It’s been a year since I came to Poland for studying. Considering the differences between Polish and Turkish culture, I fit in pretty fast. The differences haven’t bothered me that much. I can count dozens of reasons why I like Poles and their culture! Well, firstly, they are warm and friendly towards foreigners. They also have amazing desserts and pastries which I adore. For example; sernik (cheesecake) and apple pie! 🙂
Of course I can’t say all of the Poles are not very welcoming against foreigners. I am among the lucky ones who have met the right people. On the news, every day there is something about racism in Poland, even in Poznan. I believe this is one of the consequences of the Islamophobia that the mass media promotes. As a person coming from Turkey, where people have been suffering because of an authoritarian government, I can feel for Poland. Some claim that people from a warm climate behave warm and people who come from a cold country behave cold and distant. Poland has shown me how wrong this idea is. Let me make it clear: Poles have proved this wrong. Polish weather on the other hand, is freezing.
It is so cold that some days I don’t even want to go out. I feel depressed and sleepy since I am not used to that kind of weather. In my home town, it never snows and we have sunny winters. So, I was pretty excited to live in a city where it snows heavily 🙂 I think I got what I asked for! Now, I hate Polish winter. I also have an issue with the open bus/tram stops in this ridiculously cold weather!
What about the Polish language? I can’t finish this post before I say something about Polish. As you can expect, I am struggling with Polish! What a hard language! In order to learn it, you should have perseverance and some guts! Without Polish, you might feel alone. Let me tell you why: Even in Poznan, you should speak Polish in your daily life to communicate with people. It is true that there are many people who know English but they don’t always want to hang out with a person who don’t understand or speak Polish. Moreover, it is hard to find a job without the knowledge of Polish. When you live in Poland more than a year, speaking Polish is a must to have a normal life.
Language might be challenging to learn in a short time. But Poles I have met are really open and helpful. Yes, I have many occasions in my mind that proves how sincere they have been to me but the most striking example is very recent. I was in a party last month. To be honest, it is hard to call it a party. It was more like a gathering for the fans of Turkey. Although I was expecting Turks there, I was the only one. Other people were Polish who love Turkey and Turkish culture. I must admit I was bewildered by their interest and knowledge about a culture which they are not familiar with. However it was not all. They continued to surprise me with their enthusiasm to learn more about my country and my culture. I spoke 3 languages in that meeting 🙂 Once more, I appreciated their openness and curiosity. It is fascinating to experience this when the world is full of prejudiced and hostile people.