For some visitors from other countries, Poland seems to be a very cold country. They sometimes say it’s as cold in here as in Antarctica. Meanwhile, the temperature differences between the two places are huge! 😊 The average winter temperature in Antarctica is -44˚C, yet in Poland only -0.4˚C.
Warsaw is impressive during the winter season. Ice rinks, winter fairs, walks in the snow, mulled wine in a charming restaurant, or light shows, can enchant everyone. Winter in Warsaw cannot be boring! Check the details below.
1. Relax in a sauna on the Vistula River
The Floating Sauna on the Vistula River is a unique attraction! This unique facility began operating in November 2021 and is open from 6am until midnight. It’s the longest open sauna in Warsaw. What’s the best part? You can use the sauna for free, but only at certain times, and rent it exclusively! https://saunawisla.pl/
2. Fun at the ice rink
In winter, public ice rinks are open in various parts of Warsaw, where you can easily skate: alone, with your family, or with a larger group of friends. It is a great form of outdoor activity. Check which place is closest to you: an ice rink in the Bródnowski Park, an ice rink in Galeria Młociny, an ice rink in the area of Centrum Praskie Koneser, or the largest ice rink, the Stegny Skating Rink. You can really develop high speeds at Stegny!
3. Relaxation in the Elektra Reading Room
A “temple of analogue culture” was established in Śródmieście. An unusual reading room where you can read a book, listen to a vinyl record, and drink coffee. An ideal place for autumn and winter evenings. https://www.facebook.com/CzytelniaElektra/
4. Madness on Górka Szczęśliwicka
Górka Szczęśliwicka is the only place in Warsaw where you can try your hand at skiing. There is even a ski lift here! Next to the ski facility, on smaller hills, the residents of Warsaw, with the right amount of snow, can slide down sledges. Arrange to go with your friends and let loose! https://gorka-szczesliwicka-cennik.com/
5. Visit a luminous land: the Royal Garden of Light
The Royal Garden of Light in Wilanów is the favourite fall-winter exhibition of Warsaw residents, which will be open only until February 27, 2022. After dark, visitors to the palace are led by a 75-metre luminous tunnel in which classical music plays overhead. After the tunnel, you discover a beautiful, colourful and full of light – King’s Winter Garden… https://www.wilanow-palac.pl/royal_garden_of_light_1.html
THE 3T’s – WE SUGGEST HOW TO LEARN POLISH EFFECTIVELY
Today is January 2022 – you’ve probably heard this question: ‘Do you have a New Year’s resolution?’ Although on the one hand, you say to yourself: ‘Enough of these resolutions, of which nothing comes from’, you subconsciously wonder, what will be your priority this year? Therefore, if learning Polish is an important goal for you that you would like to focus on in 2022, here are our suggestions on how to effectively achieve it!
THE 3 T’s: TARGET, TIME, THANKS
Research shows that a target should be defined, realistic and measurable, which means that when learning Polish, it is worth to first clarify your current knowledge of the language, and then determine the level that you would like to achieve in the given time. It is essential for the success of this target that the level you want to achieve is reasonable. There is nothing more frustrating about learning a foreign language than imagining yourself as a participant in a lively conversation once you have only just started your Beginner Polish course. Setting a high goal for yourself causes unnecessary stress and troubles.
So what to do? Verify your current level, which you can check by taking a test or come to the Polish Language School KLUB DIALOGU and talk to the teacher. At the beginning, take up small challenges. Depending on your needs, try to define your progress at the level of 2-3 modules, so that you always have the opportunity to adjust these achievements and set new goals. You will not pass the State B1 Certificate Exam immediately, but by taking small steps, you have a great chance to do so in the future!
Time is a very important element in achieving our targets, as it allows us to concentrate on the task at hand and prevents postponing it ‘for an eternal tomorrow’. As in the case of the target, time must be realistic, i.e. give us space to complete the full cycle of the process: learning, practice, and feedback. Properly defined time forces us to be specific and organised. Remember, however, that too short a time frame will not allow you to complete the process, and too long a time frame will blur its possibilities, and after some time you will not remember your priorities.
Don’t ignore the powerful influence of another person on your Polish language learning process. We instinctively hide our ‘resolutions’ from others because it protects us from embarrassment if something goes wrong. The involvement of other people, however, in our learning has a huge impact on its effectiveness. The support and feedback of people you can rely on can be very useful and can strengthen relationships, and thanks to this your learning will become more regular and consistent. It’s like losing weight, where positive support – from anguish – can turn into a healthy habit. Thanks to others, we can often achieve our goals!
Additionally, it is best to use qualified assistance. This is where the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU comes in handy, which offers a wide range of courses at various levels and intensity.
The pandemic posed many challenges for our Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU, and although it has been with us for 2 years, it is still difficult to get used to. Let us remind you that the school was closed for 3 months in 2020 and all lessons were conducted online. However, soon after, in June 2020, we returned to Aleje Jerozolimskie, glad that we could be face-to-face again. Thanks to modern solutions introduced by KLUB DIALOGU, our students can now choose Polish language lessons online, or at school, or to learn Polish in a hybrid way, which is a perfect solution for people who prefer a full-time Polish language course, but in exceptional situations have the opportunity to connect to a lesson online.
At the same time, the employees of KLUB DIALOGU constantly take care of maintaining the appropriate hygienic standards at school. The classrooms are aired out after each lesson, and tables and other items are disinfected. Each student and each group has a choice whether masks are worn during Polish lessons or not.
All the actions we take are aimed at maintaining our common security in these difficult times. Therefore, we want to ensure that our Polish Language School for Foreigners will function (as before) online and offline, as long as state law allows us to do so. We feel strong in what we do!
KLUB DIALOGU school is 17 years old and this is not the first crisis we are dealing with, but it is definitely the hardest. However, looking at the last few months, we are sincerely convinced that with you we are able to adapt to any situation, and come out of each crisis even stronger. Why? Because we do what we love the most: we share our passion for the Polish language, tradition and culture.
At the end of 2021 we want to say to you: THANK YOU! Thank you for the support you give us.
Christmas in Poland is preceded by a long period of preparations and events that begin four weeks before Christmas itself. The period of spiritual preparation for Christmas is called ‘Advent’. Advent is an important time in the Christian church in anticipation of the birth of Jesus and his coming at the end of the world. This year, this began on 28th November. On 6th December, we celebrate ‘Mikołajki’ in Poland. This is the only day of this kind, especially for children who expect little gifts left in their slippers by Santa Claus when they wake up in the morning. In addition, in December, children in schools and kindergartens take part in ‘Jasełka’, or nativity play performances, and the cities shine with the light of a thousand beautiful Christmas lights.
Three weeks later, it’s Christmas time.
This is a special time for many Poles. Christmas traditions are very important in Poland. These customs are nurtured and passed down from generation to generation so that they can still give the holidays a solemn and family feel.
The most important family event is the evening of 24th December, when Christmas Eve is celebrated. The whole family sits down to the Christmas Eve dinner, which does not start before the first star shines in the sky. An extra plate is always served with supper for an unexpected guest, and there is hay under the tablecloth – a reference to the birth of Jesus in the stable. Before eating, family members share a wafer, expressing their best wishes to each other. This custom emphasises the special bond that binds loved ones together, as well as the readiness to forgive and reconcile with each other. During the dinner, 12 meatless dishes are served, and depending on the region of Poland, these are: borscht with dumplings, fried carp, cabbage with mushrooms, vegetable salad, potatoes, carp in jelly, dried fruit compote, kutia, poppy seed cake and cheesecake. After supper, all well-behaved people are visited by Santa Claus (in Warsaw), Aniołek – a little angel (in Krakow), or by Gwiazdor (in Poznań) 😊. One of these 3 people can also leave gifts under the tree that’s lavishingly decorated with ornaments (baubles, tinsel, a star, gingerbread, etc.). At midnight begins Midnight Mass, a very solemn mass in the church, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas in Poland is, next to Easter, the most important religious holidays. Celebrating these special days in December culminated a warm, joyful, and family atmosphere. Cultivating Polish Christmas customs is conducive to strengthening the bonds between family members and emphasising national identity, but also gives the celebration of Christmas a unique beauty that can be longed for many months.
Many students have already found out that the Polish Language School KLUB DIALOGU is an extraordinary place where they do extraordinary things! SOLIDARITY WITH REFUGEES is a new project in which school employees got involved. Its purpose is to resist the mistreatment of refugees and to help to the best of our ability. We, the employees of KLUB DIALOGU, which is not only an educational institution, a school of Polish as a foreign language, but also a place for meetings, conversations, and exchange of experiences between people from different continents and cultures, cannot accept breaking the law, international conventions, and situations where refugees’ medical, material or asylum applications are refused. We also cannot accept hate speech and violence against people of other nationalities.
The actions we have taken so far include: participation in the ‘Stop Torture on the Border’ protest march and undertaking the project of writing and reading letters of support from foreigners who, for various reasons, found themselves in Poland and have a different status of stay in our country (read further here >>).
But that’s not all! In December, we plan to organise a ‘Collection of necessities’ (cleaning products, clothes, food), which will be donated to appropriate foundations to help. With our help, we also want to support one refugee to whom KLUB DIALOGU will provide a scholarship to learn Polish as part of the ‘Solidarity in Education’ program.
If you would like to join us – don’t hesitate! Any help is appreciated. You can bring items to the fundraiser, help with packing, or make a donation to the scholarship. Maybe together we can help more than one person in linguistic and cultural assimilation! Vouchers can be purchased at the school office or by making a bank transfer with the title Solidarity in Education’.
We could not miss the Sunday (17.10) march – protest: Stop torture at the border! A march of solidarity with refugees, which started at 2pm from the Charles de Gaulle roundabout, commonly known as the palm tree roundabout. It isn’t a coincidence that this was the place chosen by the organisers of the march. This exotic tree standing on the ‘Royal Route’ (Trakt Królewski) came about in December 2002 as an artistic project by Joanna Rajkowska, who wanted to commemorate the Jewish population, once inhabiting much of Warsaw, and from whom the name of Aleje Jerozolimskie Street (Jerusalem Avenues) was derived. The palm was also, according to the artist, a symbol of openness towards others.
We, employees of KLUB DIALOGU, which is not only an educational institution, the Polish language school for foreigners, but also a place for meetings, conversations, and exchange of experiences between people from different continents and cultures, cannot accept violations of the law and international conventions and situations where medical aid for refugees is refused, risking their health and even death.
Walking along the streets of Warsaw (ROUTE: Rondo de Gaulle’a, Plac Trzech Krzyży, Sejm, Plac Konstytucji, Metro Centrum), in a walk lasting over two hours, we wanted to show that we are in solidarity with the fate of people suffering at the borders and we believe that you should always protest when someone is hurt, or deprived of a chance for a normal life just because they were born in a country affected by war or other humanitarian crisis.
We also want to thank OUR STUDENTS who were with us at the protest. Thanks to them, we can learn tolerance and openness. Thank you for the lessons you teach us and for being there! When matters are important to us, let’s be together!
Saying goodbye to summer is never easy, and summer 2021 is already behind us. Luckily, after a one-year break, we managed to organise a summer calendar full of KLUB DIALOGU events. Despite the worldwide pandemic, many difficulties and limitations, we spent this time very intensively and effectively, and the return of our side events sweetened us even more than usual! So what’s so special about this summer?
At the end of June, our intensive Polish language courses began, which are liked and sought after by students who need a faster pace of learning. These courses are very demanding and oblige you to work independently from home, but they give you really great results! However, learning Polish every day does not have to be difficult, boring or tiring! The pleasant summer weather allowed us to go outside the classroom as part of the lesson. We were at the park, at the market, at the cafe, and at Hala Mirowska to buy ingredients for the rest of the lesson where we cooked in Polish! After all, the goal of learning Polish is to use it every day, in various situations, not only with a course book in hand!
During the summer holidays, there were also regular group Polish language courses, as well as individual lessons, the nature and frequency of which depend entirely on the student’s needs.
We love to see our school full of students with happy faces, filled with the desire to learn Polish! We have also become experts in conducting online classes, offering online group Polish language courses and individual online lessons to meet the needs of all our students. We have introduced hybrid courses that allow lessons to continue even when a student was absent due to going on vacation. The beauty of online and hybrid classes is that they can be joined from anywhere!
Traditionally, the Polish Language School for Foreigners KLUB DIALOGU invited its students with their family and friends to additional summer events aimed at integrating and sharing everyday life in Poland. The interest in the events exceeded our wildest expectations! As every year, together with students and friends, we celebrated another birthday of KLUB DIALOGU. More than 40 people came to share this special date with us! Thank you very much! The following Saturday, there was a canoeing trip on the Pilica River near Warsaw. Beautiful, sunny weather, playing volleyball on the beach and a barbecue gave everyone a lot of needed energy for the next week. In addition, we visited the Night Market to enjoy street food and card games, had a lovely evening at a Silent Disco, had a great time in an intense phonetics workshop and exercised our bodies in a cheerful atmosphere while playing bowling. What’s more, we hosted our regular meetings: ‘Film Piąteczek’, during which we watch Polish films with English subtitles and discuss Polish culture, tradition and mentality of Poles. We love these events because they give the opportunity not only to show our life, but also learn a lot of interesting things about other cultures, and our students come here from all over the world!
This summer we welcomed many new students who came to us from the USA, Argentina, Israel, Iran, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany and Great Britain! Moreover, we also enjoyed the time we spent on our own vacations. This summer, our employees visited, among others, Italy and Sicily, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Slovenia, and of course they had a great time in Poland and in Warsaw itself.
Summer will be over soon. But life at KLUB DIALOGU school goes on! 🙂 We are fully ready, full of energy and new passion to teach our Polish language!
On 1st August every year there is a special event. This time is called Godzina ,,W”. What is this exactly? Godzina ,,W” was the codename for the date and time that began Operation Tempest in German-occupied Warsaw, and so the Warsaw Uprising. The time exactly was 5pm, 1st August 1944. This is why, on 1st August at 5pm one can expect to hear sirens, with many people gathered on the streets and even people and cars coming to a complete standstill.
Of course, the history of World War II in Poland is rich, it’s deep and it’s very sad. It’s impossible to explain anything in detail in a short article, but we’ll begin with a short explanation about what happened before the Warsaw Uprising.
On 31st July in 1944, during a briefing of Home Army’s general staff at 67 Pańska Street, General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, commander of the Home Army, received a report from General Antoni Chruściel, commander of the Warsaw district, regarding a supposed successful Soviet breach of German defenses just outside of the Praga suburb in Warsaw. The information was actually false, but on its basis,at 5:45 PM, Bór-Komorowski gave Chruściel an oral order to begin Operation Tempest on 1 August 1944 at 5:00 PM.
Why was 1st August at 5pm the chosen date and time? Well, it was initially decided that the Uprising would take place in the early morning, but in July 1944, Chruściel decided that it would infact take place at 5pm. This is due to the fact that at that time, there was a lot of street traffic, meaning that the soldiers could could much more easily blend into the crowd and get to the meeting points safely, whilst in the meantime also transporting guns and ammunition. At 5pm there was also enough sunlight left for the operation to go as smoothly and accurately as possible. The exact day, however, was to be decided the day before the fighting were to begin.
The order was issued by Chruściel at around 7:00 PM – just an hour before military curfew. As a result, it was delivered between 7:00 and 9:00 AM the next morning to district commanders. Group commanders received it between 9:00 and 13:30 PM. In the afternoon the total number of messengers delivering the order reached 6000. There were posters on the streets with the simple title ‘Polacy!’, as an appeal to the Polish people, to tell them that the long-awaited fight-back was to shortly commence.
Not all units managed to keep the mobilisation a secret until 5:00 PM… First shots were fired at a German patrol at 13:35 PM on Krasiński Street in Żoliborz. The Germans quickly brought a tank and a few armored vehicles with machine guns. While sweeping the area, at 5:30 PM on Suzina Street, the German patrol surprised a Polish unit who were taking weapons from a stash. Fights started before 5pm in reportedly at least 8 different instances across Warsaw.
Ultimately, the Germans were not able to stop the Uprising from happening. This is the general history from this mind-blowing, brave fight and difficult time for not only Warsaw, but the whole of Poland.
Now, there are many things to commemorate 1st August 1944. For example, a memory plaque was placed on the building at 68 Filtrowa Street, where Antoni Chruściel signed the original order that lead to this incredible event. There’s also a street in Warsaw called Al. Godziny ,,W”.
One of the most noticable signs of honour and respect we have for this in Warsaw is that every year on 1st August at 5pm, almost everything comes to a standstill, and with sirens blazing, Polish flags flying in the breeze, we stop to think about and remember this miraculous event in history.