Poland has a rich cultural heritage and many UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Sites to discover. The Carpathian Mountains, the Baltic Sea coastline or the winding Vistula River create the beautiful Polish landscape. Don’t forget to try the traditional pierogis and explore the cobbled streets of Polish cities. Polish teenagers tend to have a very active social life, spending time outdoors cycling, hiking, and canoeing and kayaking on Poland’s many beautiful rivers. In the summer, many go mushroom hunting. Leisure time is spent playing cards, especially bridge.
Host family and social life
You can be hosted anywhere in Poland, but you will probably be close to one of the major cities such as Krakow, Warsaw, or Poznań. Families will usually gather on Sundays for lunch with more or less close family members. The country is mainly Catholic and religious life is very present. Polish teenagers are quite independent and responsible. You will probably have to make your own breakfast and manage to get to school.
If you are under 16, you will attend lower secondary school, which offers a wide range of programmes. If you are between 16 and 20, you will go to upper secondary school, which prepares students for university. In either case, you will study foreign languages, history, science and mathematics.
The most widely spoken language in the country is Polish, a Slavic language, but many locals also speak English well. AFS Poland will provide you with language classes, books and materials to help you master the language. A basic knowledge of English will be helpful.
The food in Poland is quite hearty and among the stars are pierogis, filled dumplings simmered with mushrooms, sausage, meat, cabbage and potatoes. Bread is served with just about every dish and people buy fresh bread daily from local bakeries. People in rural areas tend to grow their own vegetables, so you can make your own salad for dinner every night. There are plenty of tasty desserts such as poppy seed cakes or cheesecake.