way. Learning occurs in a natural way. 

“… and Roger, how do you speak with children?”

That is a funny question. I would not say that I speak with them, I would say that I communicate with them. Talking is not the only communicative way. At the beginning, children didn’t understand why I didn’t answer anything when they talked to me in Polish. Now, they know that Ja nie mówię po polsku (I don’t speak Polish), that I speak English, Spanish and Catalan. That is awesome how in just this short time, we have changed our way to communicate. Obviously, they come to me and they speak in Polish. But I also go to them and I speak in English. The communication I have with them is more visual, more physical, more expressive.

Roger from Catalonia. Volunteer of European Solidarity Corps in Forest Kindergarten Borchówka (Fundacja Dmuchawiec), in Łódź.

Project is co-funded by European Solidarity Corps.

#EUSolidarityCorps

#ActiveWomenAssociation

10 Franco-Polish Differences

1. HOW TO SAY HELLO

🇫🇷 You say Bonjour/salut and then kiss = Bise (the number depends on the region and the person). If the person is superior to you, you must wait for him or her to do so or not. And you can also shake hands. The way of greeting really depends on the person.

🇵🇱 You can say Cześć/hej and then hug or kiss on the chick (sometimes they kiss 3 times: left right left). More formal is to shake hands with someone and say Dzień dobry. Older people, especially men, are taking their hats off their heads while saying Dzień dobry.

2. THE BREAKFAST  

🇫🇷 It’s sweet ! Usually they eat the Baguette with some butter (salty or not), jam or honey. They’re also the Pastries: Croissants/ Pain au chocolat/ Brioche/ Pain au raisin. They drink fresh fruit juice (mainly orange or grapefruit) or a hot drink (coffee, tea or hot chocolate). It depends on the families but generally it is the mother who prepares it.

🇵🇱 It can be salty or sweet. Usually cereals, toasts with cheese and ham, sausages and bread or scrambled eggs. Sometimes a woman in the house is making breakfast but it depends. In some families everyone makes breakfast just for themselves.

3. THE MEAL

🇫🇷 The gastronomic meal of the French is a customary social practice intended to celebrate the most important moments in the life of individuals and groups. Among its important components are: careful choice of dishes from an ever-expanding body of recipes;  buying good products, preferably local, whose flavors go well together;  the marriage between food and wine;  the decoration of the table;  and a specific gesture during the tasting (inhale and taste what is served at the table). The gourmet meal must follow a well-defined pattern: it begins with an aperitif and ends with a digestif, with between the two at least four dishes, namely a starter, fish and / or meat with vegetables, cheese  and a dessert.

🇵🇱 Polish people eat a lot of carbohydrates and meat ! The typical dinner in Poland is potatoes, meat and salad. On Sunday, noodles with sauce, meat (roulade), and blue cabbage. They usually have soup and a second dish for dinner on Sunday. On Fridays they don’t eat meat, because of religion, so they eat fish.

4. THE DESSERT

🇫🇷 They have hundreds and hundreds of different pastries and cakes, it can be a man or a women who bake.

🇵🇱 Usually women bake cakes with for example apple/plum etc.. or cheesecake and drink coffee

5. ALCOHOL

🇫🇷 At the top, we find whiskey, then aniseed and after Rums and white alcohols ( gin, vodka, tequilas ) And they always find a reason or an event to celebrate to drink.

🇵🇱 The most popular alcohol in Poland is vodka. They drink it on birthdays and at some meetings. Wine is popular too, then it’s whisky.

6. PUBLIC TRANSPORT

🇫🇷 The Public transport are usually late especially the Train or TER ( Train entre région ) The longest waiting delay recorded in the SNCF (name of the group) was 22 hours and the longest delay on the train was 13 hours.. Inside it’s the same rule as in Poland except that you can’t buy tickets on the train.

🇵🇱 Usually the public transports are always on time and if they’re late, the new time of arrival will be righted. You have to behave properly and if your bus stop is near you should press the button too let know the driver that you want to stop. If there’s a controller you have to show him a ticket and ID/students legit. If you don’t have a ticket, you’ll get a fine.

7. SPORT

🇫🇷 Football is the most popular sport in France, followed by tennis, then horse riding and judo.  Rugby, however, remains the discipline to which the French are most attached.

🇵🇱 Football is the most popular sport in Poland, followed by cycling and then chess!  Riding and horse breeding are among the favorite pastimes of the wealthier classes.

8. SHOPPING

🇫🇷 People are going to small shops near the place of living, in markets and in cheap shops like Lidl/ Aldi/ LeaderPrice/ Grand Frais. The cost of life in France is very high these several years so they’re not wasting at all. And for the clothes they’re going in shop galleries too.

🇵🇱 Old people are going to small shops near the place of living or in markets. Polish families usually do big shopping and waste a lot of food. They prefer cheap shops like Biedronka, Lidl and Auchan.For the clothes they are going in shop galleries.

9. PUNCTUALITY

🇫🇷 It is poorly regarded to waste other people’s time on delays. For personal appointments, with friends, it is not rude to arrive late: we speak of the quarter of an hour of politeness.

🇵🇱 Polish people don’t like being late so they try to respect punctuality, it’s important for them.

10. RELIGION

🇫🇷 Only 37% of the French population believe in God. And 7% are practicing. The church and the state are completely independent, the churches and cathedrals are nothing more than monuments to visit.

🇵🇱 Most of Polish people are catholic and convey faith to younger generations. Some people are in faith but not practicing, for practicant it doesn’t make any sense « If you believe, you must go to the church ».The church still maintains close ties with the government.

Matthias Gachet Contini, School Number 4, Sosnowiec