Nosey Notes: Poland

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live on the other side of the globe? Can you imagine learning English as your second language? What would it be like learning world history from a non-American perspective? The Nosey Notes is here to cure your curiosity by getting direct answers from students living in other states and countries to find out what it is like living in other parts of the world. This edition features the life of Agata Kostrzyńska and her insight about life in Poland.

Agata is an 18-year-old high schooler from Otwock, which is a small city near Warsaw, the country’s capital. She goes to school at Liceum Ogólnokształcące imienia K. I. Gałczyńskiego w Otwocku, and is in her twelfth and final year.

School starts at 8:00 in the morning, and goes until 3:00 in the afternoon. Depending on the day, Agata has 6-8 classes a day. Each class is 45 minutes, and there are 5-15 minute breaks in between classes.

Her classes include math, Polish, English, German, chemistry, biology, history and society, and physical education. Like most students, Agata can relate that the amount of homework she gets is “definitely too much.”

She can speak three languages: Polish being her first, then English, and then German. She has been speaking English for twelve years, but has only started to “really learn” the language for three years. She could not speak it at all for several years, but is required to now because it is obligatory in every school.

Agata’s English class is similar to foreign language classes here at Pentucket. She told me, “We have one big book with every exercise. During every each class we learn about grammar, we listen to English speakers, we talk with our classmates or the teacher, we write essays, and we learn new vocabulary. Sometimes we read set books, but set books are rare.” (She told me all of this in English, perfect grammar and all. How many Pentucket students could speak Spanish, Latin, or German that well?)

She is not a big fan of the school system and the curriculum, but she said that she “[likes] it so much because of the people.”

In her downtime, Agata likes to watch television series, meet with her friends, and sleep – basically what every student enjoys. Agata is also a very talented dancer. She does jazz dancing, modern dancing, disco dancing, and cheerleading.

I met Agata this past summer when she came to America for the first time and was my guest for a week. Of what she has seen in the United States, she said that one of the biggest differences between the United States and Poland is that Americans generally seem happier. However, she does love the food of her home country.

A very special thank you to Agata for sharing her story with me. It was great to get in touch with her again, and I cannot wait until I can see her again, maybe even in Poland.