The difficulty of this task, the difficulty of making this list, and of taking this experience and putting it on paper, was undoubtedly indefinable!! Nevertheless, I put my thinking-cap on and gave it a try. So, I give you, some great reasons to teach in Poland!
1. The people
Whenever I talk about my time here, more often than not the first thing I mention is the people. They are fantastic people; friendly, humorous, eager, hard-working, fun, welcoming, the list goes on. Even with my extremely limited Polish language skills (and I do mean LIMITED!), I have had no huge problems, no negativity, no awkward moments (well, not too awkward).
It has been amazing; they are one of the friendliest nations I have had the pleasure of getting to know, and I’ll always be glad I was given the chance. The Polish people alone are definitely a good enough reason to visit Poland – just come and see for yourself!
2. Places of interest
Whether you’re a History Geek, a Sightseer, a Tree Hugger, a Sports Enthusiast, a Photographer, the Outdoorsy Type, or simply a Human Being, Poland has something that will definitely catch your attention.
From the history and remnants of World War Two (the most famous being Auschwitz & Birkenau) through to the many memorials and statues commemorating heroes, fighters, and Independence. From volleyball & handball in summer (with football all year round!) to ice-hockey, ice-skating, skiing & sledging (oh yes!) in winter.
Plentiful lakes, forests and mountains provide beautiful, picturesque settings. Manmade cathedrals, churches and castles (for example, the Wawel in Kraków) are situated side-by-side with the natural wonders of Poland (namely The Wieliczka Salt Mine, The Tatra Mountains & The Masurian Lake District). All this, and much more, shows that there is truly something for everyone in this breath-taking country.
3. In Poland every weekend is party time
It has to be said that the Polish people certainly know how to party and how to have a good time. Pubs and clubs are open until early morning, the drinks are cheap, there’s good music, dancing (or shuffling!) and the chance to make new friends. What more could you want?!
And why wouldn’t Poland know how to party, with their numerous (circa. 70) breweries producing beers such as Tyskie, Warka, and Żywiec, as well as their Polish wines? And, let’s not even get started on their Polish vodka (editors note: Polish Martinis are the BEST cocktail EVER).
4. Customs and traditions
Every country, every land, even every family has their own, unique customs and traditions, and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about Poland’s very own. It always amazes me how different things can be from place to place.
Their Christmas traditions vary greatly from my Irish Christmas: Santa Claus, or Mikolaj, comes to the children on the 6th of December, they have their dinner (traditionally fish) on the 24th after they see the first star in the sky, and their Christmas season ends officially on the 2nd of February! Crazy, right?!
Other traditions include two or three day long weddings with copious amounts of alcohol, particularly, vodka. ‘Fat Thursday’ is the name given to the feast eaten the last Thursday before the beginning of Lent, ‘Name Days’ are widely celebrated in a similar way to, and often instead of, a birthday, and there are many, many more. Handshakes, toasts with vodka shots, leaving your shoes at the door, manners, correct use of ‘Pan’ (Mr) and ‘Pani’ (Mrs) are also customary in Poland, among others. You have to see it to believe it!.
5. Currency exchange rate
Even though, it is, of course, not the most important thing, I felt the need to mention currency and exchange rates. Coming from a Euro-zone or Pound Sterling, you will get a great exchange rate, as 1 Euro is about 4.17 PLN whereas 1 GBP rings in at about 5.02 PLN. It’s great value for money on the way over but probably not the place if you want to work to save. While you’re in Poland however, you will get quality for money and the opportunity to spend your well-earned cash on visiting the wonders of Poland, and naturally, testing the food and drink.
Lisa Troy went on the Poland internship, teaching English in a Polish school. Unfortunately, the Polish internship is no longer running but you can still apply for jobs in Poland.