Nine months ago I arrived in Poland not knowing what to expect. I arrived exhausted and overdressed for the surprisingly beautiful Polish climate (remember, this statement is coming from a Northern Canadian). I was warmly welcomed by the Ernis and the students alike. Unsurprisingly, there was a steep learning curve to both life in Poland and the new job, but I can say truthfully that I got through it without once regretting my decision to come here.
These last nine months have been filled with new experiences and new sights. In the beginning everything from travelling to teaching was a bit intimidating. But, I warmed up to the area and I definitely think Gdansk is the most beautiful city in Poland. And I love taking the trains. And as far as teaching goes one thing that I have found interesting is how truly unpredictable the students are, both children and adults. You think a topic will be good, and it flops. Think a topic is awful and it's a hit. Students who were difficult to talk to in the beginning, are actually the most open and articulate. And now I have trouble getting them to stop talking. I will never forget when I asked one student, a quiet middle aged man, how his day was, and he responded, “good, but what the f***.” I had never heard that word in this sense before, but I wholeheartedly think it should be a thing. But, my pride aside, I think my favourite memory will always be that time I fell off a bike heading to the dunes.
One thing this nine months has granted me was the opportunity to see Poland beyond the eyes of a tourist, through both my own experiences but, also through the many, many conversations I have had with my students. While my experience in Poland is limited to Pomeriania, Warsaw and Krakow, I hope to see more before I leave the country. One of my dreams has always been to see Europe. While I have only seen a tiny part of the continent, I am very happy with what I have seen in Poland over these last months. And my opinion of Poland will probably forever remain terribly biased as a result of my time spent here. When I return to Canada and think of Europe, it will not be the streets of Paris or the beaches of the Mediterrean I think about, but the many beautiful places in which I spent my time here in Poland.
Although, I have to admit the last few months in lockdown has put a strange spin on my experience. And it is of course because of the worldwide situation we are all in that I do not have a definite answer as to “what’s next?” My immediate response is travel. But I am unsure of how far I will be able to go due to both restrictions and border closures. And the ever looming threat of a second wave. For now the plan is travel around Poland for the month of June. I would like to see as much of the country as I can before I head back to Canada. And after that, Asia? Maybe? Who knows.
My name is Madison. I am from Alberta, Canada. I like to read books, go hiking and explore new cities. Even though I am Canadian, I don't watch hockey and I don't like snow. I graduated from The University of Lethbridge in 2018 after studying English Literature and Art History for six years. I have travelled to the Mexican state, Nayarit and to Tokyo, Japan. I hope to travel all over the world.