Polish for Expats

„Stranger in the town….”

2010/09/30 9:53:00 Written by 

Stranger in the town…” – I do understand this feeling. I experienced it during my first trip abroad.  The first western European country I have visited was the UK.  Despite having English lessons beforehand, I was shocked at the airport, when I couldn’t understand even the shortest communicates.  Later on, it was even worse. I didn’t realise that the English I have heard at school were so different from the language the native speakers used.

I went to visit my English boyfriend,  so for the rest of my „holidays”, I was surrounded by the English language only. My boyfriend realised that my stay might cause difficulties and took me on a fantastic trip around the country. I was assimilating the language with the climate of the country, its history, arts, architecture, landscape and cuisine.  During one month I learned more than during 3 years of studying English at school!  During my trip, I discovered the secrets of successful learning a foreign language:

1. It must be thought in the country the people use it as a native language.   So if you are in Poland to it is an adventure of a lifetime.

2. Motivation. If you don’t want to feel like a „stranger” –  blind,  deaf and mute – and have a strong need for communication, it is enough to open your eyes, ears and mouth.

3. Attraction. The best way is to discover the language and the country at the same time. If you use the chance to associate language with landscape, taste, smell,  the town you live now,  people you like, the language will be absorbed together with the air you breathe.

4. Cultural context. Each language has its cultural code, which has been developed by generations, it’s history and social structure, so it is unique and invisible from the first glance. That is why most foreigners suffer from cultural shock.  The situations of misunderstanding are sometimes funny but might be painful and confusing as well.

As I still remember the feeling of being a stranger, I would like to be your guide on your way in discovering Poland and invite you to share your experience.    I believe that understanding is the only way to force the Babel Tower and break down the cultural and language barrier.

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