When I first took my letter home to my parents they were a bit worried about letting me go after all of the terrorist attacks that have recently happened, but I persuaded them to say yes as I really wanted to go. But I am so glad that I went – it was such a good experience; I wish I could do the project more often, even if there is a lot of work to do.
On my first day I took in the beautiful scenery of Szczecin and as I walked around the city I noticed that the cars were driving on the wrong side (for me) of the road and the steering wheel was on the left side of the car. However, that is the road law there. Also I learnt that on the German motorways you can drive at whatever speed you want to and you will not get fined or pulled over by police.
On my second day, the family took me out for ice cream; it was lovely, we were having a great discussion about the history of Szczecin and I got told that during the World War most of Szczecin got blown to pieces but one of the churches stayed standing. It was a little damaged and they had to repair some of the church but it was fine. The family then took me to the tower and I took a look all over Szczecin. It was beautiful. Later that day we went bowling as a whole group and I started to speak to everyone; they were all so kind and it was a joy to meet them and find out about what their normal routine for a school day is, although some did sound tough.
On the Monday we went to an art workshop. I did not have a clue what was going on, as the artist could not understand a word of English but it was fun and I got to look at what amazing art he had done. In the afternoon we went to a fancy restaurant and everyone had a nice meal, getting along with each other ever so well. In the evening my host and I went out to town with a Polish host, Kinga, and her Portuguese friend whom she was hosting. It was a lovely night and we got to see Szczecin all lit up. I got on really well with the girl from Portugal and her host.
The last day at Szczecin was probably the best day because we went to school and had a tour of it; it’s a very small school – 10x smaller than my school. I had a chance to play football with the Spanish guy and we played a lot of games like Vampires and musical chairs – it was a good day. After that, we had a massive European lunch where every country prepared a table with a lot of specialities from each country. Obviously England’s table was empty after as our food is so delicious. After that we had a school assembly and they prepared us a lovely cake to say good bye. And off we went to Laser Quest. It took the woman a lot of time to explain the rules as there was a lot of translating to be done but once we got started it was really good and absolutely hilarious.
The morning we had to leave was hard as I felt like one of the family and I felt the school had welcomed me just as if I was a student there. If I ever was able to go on the trip again, I would. I would love to host someone as I think it would be a great experience. Hopefully I will have the chance to do it again.
My trip to Poland was really good. It was an adventure which made me feel more comfortable around people that I haven’t known my whole life.
The journey to Poland was better than I expected; the plane was very quick and it was funny with Mrs Campbell making funny comments about the speed of the plane, James making jokes, and also because it was calm due to minimal turbulence. We hired a two hour taxi from Berlin to Poland (Szczecin) which was really funny because we were all just chatting. The journey from Poland was much the same as on the way to Poland only everyone was tired, so we all slept for the two hours journey to Berlin airport.
My first impressions of Szczecin were that it is a beautiful city, full of old buildings, hardly any litter and a lot less cramped than Birmingham. However, I did think that it was a little strange that you could see the tram going through the middle of the street whist we were in the car driving. This is only because I’m not used to seeing this in Birmingham.
The best part of my trip has to be when all of the Erasmus students and their hosts went to the Laser Quest together. The 16 of us had to split ourselves into two teams to play in two different games. Team 1- included the Belgium Students and their hosts with the English Students and their hosts. Team 2- comprised the Spanish students with their hosts and the Portuguese students with their hosts. Once we had done that, we split into teams again to go against one another. It was the visitors against their hosts. It was so funny because it was pitch black and we were running around bumping into each other as we couldn’t see properly. The visitors lost in my game unfortunately.
The worst part of my trip was when my host and I had to go home early on the last day due to me being very ill and needing to go home and rest. Although, we did play board games and the x-box whilst in the house which made me feel a little better.
The activities I did were: Day 1 – we stayed in my hosts’ house so I could get to know the family.
Day 2 – My host and I went into the town centre to meet another host and the girl from Spain whom she was hosting. We met with one of the two hosts friends who wasn’t hosting but just wanted to come and meet us – which was nice. At 4pm we met with two more hosts and their students, one being James and his host and the other was the boy from Belgium and his host. Finally we met up with everyone from Erasmus and went bowling.
Day 3 – Everyone from Erasmus (including teachers) met up and went for an art class with a professional artist who was really interesting and fun. We went sight-seeing, and then we went to a very posh restaurant and had lunch. When we all split up from each other, my host & I together with Maria (Portuguese girl) and her host went shopping before going home.
Day 4 – We went to school & had an international lunch which was very interesting and all tasted great (what I could try anyway). Secondly, we went for a quiz, and then learnt a traditional Polish dance which was very funny and surprisingly joyful. Thirdly, we played some games until it was time to leave school. Fourthly, we went to laser quest. Finally I had to go home due to me feeling ill but my host played some games with me so that made me feel better about having to leave early.
Day 5 – I came home and slept a lot.
The similarities and differences of the school day are:
Similarities: My school and the school in Poland have; a gym, some lessons which are the same such as English, Maths, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics etc…
Differences: In my school lessons last 1 hour each with no break in the middle. In Poland the lessons last 45 minutes with a 5 minute break between all of them. The Polish school is a lot smaller than my school. Lockers are available and they learn Latin in the Polish school.
The Polish food and drink that I tried all tasted very good. The drinks are not as sweet as ones in England which I believe was a little better. The food is very different, it tastes good but I do prefer the food I eat in Birmingham. There is a meal which my family wanted me to try but I really couldn’t: cows stomach soup!
The similarities and differences between Polish and English houses are:
Similarities: Both contain a bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen, living room and garden.
Differences: Polish houses are a lot bigger than English houses. You never see two houses joined together in Poland and most houses in Poland have multiple bedrooms and multiple bathrooms.
Recognisable brands that I saw in Poland were: McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Zara, Pandora, New Look, Subway, H&M and Pizza Hut.
Phrases/ words I have learnt are; Tak – yes, nie – no, prosze – please, Pa – bye, czesc – hello and noc – night.
My final impressions of Poland are: Poland is gorgeous; everyone who I spoke to was welcoming and pleasant. I wish we could have stayed longer so that we could bond more with the other people from Erasmus. However, things are very spread out and the walking from place to place gave me blisters, I guess I must be one of those lazy Brummy that people talk about. I would happily take part in the Erasmus Project again if England the next project is accepted.