Teaching English at Summer Camps Abroad
8 Months in Poland by Candice Nadasen
It has been 8 months since I set foot in Poland. As I look back at the past few months, it makes me think of the happy times and the challenging times.
Arriving in Kraków felt surreal. I felt so blessed to have been able to travel despite the back breaking 48-hour journey on a repatriation flight. It was the end of summer and the weather was very warm and made me feel happy.
Getting settled into my new home was easy! I started working at a preschool on my third day in Krakow, I moved into a flat the same week and the rest just fell into place.
My flat, situated in the heart of Kazimierz was a 25 minutes’ walk to the preschool I worked at. It was a beautiful journey crossing the river to get to work each morning and again in the afternoon. Kazimerz proved to be quite a social place to live in. I enjoyed the various restaurants and bars we frequented as well as the good buzz the place gave off.
With the city center a mere seven-minute walk away and tram stations close by, it was easy to get around anywhere really. I was slowly adapting to my new life in Poland. The language barrier was challenging and not always a pleasant experience, however with the help of Google Translate, I was able to get what I needed most times.
Adapting to the Europe lifestyle was relatively easier than I expected. Obtaining the required PESEL number was an easy process provided you had a Polish speaking person to do all the talking for you. A concept that seems easy enough but one I had to get used too was changing from outdoor shoes to indoor ones. It did not make sense to me at the time but now I understand why……
The highlight of my month was meeting my Polish students. The ages of the students varied from 3 years old to adults which makes teaching quite different but gives me so much more opportunity to learn. Walks along the Vistula river quickly became a daily habit which I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated.
The beginning of October brought around a slight chill in the air and a beautiful start to Autumn. Having adjusted to my new lifestyle, I felt more confident in my everyday life. Celebrating a birthday in a new city was exciting. Walks became more beautiful as the leaves started changing colors. Truly spectacular to see all the different Autumn colors!
An incredibly quiet month. To say it was chilly would have been an understatement.
I tried learning Polish but it was just too difficult, so I gave that up and depended solely on Google Translate to help me get by.
I visited Krakus Mound one day and stumbled upon a very colorful graveyard. It was the first week of November where Catholic people around the world celebrated All Saints’ Day (Wszystkich Swietych in Polish) and remembered deceased family and friends. It was an incredibly beautiful sight to see.
When my friends first heard that I was moving to Poland, they warned me about the ghastly European winters. I went on a shopping spree for adequate Winter clothing. After breaking the bank, I was as equipped as I could be to take on my first European Winter. One of the things I did enjoy was the snow! It was a magical experience and one I will not forget for a long time to come.
With December comes Christmas which was as different as one would expect. Sadly, I did not get to experience the full extent of Christmas markets and the normal Christmas traditions. Even though it was very cold, my friends and I still took to the streets for winter walks and Gluhwein. The Polish tradition of Christmas Nativity Scene which can be found in and around the city Centre. The intricate details of each piece were astounding and a sight to behold.
As we approached Christmas, I got to experience a Rorate caeli as well as Wigilia which I celebrated with friends