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Do I Need To Speak Polish To Get Around for 5 Weeks in Krakow


Turtleonfire 7 | 14  
15 Sep 2009 /  #1
Hi there,

I'm a woman in her 20's who's going to do a CELTA (teaching English as a 2nd language course) in Krakow in 3 weeks.

I originally thought it would be a good way to get qualified, (I have taught EFL unqualified in Thailand so far) and see Poland (somewhere I've always been interested in visiting).

The tutors have assured me that everyone at the school speaks English but as it get's closer to the time, I'm getting worried about the rest of Krakow and getting around/buying food/etc....

I'm attempting to learn some basic Polish phrases....but when I use google translate to translate what Polish aquaintances are saying on facebook, I still have no idea what they are going on about, even with the English translation!

So now I'm petrified! I've never been to a non-English speaking country on my own (have just split up with my boyfriend who was going to do the course with me), and I will literally be totally on my own when I arrive, for the 1st week!

Am I going to starve to death and not even make it from the airport to a hostel??!!!!!
Harry  
15 Sep 2009 /  #2
You will be just fine! A lot of people in Krakow do speak English and you will only need very basic phrases in Polish. A Lonely Planet or Berlitz phrasebook will be more than good enough. Shopping is easily done by going either to supermarkets or smaller shops where you can walk round and put things in your own basket.

To meet people go down to Nic Nowego and get chatting to anybody who speaks English down there. Make sure you pick up a copy of In Your Pocket Krakow to find out where to go and where not to go.

You'll have a blast! So chill out.
mvefa 5 | 591  
15 Sep 2009 /  #3
Am I going to starve to death and not even make it from the airport to a hostel??!!!!!

hahahaha Naaah! You will do just fine! a lot of people speaks english and most of the businesses in Krakow are tourist-minded so you will be ok.
beazee - | 31  
15 Sep 2009 /  #4
How can we help you then?
frd 7 | 1,399  
15 Sep 2009 /  #5
You'll be fine, you can buy a chit-chat phrasebook, beside you're probably gonna shop in a some sort of a shopping centre so you'll just put everything you need into the basket and pay for it a the register, no communication involved

If you'll have some real problems, and go on a hunger-strike you can post it here and somebody gonna bring you a sandwich saving you from a certain death ; )
turkish_in_krak - | 1  
15 Sep 2009 /  #6
I've been in Poland for about 2 months and I don't speak Polish. I'm still at the airport (couldn't make it to the hostel) and about to starve to death. I'm afraid I'll die in a week. So I advice you not to come to Poland and just stay where you are.

And frd I would be happy if you get me a sandwich. I'm at terminal 1.

And anyone, please teach me some Polish so that I can ask for some food.
sausage 19 | 777  
15 Sep 2009 /  #7
you're probably gonna shop in a some sort of a shopping centre so you'll just put everything you need into the basket and pay for it a the register,

yes, avoid the small shops, because quite a few things will be kept behind the counter and you will need to ask for it.
also, i found out that when buying alcohol in Carrefour you need to pay for that at a seperate till in the alcohol aisle.
frd 7 | 1,399  
15 Sep 2009 /  #8
And frd I would be happy if you get me a sandwich. I'm at terminal 1.

If you're not a woman in her 20's I'm not helping you hahaha : P

yes, avoid the small shops

precisely, you've got nothing to fear, just forget about those little shops :)
Nika 2 | 507  
15 Sep 2009 /  #9
You will be just fine Turtleonfire, do not worry you will not be the only person in Krakow who doesn't speak english.
As the others said, there are supermarkets all around the city so you will be able to buy your food yourself without even opening your mouth. They even have electronic cash registers that display the amount of money that you have to pay ;)

In case you do need to ask something to someone I suggest that you talk to young people as they are more likely to speak english.

If you feel very lonely you can let me know and we can meet up if you want.
Where do you come from?
Harry  
15 Sep 2009 /  #10
You will be just fine! A lot of people in Krakow do speak English and you will only need very basic phrases in Polish. A Lonely Planet or Berlitz phrasebook will be more than good enough. Shopping is easily done by going either to supermarkets or smaller shops where you can walk round and put things in your own basket.

To meet people go down to Nic Nowego and get chatting to anybody who speaks English down there. Make sure you pick up a copy of In Your Pocket Krakow to find out where to go and where not to go.

You'll have a blast! So chill out.
pgtx 29 | 3,159  
15 Sep 2009 /  #11
Do I Need to Be Able to Speak Polish for 5 Weeks in Krakow?

there is always the universal language of hand gestures... :)
vndunne 43 | 279  
15 Sep 2009 /  #12
Krakow is probably the most touristy place in poland so they cater well for the english speaker. You will be fine. I have live in poland for 3 years and still cant speak polish..and i have made it from the airport and have not starved.
delphiandomine 85 | 18,359  
15 Sep 2009 /  #13
Make sure you pick up a copy of In Your Pocket Krakow to find out where to go and where not to go.

Say no more, really :)
pgtx 29 | 3,159  
15 Sep 2009 /  #14
I have live in poland for 3 years and still cant speak polish..

shame on you... start learning then...
scottie1113 7 | 898  
16 Sep 2009 /  #15
Two years ago I came to Poland to do my CELTA in Warsaw. I didn't have any money, no job, no friends, and next to no Polish. I still don't have any money but I have a job which I love and I have lots of friends, most of them Polish. Now I know three words in Polish: piwo, but I've forgotten the other two.

You'll be fine. Just remember that the weather in Poland is slightly different from that in Thailand. You'll need warm clothes very soon.
mafketis 23 | 8,645  
16 Sep 2009 /  #16
You'll do okay short term. But if you decide to stay definitely learn Polish even if you don't get much encouragement from your co-workers (nothing says 'bad language teacher' quite like inability or unwillingness to learn a language).

Polish is tough at first, but rewards the persistent listener (and Poland in Polish is at least 10 times more interesting than Poland in English).
delphiandomine 85 | 18,359  
16 Sep 2009 /  #17
It actually is an interesting point to talk about - people always seem to enjoy the fact that I struggle with their language too. It never fails to actually impress me what's possible with a proper structured learning course, and just makes me wish I could actually do one :(
frd 7 | 1,399  
16 Sep 2009 /  #18
polishforums.com/work-study-poland-43/need-able-speak-polish-weeks-kra kow-38455/

doubled thread : o
F15guy 1 | 160  
16 Sep 2009 /  #19
Just spent 9 days in Krakow and Warsaw with my adult sons. They learned three Polish words, Dziękuję (thank you), Proszę (please) and Żywiec (their favorite beer). No, it was four words, Bigos (sauerkraut stew), their favorite dish.
Harry  
16 Sep 2009 /  #20
Say no more, really :)

What? Has the new guy there screwed the guide up that badly? When Alex was writing it it was always right on the money.
OP Turtleonfire 7 | 14  
16 Sep 2009 /  #21
I'm trying..desperately! But I have so much other work to do and only 3 weeks to do it in!! Everytime I try to practice all I can think of is French! (I learned French at school but my company can't possibly send me there..that's too easy!). So don't hate me if I'm crap! Polish is A LOT harder than French and I learned that for 5 years!
scottie1113 7 | 898  
17 Sep 2009 /  #22
I had two years of Latin in high school, thank God. It certainly helps me understand the declensions of nouns in Polish. I lived in Japan and speak some Japanese. I never learned the written characters but I did learn their phonetic alphabet. I have a degree in French, speak it well, had a year of Italian at university, and have some Southern California street Spanish. Polish is by far the most difficult language I have ever tried to learn, but it's not impossible. Compared to Polish, French is a piece of cake.

Just smile and say piwo!
frd 7 | 1,399  
17 Sep 2009 /  #23
desperately!

You really have no reasons to be worried, you'll be just find.

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