Poland

The Polish people are extremely friendly and “Cześć” is a word you will learn very fast when you are in Poland. It’s the way how (especially young) people great each other. The word itself might look very difficult to pronounce, but as you will say it many times a day, it will become second nature to you!  There is no language requirement to go on an exchange to Poland, although a willingness to learn the language is essential.

School

19The Polish education system has 6 years of primary school followed by 3 years of Junior high school. At the end of Junior high school students sit an examination to determine if they continue to an academic Senior high school for 3 years or a vocational school for a further 2 years. School attendance is compulsory for all children aged between 7 and 18 years of age. Most teenagers attend high school public schools with between 200 and 700  students.  In Polish Senior high schools, students have to select a curriculum strand before they sit for the entrance exam for Senior high school (at the end of Junior high school).They must choose whether they want to major in Biology, Languages, Mathematics or Physics. After passing the entrance exams they are assigned to groups of students who have chosen the same curriculum strand.  These 25-30 students with similar interests form a class. They stay with the same group or class during all the courses. Each class of students has got its own tutor who acts as an advisor to students for 3 years.  The school day usually starts at 8 am in the morning. During the day a student can have between 4 and 6 lessons each lasting 45 minutes with several short breaks of between 5 and 20 minutes during the day. Apart from usual classes there are many extracurricular activities offered by schools: classes in Arts, Music, Sports, Computers, and School Choir or School Band.

Family

18Your host family will be a typical Polish family most likely with teenagers of approximately your age. In most Polish families both parents work and come back home from work about 4:00 or 5:00 pm. Teenagers are used to close- knit  family life and  obeying their parents rules. The family usually meets during meal times, particularly at dinner. Since most of the people in Poland live in blocks of apartments, teenagers are used to sharing rooms with brothers or sisters. Polish family activities are generally traditional: visiting friends and relatives, celebrating holidays together, watching TV and organizing trips and leisure time together. Exchange students will generally have someone of their age in the family and someone will speak English, German or French.  There are 3 or 4 main meals traditionally served in a Polish home: breakfast (7:00 – 9:00am), second breakfast (10:00 – 12:00am), dinner (2:00 – 4:00pm) and supper (7:00 – 9:00pm). A typical dinner begins with soup followed by meat (pork, beef or chicken) with vegetables and a range of pastries and cakes with tea or coffee for dessert. The entire family usually eats dinner together. Very often that is the only time they meet during a very busy day.

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