This programme presented us with so many teaching opportunities including teaching students in Krosno State College about Irish culture and language. The students were all so interested in learning about our culture as much as we were interested in theirs. Students from St. Mary’s also got the opportunity to go to a school and give a few talks in English about Ireland and what university is really like. The students were all so intrigued by our accents and the way we spoke. The school was very different to schools we have in Northern Ireland as they did not wear uniforms which is unheard of where we are from! We gave the students a chance to ask us whatever they wanted to know about Ireland and what it was like and the questions didn’t stop! We were asked about the food; we were asked to speak in Irish and we were asked how much going to university cost us which to their surprise was a lot. We discovered university is completely free in Poland, which is so different from what we are used to at home as we have to pays fees which are more than £4,000 a year and are on the rise each year, the polish students were very shocked to hear this.
We were very fortunate to have had the opportunity to try some of the foods that are native to Poland. We tried a pierogi and we had not tried anything like it before! We also tried battered cheese and chips. The food here is very different from the food in Ireland and it took us a while to adjust!
St Patricks Day
We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day during our time here and it did not disappoint! We were in Kraków for our country’s national
holiday. We went to an Irish pub called Ronnie Drew’s Irish Pub. We had great “craic” in this pub, and it was nice to hear the music we hear at home which definitely made us settle in a bit better. After our lovely time at the Irish pub, we moved on to a night club called La Bodega Del Ron and we had a fabulous night celebrating our culture whilst in another country. We also learnt about the love your country has for vodka shots on this night. We had a great time!
The scheme itself The application procedure was very simple, and we were free to submit applications to as many colleges as we chose before being matched with Krosno State College. We received funding from the university’s touring scheme in order to help us pay for flights and accommodation for the duration of our stay. We flew from Dublin airport on the 14th of March as a group of 8 with high spirits dreaming of what the next few weeks would hold. We were welcomed with open arms from members of the college, and they were more than accommodating with any questions or queries we had throughout the trip.
When we first arrived, we were met with certainly a culture shock. We were offered breakfast with our stay in our hotel however the food presented for breakfast here such as breads, meats and eggs is very different to our definition of breakfast of an Irish fry. It goes without saying, Polish cuisine is very different from Irish cuisine. We tried many different dishes and it’s safe to say that they were very different in comparison to what we are used to. One day after uni we tried a Hot Chocolate from Michel’s Cafe, which we loved. There is lots to do around Krosno, we went out for food and drinks a lot as well as going swimming, to the trampoline park and Club Nafta at the weekend. We most definitely had a blast here in Krosno and we will miss it lots! We also learned that school starts sometimes as early as 7am here and could end as late as 7pm whereas in Ireland school starts no earlier than 9am and finishes at 4pm. It took us some time to adjust to the norms of polish life and began to be a bit more adventurous in what we ate and activities we did, somethings more favourable than others how every certainly an experience. In the past few weeks, we spent here in Krosno we learnt loads and we are so grateful for this opportunity. The students and staff members within the college were so welcoming and were there for us for any questions or queries we had.
On Thursday 23rd March all the Erasmus students and I, all attended the Glass Heritage Museum. It was a two-hour tour and we were given the opportunity to see various glassware being made. Glass products from Krosno are valued for their excellent quality and top-class design. It was very interesting to watch various glassware being made and I believe it has allowed us all to expand our knowledge regarding how much work goes into making glass designs. Which I can say, I definitely took for granted in the past. Without a doubt, there is a lot of work put into each and every single glassware item and my appreciation for the glassware has grown significantly since completing this tour. As well as watching the men make the glassware we also were brought round the factory and were given the opportunity to see all the different workers which contribute to completing the glassware. There were many different workstations throughout the factory. As well as this there was a room full of mirrors in the factory which created an optical illusion when you stood in front of them. Some mirrors made you look short, while others made you look tall, fat, thin and so on. I think I speak for the full group of Irish students when I say that this tour was very insightful and I’m happy we got the opportunity to complete the tour around the glass factory.