Guest Post: Experiences Abroad in Poland

Krakow at night (photo by Muhammed Gerim)
Krakow at night (photo by Muhammed Gerim)

Guest post by Touro Graduate School of Business student Muhammed Gerim:

I spent four years in Warsaw, Poland during my education. It was a wonderful experience, and I was very impressed by the country and its people, so I’d like to share a few of my memories.

I observed that the population reads everywhere, more than I’ve seen elsewhere. They read newspapers, books, magazines etc., on the bus, in the subway, while drinking coffee outside, or while waiting for an appointment. Value is also placed on education. Among the students I met, many had a Master’s or two in addition to a Bachelor’s degree. However, students knew how to balance studying hard while still making time for parties and a social life. I also heard many languages spoken. Many speak English fluently, and Spanish is the second most common language among the youth.

Family was important to most people I met. There is a tradition of visiting relatives frequently, particularly on Sundays. Every Sunday is like a holiday for them. The church is a community center, visited by young and old, and religion plays a strong role in the culture.

Zapiekanka, a traditional Polish open-faced sandwich with mushrooms and cheese (CC 3.0 image by Mariuszjbie)
Zapiekanka, a traditional Polish open-faced sandwich with mushrooms and cheese (CC 3.0 image by Mariuszjbie)

Food is also an important part of family gatherings. One thing that’s very common is the “pierogi,” which is a perfect appetizer. It is a type of dumpling, with a filling like cheese, sauerkraut or meat, wrapped in dough, and either boiled or fried. “Zapiekanka” is popular with students. It is a kind of toasted sandwich with mushrooms and cheese. And a surprise to me was the tradition of directly after dinner or eating anything, drinking black tea.  The traditional food was delicious, but It is not difficult to find international cuisine in Poland either. I found many Middle Eastern, Italian, French, and other restaurants everywhere..

The weather in Poland is very tough. There are almost six months of winter, which is always very cold and snowy. And it lasts a very long time. But the cold weather has not affected the kindness and helpfulness of the population. Whenever, wherever, and however you need help, people are likely willing to assist. Many times I saw somebody give up their place in line for somebody in a hurry or stop to help somebody with a translation or directions, even if it seemed like they had someplace to be.

All in all, a country is good because of its population. In my opinion, a naturally beautiful country is nothing without a nice population. Poland has both, a beautiful country and a very kind population.

For more information on Poland, its culture and history, visit the Touro Libraries. Some eBook titles include:

Contributed by: Muhammed Gerim, Student at Touro GSB

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