The first time I was immersed among Polish-speaking people, I was totally utterly lost. I could not separate one word from the other, and here I thought I was good at languages, because my sense of hearing is very keen. However in Poland, I was frustrated, and socially it was often hard to not understand most of what people were saying, to say the least. And it was tiring.
It did not help living in India with my Polish fiance, as we did not communicate in Polish at all. The times that my Polish really improved here and there was when Andrzej’s parents were around, and then I was compelled to pick up sentences words and phrases.
Still I needed a kick-start.
So finally I gave in … byłam w szkole języka polskiego w zeszłym tygodniu !
(I’ve been to the school of Polish Language last week.)
It was great fun, and the only reason I could survive was because I knew a good few handfuls of Polish words already. The grammar is a matter of practice, and does not come so easily, but I am resilient, and I will continue to practice every day, make a fool of myself, and have small conversations !
Mind you, studying the Polish language is an act of brevity and requires utmost determination. It reminds me sometimes of Sanskrit, with its mind boggling declinations and its massive landscape of rules. Still it helps to start learning it, and then it is really a matter of listening carefully and practicing lots.
My school of Polish Language : Akademia Jezyke Polskiego. (The website here : http://en.ajp.gdansk.pl/ )
A small review here :
Location : Perfect !
It’s very centrally located, right at the WRZESZCZ bus stop, easy to find and accessible from everywhere in Gdansk or even from Gdynia or Sopot. There are trains that go to the Wrzeszcz PKP train station from the old town in Gdansk as well as from Sopot or Gdynia. And there are buses from everywhere that are directly connected to Wrzeszcz.
Communication before course : Very helpful, but hard to reach !
Joanna was really helpful, although I tried contacting the office by email as well as phone and did not get through in the first round, but I found them via facebook and she was quick to reply. This was even though it was Saturday already, and she made it easy for me to sign up, and also agrees that I can pay later.
Teachers and teaching : Super !
Our teachers Kaja and Marta were great. They were both very patient and helpful, answering every small question we had even though they may have been silly. Marta had many great stories as well to share with us, which made the class fun and engaging. Kaja was very animated, “showing us” the meanings of words by acting them out, and this was very useful.
Course Content : Intensive !
If your level in Polish is ZERO, then do not join A1, but A0. The teachers will not stop talking in Polish, and you have to really keep up. This is very useful as you gradually start to grasp grammar and vocabulary.
Afternoon Sessions : Not everyday, but fun !
The first afternoon was a ride to the old town, jumping on a train, and showing us some basics of traveling around in Gdansk. This was great because it helped us at a practical level to navigate around the city. It was a hot day and a bit exhausting and the teacher did a great job.
We had another afternoon session of the infamous Polish phonetics, and another afternoon session of preparing the cold soup Chlodnik (pronounced H-wod-nik), which was fun and informative, tummy filling and healthy at the same time !
I signed up for the one week course, and I feel more confident. I’ve even got a certificate from them ! It is a little on the expensive side considering that there was only 5 days of class, but I feel like I have gained quite a lot in a week. It would not be worth it to the institute if it were any less in price considering there were only three people in the class in the first week.
I would recommend the course and school to anyone looking for a Polish speaking course. But remember that you will be signing up for 5 days, not 7 !