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Poland

From reverie to celebration.  Have you already experienced Polish holidays and parties celebrated in November and December?

November is behind us, which is considered by many Poles to be the bluest month.  While it begins with reflection and memories (Day of the Dead), it ends mysteriously, magically, and joyfully.

‘Andrzejki’ – Polish fun for unmarried women

Andrzejki is a very popular holiday among Poles.  In the past, on the night of November 29-30, on the eve of Saint Andrew the Apostle, unmarried girls did fortune-telling in the hope of finding or winning their beloved man.  Today, anyone can do fortune-telling, and thanks to good fun, the tradition remains very much alive.  Fortune telling can be made from cast wax into a bowl through a keyhole, shoes, cards, or everyday objects placed in a row.

The KLUB DIALOGU Polish School for Foreigners hosted a fantastic St. Andrew’s Day event for our students.  The teachers in the role of fairies were just as great as during Polish language lessons.  And some of the predictions came true 100%.

‘Barbórka’ – Polish feast of miners and steelworkers

Another important day in the Polish calendar is December 4.  It is the day of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of miners.  Barbórka is the feast of Saint Barbara, very grandly celebrated primarily in Silesia, where the largest number of mines are located.

Do you know the animated Polish fairy tale for children ‘Bolek and Lolek among the miners’?  It’s a cult fairy tale, so it’s worth watching, although it doesn’t use Polish.  We can deduce from it how important mining was to the Polish economy in the 1950s – 1980s, and the term “black gold” for coal remains to this day.

Motorsports enthusiasts probably know the ‘Barbórka Rally’, which ends the rally season.  This year, the rally will be held for the 60th time!  The schedule of the Warsaw races can be found HERE.

‘Mikołajki’ – this Polish holiday is awaited by both the young and old

Throughout the year, both the young and old wait for the arrival of Santa Claus during Christmas.  In Poland, we have great news for all impatient people!  On December 6th, we celebrate ‘mikołajki’!  The custom itself has been known on Polish lands for a long time, and until the 19th century, December 6 was even a day off from work.  Now, ‘mikołajki’ is most often celebrated in schools for children, community centres, but also in the KLUB DIALOGU Polish School for Foreigners. We give each other small gifts.  This is great Polish fun, bringing a lot of joy.

New Year’s Eve (‘Sylwester’) is the inevitable end of the year

The year ends with ‘sylwester’!  The last night of December took its name from the name day of New Year’s Eve and the liturgical memory of Pope Sylwester I. On this holiday in Poland, we want to close the calendar year without disputes and debts.  How else can we bring happiness to the coming year?  One way is not cleaning on December 31st.  The reason is very simple – by sweeping dust, we can also sweep happiness!  Air bubbles in a glass of champagne can also have a symbolic meaning – large, irregular, and chaotic ones mean many changes, small bubbles mean balance in personal life and good health.  Certainly, each bubble is a representation of success in learning Polish 😊!

Language trivia – check if you know

Did you know that the names of Polish games, customs, and rituals are written with a small letter: andrzejki, mikołajki, sylwester (even if they come from the name – Andrzej, Mikołaj or Sylwester).  Barbórka is a Polish holiday, which is why we write it with a capital letter.

effective communikation

THE POWER OF COMMUNICATION. HOW TO SPEAK SO THAT WE ARE HEARD? – Why is it so important not only while learning the polish language? (Episode I)

How to speak so that we are heard? Why is effective communication so important not only when learning Polish?

The Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU is a unique place where not only Polish lessons take place, but where we passionately share Polish tradition, culture, and lifestyle. We understand DIALOGUE as effective communication, full acceptance of the diversity of cultures, openness to exchanging thoughts, and the willingness to get to know each other. That’s why we like to talk so much 😊.

That’s all (and so much) about KLUB DIALOGU School. What does sociological research say?

Many sociological studies show that the effectiveness of our communication (i.e., whether we are heard and understood) depends largely on our origin (country, region, family, community) and cultural experiences.

Deborah Tannen is a professor of linguistics and author of many publications on interpersonal communication, which proves that competent people are not always listened to. It turns out that HOW something is said more important than WHAT is said.

Language is not only a tool for communicating information, and learning Polish is not only a verbal statement.

Everything we want to say has to be said in the right way. Therefore, depending on the situation, we adjust the tone of the voice, its intensity, and even the speed of speech. Elements such as addressing the other person directly or indirectly, choice of words, a pause, and even the use of questions or apologies are important. These are cultural signals that not only communicate what we mean, but evaluate us as human beings.

For example, a discreet PAUSE. A pause that appears in a dialogue between two people. In each country, and even region of the same country, it is treated as ‘natural’ in a different way. In NY City, the long pause in speech is unbearable, so people keep talking until their interlocutor cuts in. Meanwhile, in Texas – only a longer pause allows the interlocutor to express his opinion. This slight difference in conversation style can have a huge impact on communication and how we will be judged.

When learning Polish (or any other foreign language), make sure that your style of expression is respected. People from all over the world apply for a group Polish language course, which is why it is so important to respect each other’s communication styles. Italians are said to speak loudly and quickly, which is why they dominate the rest of the group. The Japanese are withdrawn and don’t ‘cut people off’; because of this, they can avoid interactions.

Polish is difficult, and learning Polish as a foreign language can be exhausting, so a pleasant atmosphere during Polish lessons will be an advantage when we want to be heard.

‘Me’, ‘mine’, ‘ours’ – how to communicate effectively and emphasize your own value? Take this also into account when learning Polish

You probably heard often how the leader of your team brags about your joint project saying: ‘My project has received the recognition of the CEO!’.

Deborah Tannen’s research on the style of expression shows that it is mostly men who will use the words ‘me’, and ‘mine’, when it comes to teamwork, as opposed to women, who will judge even their own work as ‘our project’, expecting – sometimes unsuccessfully – that someone else will appreciate them. Ultimately, whoever fights for it and communicates loudly gains recognition and is heard.

You probably noticed that women are in majority in KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School 😊. It just so happened, but thanks to this, we are a perfectly harmonious and a strong team, which together builds its values ​​and creates its identity. During Polish language courses, we try to praise our students a lot and encourage them to learn. This is important because although self-motivation is the key to success, the incentive of the teacher is the fuel that drives this motivation. Don’t forget to celebrate even those little successes. Talk about them. This naturally affects fantastic development, and learning Polish becomes an adventure and a pleasure!

Self-confidence gives many benefits in personal life and has a positive effect on learning Polish

Self-confidence is one of the main attributes that determine whether someone wants to listen to you. Especially in large corporations, it is this feature that determines whether the CEO (or another director) will decide on your case to be YES or NO. Your credibility and diligence is hidden precisely in self-confidence.

Research by psychologist Lauren Heatherington and her team shows that women are more likely to downplay their certainty; men are more likely to minimize their doubts. This is important information that is worth working on.

And again, the association with learning Polish comes to mind. If you do not know which grammatical form to use in a sentence, just be confident and the interlocutor will not even notice minor mistakes. They will be delighted that you speak Polish! Acceptance to make mistakes is one of the key values. It opens the mind to ‘learning from one’s own mistakes’, thus accelerating the process of learning Polish as a foreign language.

You can also practice during the Polish language lessons at KLUB DIALOGU School as much as you want. Be confident and learning Polish will bring the desired results! Check your language level, choose a Polish course for yourself and join us today!

Direct speech is an important part of effective communication. It is worth taking this into account when learning Polish

We all know that it is better to be clear about what we mean. Unfortunately, indirect speech is much more often used in communication between people. This is an element that distinguishes the culture of one country from another and can cause great confusion.

In Poland, you have probably encountered a direct form of giving orders, which could be offensive to you. A Polish boss will say: ‘The accountant needs help with the wage slips, help him tomorrow morning’.

On the other hand, the greatest value in Far Eastern culture is the ability to communicate whilst not speaking directly, in order to ‘not lose face’. For example, the Chinese are very sensitive to the so-called ‘loss of face’. It means that even trivial (from the point of view of a European) mishaps can be considered a total embarrassment. So we will not hear from a Chinese person that we are poor employees, that we speak Chinese or English poorly, or that we are doing something wrong. Any comments will always be articulated very politely, indirectly, like ‘maybe you could change the method’, ‘I think if you would do it this way, you would do it even better’.

Another example?

Have you eaten today? – a Chinese person will often ask you. A European might perceive it as an invitation to lunch or dinner. However, it’s just like our ‘how are you today?’. We should not answer this question in the negative, because it is not about whether we have actually already eaten today. The Chinese explain this by the poverty that prevailed in China in the past and in which time this greeting was born. It had a literal meaning at the time, but today it is just a simple greeting.

Conclusion: Both direct and indirect speech can be effective forms of communication as long as the chosen style is understood equally by both parties.

Working in such a diverse environment as the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU, we must constantly observe and learn the communication styles presented by our students. This is an extremely important cultural aspect that affects whether students will be willing to learn Polish or not. Learning Polish as a foreign language requires a direct form, especially at lower levels. A student with a limited vocabulary is also forced to use direct phrases, even if they may sound rude (for example in a shop: ‘give milk’). Do not give up. Practice is the most important thing!

The Polish language course guarantees that the student will learn a lot about Polish culture, the communication styles used (e.g. formal and informal), colloquial speech, what is allowed and what is considered rude. Talking to other students is also learning Polish, which broadens your horizons.

Conclusion: How to speak so that we are listened to and why is it so important not only when learning Polish?

So what is the most effective way to communicate in order to be heard and understood (also in a foreign language, for example, in Polish)?

There is no one answer.

Effective communication is not just about saying what we mean. HOW we say it is important. And the style of communication (how we speak and listen) differs significantly between people. It is influenced by many factors, such as: the situation in which we found ourselves, culture (country, work), subordination in an organisation, cultural experiences, or who we talk to. Therefore, we can easily get into trouble when we want to interpret someone else’s statement through our prism.

When learning Polish as a foreign language, many misunderstandings can arise. It is important to talk about them. This is one of the reasons why Polish language lessons at KLUB DIALOGU School are available. The huge variety of students from all over the world (from America to Japan) means that we can learn from each other. It is worth having courage, asking, making mistakes, communicating, looking at your strengths and using them.

Each Polish language course is a unique adventure that we undertake together with our students.

Wycieczka do Łodzi

As every year, the summer holidays in KLUB DIALOGU is a time full of attractions, events, meetings, and fun! In addition to intensive, summer Polish language courses, we warmly invite you to special events that take place from June to August.

Summer Holidays in KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School

Orientarium in Łódź

We started our series of events on 4th June with a trip to the city of Łódź, to the Orientarium. The Orientarium is a very modern zoo, inhabited not only by land animals, but also aquatic animals, such as sharks, rays, as well as corals, anemones, and others. We definitely recommend it! Read the account from the event and see the photos.

Filmowy Piąteczek/Film Friday – watching films in Polish

The next meeting was FILM FRIDAY, which took place in our school. This is already a tradition of KLUB DIALOGU. During this event, we watch Polish films with English subtitles, and after the film we discuss cultural differences and life in different parts of the world. A perfect and attractive way of learning Polish for everyone!

Move well to the beat of the music

We love to dance! And you? If you share this passion or you like to watch others move to the rhythm of the music, we invite you for outdoor SALSA at the La Playa Beach club by the Vistula River or at the Silent Disco at the Studio Bar. We guarantee a great impression! 😊

Birthday of the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU

As every year, the most important event for us is the birthday of our KLUB DIALOGU School. We always invite you to celebrate with us at the beginning of July! You can expect a lot of fun during this unique meeting! You can even win very attractive prizes! You cannot miss it.

Canoeing trip – go downstream the Wkra River. Relax

On 16th July we will go canoeing. 30km from Warsaw there is a beautiful river, Wkra, and this is the river that we will be able to go down for 2 hours, enjoying basking in nature. We will end the day with a barbecue, beach sports, and a well-deserved rest! If you want, we will speak in Polish. It will be like a little Polish lesson.

Night Breakfast Bar and what else?

The Night Breakfast Bar is a trendy place for real ‘foodies’, with stalls serving local and international street food such as skewers, burgers, tacos, and pizza. Eat, play, and taste after sunset in good company!

What else awaits us? Playing boardgames by the Vistula River, Chopin’s concert in the Łazienki Park, and bowling!

Be sure to check the calendar of events for 2022. Like our fb KLUB DIALOGU page and stay up to date! Bring your family and friends with you and have fun with us!

konstytucje 3 maja

You probably noticed that the first week of May in Poland was a loooong weekend.

What is the May 3 Constitution Day?

The day of May 3 is ‘Constitution Day’ in Poland, commemorating the adoption of the Constitution on May 3, 1791. It was the first Constitution to be passed in Europe and the second in the world (after the US Constitution passed in 1787). This event is considered to be one of the most important in the history of Poland. It had its further consequences… The adoption of this highest legal act provoked hostility of the Russian Empire, which in 1793 and 1795, together with Austria and Prussia, completely annexed Poland. Poland lost its independence for 123 years, only to regain it after the First World War in 1918.

Why was the Constitution of May 3 created?

The constitution passed on May 3 introduced a number of changes to the Polish system, in particular:

# heredity of the throne, which was to prevent foreign interference in the affairs of the Republic of Poland,

# improved the functioning of the state administration,

# gave new rights to all citizens.

Where is the original May 3 Constitution document?

Three original copies of the Constitution of May 3 are in the Central Archives of Historical Records in Warsaw.

And what does the Constitution of May 3 mean for us today?

In today’s Poland, May 3 is a day off, and people celebrate by participating in parades, concerts, and public appearances. The Constitution of May 3, although it was only in force for a year at the time, gave Poland an impulse to adopt a modern Constitution on April 2, 1997, which is still in force today.

In KLUB DIALOGU Polish Language School we teach  not only the Polish language, but also share our culture, tradition and lifestyle with students. You too – are very welcome to our School :)!

nauka-polskiego

FROM A0 TO THE B1 CERTIFICATE EXAM IN POLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. HOW IT’S POSSIBLE? An interview with our real Chinese student.

Zeming (he likes it when he is called Zeminek, i.e. using the Polish diminutive form) is the first student from China who started learning Polish from scratch at our KLUB DIALOGU school. After less than 5 years, in March 2022, he took the State Certificate Examination at B1 level. Students, especially from non-Slavic-speaking countries who take up this considerable challenge, know that it is a great achievement! Congratulations! 😊

That is why we asked ‘Zeminek’ for a short interview about his way through this ‘silk road’!

Hi Zeminek, thank you for agreeing to talk about your ‘passion’ for the Polish language, all the more that all your Polish as a foreign language learning from A0 to the B1 exam took place at the KLUB DIALOGU School 😊. You give hope and faith to our other students that it is possible! So tell me:

Are you a real Chinese guy? How old are you?

Ha, ha – oh yeah! I am a real Chinese guy! I was born in Shanghai, China, and am now 30 years old.

When did you come to Poland and how did your adventure with the Polish language begin?

On the very first day, when I landed in Poland, in October 2017, I thought that it would be worth starting to learn the native language. Different continent, different country, different people, and different letters! Yes, I absolutely had to study it! So I was just surfing the Internet when I found the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU. It immediately caught my attention because it stood out among other offers. I thought it was a good choice. I didn’t hesitate for long and came straight to the school office. And here I am! ‘I grew’ with you for 5 years! 😊

It’s wonderful that you are with us! So tell me which elements of the Polish language were the most problematic to learn?

Grammar! Horror, massacre! And including: any order of words in the sentence, conjugation and declension, gender: masculine, feminine and neutral and their inflection!, personal pronouns!!, inflection of numerals!!!, oh my God, Vocative?!!!! – nooo – almost everything. And you know how Poles talk quickly …

Even so, Poles speak slower than Italians! 😊 Well, we have to try harder! How much is Chinese different from Polish?

Very! I don’t even know where to start? Of course, you can see the difference in the alphabet at first glance 😉. And then it only gets worse. The Chinese language has practically no grammar, maybe to a small extent, while the grammar of the Polish language is crucial in communication. For example, nouns in Chinese have virtually no inflection. There are no coincidences or even plural – just add a number and you will know what amount you are talking about. Verbs are also not inflected, neither by persons nor by tenses. The appropriate time is indicated in a sentence by time factors such as “yesterday” and “tomorrow”. Also, the counting system in Chinese is slightly different than in Polish. And each part of a sentence has a specific, fixed place in the pattern. Remembering the order guarantees the grammatical correctness of the statement.

Yeah. Chinese seems to be much easier than Polish, although I don’t know if I could remember Chinese characters… And what surprised you the most about Poland and Poles, when you came to our country for the first time?

Many things, but I think the most important are: strong, good beer, generally good looking people, both women and men (ha, ha), that people in Poland are really nice (so far I have not experienced any discrimination), the fact that there are so many beautiful parks here in Warsaw and around it, and of course FLACZKI, which I really like 😊

Could you list 5 cultural/lifestyle differences between Poles and the Chinese?

Hard to say. China is changing dynamically, and cultures and lifestyles even differ between regions in China. One thing is obvious – we eat more rice & pasta than bread & potatoes. But seriously, what I noticed is that the Chinese are a collective society, while the Poles are individualists. This can be seen, inter alia, in discussions during which each Pole must have his own separate opinion. In China, too, not everything needs to be said straightforwardly; people interpret the context more, while in Poland rules and principles dominate. For example: ‘No’ means refusing, and guests don’t refuse. That’s why the Chinese will always say yes. If ‘yes’ meant true ‘yes’ then it’s okay. However, if ‘yes’ means ‘no’, the Chinese will simply not answer our phone, or otherwise signal his different opinion.

The intricacies of communication… 😊 Finally, 2 more questions: Was the State Examination of Polish as a Foreign Language for the B1 Certificate difficult for you? Did something surprise you? Were you very stressed?

Well … I’m not overly happy with the ‘writing’ part. My teacher repeatedly told me to practice writing under time pressure, but I was sure that I would be fine. During the exam, however, it turned out that the time was inexorable and I finished my essay quite awkwardly at the last minute. Luckily, the ‘reading’ and ‘listening’ parts turned out to be easier than I expected. Maybe because my teacher gave me more difficult examples during the Polish language lessons during the B1 exam preparation course. I think that in the end, the Polish as a foreign language exam went better than I expected. It is thanks to my teacher Sandra and the KLUB DIALOGU School, which showed great patience with me and kept my motivation, especially when I was returning to China for a long time.

Yes, of course I was stressing out a lot!

And the last question: Are you going to stay longer in Poland now?

Of course, I intend to stay in Poland. I have no plans neither to leave Poland to another country, nor go back to China. I started my economic studies here at the University of Warsaw, but during the pandemic I had to quit. Now I work in the ‘game & nft’ industry and although it’s still working from home, I like it.

Thank you very much, Zeminek, and good luck! See you at the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU, because you still have an exam at the B2 and C1 levels 😊
Dorota Maszkiewicz, Managing Director

CULTURE AND LIFESTYLE IN POLAND. Trivia.

This is a corner for those who like to know what is going on around them. And it is happening! Warsaw is teeming with life! You probably still remember that extraordinary night on January 31st? And red hearts distributed in the street. It was played by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (WOŚP). For 30 years in a row, this charitable foundation, created by an exceptional man – Jurek Owsiak, collects funds for the purchase of medical equipment. During the 30 Final, over PLN 1.6 billion was raised. The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity bought and handed over 66,150 devices to health care facilities all over Poland. It is estimated that every fifth equipment in hospitals comes from the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity. According to public opinion polls, the foundation has been the most trusted by charity organisations for many years. There is none like it in the world!

Interestingly? It is from Jurek Owsiak that phrases that have become a permanent part of the Polish dictionary: ‘sie ma’ (hi), ‘Róbta co chceta’ (do what you wish), ‘gramy do końca świata i jeden dzień dłużej’ (‘we play until the end of the world and one day longer’).

What else?

Just in few days, the 24th February, there will be FAT THURSDAY (TŁUSTY CZWARTEK in Polish). It is a traditional Catholic Christian feast marking the last Thursday before Lent, thus the beginning of fasting before Easter. In Poland, we celebrate this day by eating… doughnuts! Doughnuts are yeast cakes traditionally filled with rose or another sweet flavoured jam.

The tradition of eating doughnuts on Fat Thursday in Poland goes back to the 17th century. This day precedes Ash Wednesday, which begins the 40 days fast.

Among bakers and confectioners, Fat Thursday is regarded as one of the busiest days of the year, with many cake shops open from the early hours of the morning after a marathon night of frying doughnuts. Bon Appetit!!