let’s go to Poland

After finishing my teaching contract three weeks ago, I am now on permanent vacation – but let’s look back at March…

For my spring vacation, I decided to do something a little different: I participated in a week-long program called Angloville. It’s a fantastic language immersion program for native Polish people to improve their English. I spent 10 days in Poland overall, giving me 2 weekends in Krakow (before & after the program) and 6 days in the mountain city of Zab (during the program).

I was traveling by myself, so it took lots of tries for me to do each step to get me closer to my hostel. Two times at the ticket machine. Three times walking past the train stop – it was seriously not marked well… that’s my excuse. Two times asking for directions to the hostel (which was literally right down the street from the station). But I made it!

On the way to the Schindler Factory

For my first full day there, I went to the Schindler Factory with an Australian girl that I met at the hostel. It was a long exhibit, but it was well done and easy to follow and rather sad at the same time. So much has happened in this country in the past 100 years and seeing it brought to life with images and videos is unreal.

Krakow city center, pigeons and all…

On Saturday, I met up with the 13 other Anglos at Krakow city center. This place is absolutely gorgeous: all of the buildings are painted different colors, there’s a super cool fountain, the church is magnificent, the market is charming, and there are pigeons everywhere. After 3 hours, we had seen a lot: castles, churches, dragons, and more. We all had a traditional Polish lunch together afterwards. Later that night, I met a handful of fellow teaching assistants who were staying at my hostel! Yes, even in Poland, I can somehow find people who live 30 minutes away from me in France with mutual friends. I love Europe.

Inside the church at the main square
View of the church from the old market in the city center

The next day, it was off to southern Poland for the rest of the week. Zab, which means “tooth” in Polish, is where we all stayed. The group of people was great, and super diverse. Boys, girls, older, younger, Brits, Americans, Polish, etc. It made the long days more bearable! Each day, we had 6 one-on-one sessions with a Polish participant and one group session. You would think that talking for 6 hours a day would be difficult, but the only hard part was the wear and tear on my vocal cords. Otherwise, the topics came easily and each participant had something to share. The food was delicious, the venue was cozy, and we even had the chance to take a couple of day trips to neighboring cities like Zakopane to do some shopping and spend some casual time together. By the end of the week, it was weird to say goodbye. It was like summer camp all over again!

Taken in one of the unpronounceable Polish cities where we spent an afternoon with our small groups
Me with the “sleeping soldier” mountain in a small town near Zab

The weekend after the program, many of the participants were headed back to Krakow – to visit, or because that’s where they lived – so we were able to meet up for meals and explore around together. It was a perfect way to discover a new city: with new friends from all over.

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