Successful mastery of a foreign language does not have to mean burying yourself in books and dictionaries. It is possible to learn the easy way and get to know Polish culture by watching films – and even by dancing. This is a well-known fact to the participants of the Summer Course of Polish Language and Culture taking part at the University in August.
The Centre of Polish Language and Culture for Foreigners “Polonicum” is the oldest institution of its kind in Poland. It focuses on teaching the Polish language, culture and history, prepares future educators, cooperates with international Polish community centres, cultural centres and embassies.
The most difficult phonetics
The summer school has been organized at the University for over 60 years now. This year, it will be attended by around 170 people from all around the globe who want to learn Polish for many different reasons. Some study in Poland, others work here, and there are also those who just wish to learn more about Poland.
The school lasts one month. Monday to Friday, four hours a week, students learn to speak Polish. Some start learning from the scratch. How do they fare after a month? A beginner course student is able to communicate in everyday basic communication situations – do shopping at the grocer’s or book cinema tickets. Students are able to introduce themselves and tell the doctor what ails them – says Mirosław Jelonkiewicz, the head of the course. Others, at more advanced courses, hone their pronunciation because phonetics are the trickiest part of Polish language.
However, the school is not just a language course – it also involves activities in a variety of fields. There are Polish films, culinary workshops, trips and conversation classes.
Hanke Jang, a German who writes a blog on Poland in German, already took part in various other courses. – All have similar curricula, but this one has the most interesting cultural activities – he reckons.
The organizers are striving to keep the program fresh, as there are many who take courses repeatedly. For this reason, each year there are different films selected for the audio-visual evenings, different songs are sung during singing classes and the culinary activities’ menu is changed every time.
Finishing Polish style
At the conclusion of the course, participants dance a polonaise at the campus of the University of Warsaw. It is a traditional partner dance which, in the old times, was danced at the opening of lavish receptions. The polonaise will be performed on the 29th of August.