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Polish student overseas wanting to study in Poland:Which language do I choose to study in?

PolkaZaGranica 2 | 12
14 Aug 2011 #1
I'll try keep this as short as I can:
Both my parents are from Poland. Hence I'm Polish.
But they moved overseas to South Africa. I was born in South Africa. I learnt Polish as a Kid.
Then I started school. Obviously I had to learn English. Over the years, as my studies consisted of just English, my Polish skills started disappearing to the extent that I spoke more English at home than I did Polish. Recently though I've started watching a whole lot more Polish movies, reading articles online etc. I'm able to communicate relatively comfortably with polish people here, but I still feel as if I struggle with the language. I still rely on my parents to translate pieces of Polish movies or articles (And when reading - I can be pretty slow in Polish...). I speak just Polish at home with my parents once again, after forcing myself to adapt.

Next year I'm off to university. My dream is to study in Poland. Here's where the problem comes in. If I were to study in Poland, should I study in Polish or English? Studies in English in Poland are more expensive than in Polish. I'd love to be able to keep the costs on my parents as low as possible. But if I study in English, I'll understand everything quickly, easily, first time. I'd be able to communicate easier with my peers who will also speak English.

BUT: Studying in Polish means lower costs on parents, meeting more Polish people of my age group (which I'd prefer to meeting English speaking people), and possibly learning my mother tongue (which I'd love more than anything). Then again- I might struggle. And this is university: there's no place for messing about right? Or will I manage with my knowledge of the language- and pick the rest up along the way quickly?

Anyway, I need opinions. Suggestions? :)

(I guess my attempt at keeping that short didn't work..)
rybnik 18 | 1,453
14 Aug 2011 #2
My background is similar to yours. Polish was my first language while I was a child in the States. Then like you I shunned it for English. Later I went to Poland to study Medicine. In my day there were no English classes so it was all in Polish. At first it was hard but there comes a time when it all becomes very easy. What I'm trying to say is because of your solid Polish language background, it's all encoded in your brain just waiting to come out. That's why I strongly advise you to take your classes in Polish. Would you be able to come, say, 6 months earlier to begin "working-out" those Polish language muscles?.....Don't take the easy way out. You'll probably regret it later.
catsoldier 58 | 579
14 Aug 2011 #3
I can't answer your question, the best people to ask may be your parents, they have a good idea of your level of Polish and how much you would need to learn to be able to succeed. If it is too much to learn on top of your course work it will make life very difficult for you. Maybe if you get some books that you would be using and see how much of them you can understand it may give you an indication yourself of how it would be. Ask for a reading list from the college you are interested in and buy one of the books online if possible or download some exam papers from the internet. Ask your parents to read sections of the book also to you as if they were your lecturer and see how much you understand.
mafketis 37 | 10,941
14 Aug 2011 #4
Also worth considering:

1. Cllasses in English will be signficantly more expensive than in Polish.

2. The quality of education in Poland is significantly higher in Polish than it is in English.

in short:

studying in Poland in English - high price + lower quality

studying in Polish - lower price + higher quality

Getting your Polish skills to the appropriate level won't be easy (though the internet can help a lot) but dealing with Polish faculty in English is also not going to be a bed of roses...
OP PolkaZaGranica 2 | 12
4 Nov 2011 #5
Later I went to Poland to study Medicine.

Ah perfect! That's exactly what I'm planning to study.

but there comes a time when it all becomes very easy.

And do you mind me asking when that time came for you? I'm hoping it didn't take too long...?:)

Would you be able to come, say, 6 months earlier to begin "working-out" those Polish language muscles?

I'm sure If I do study in Poland, I'll have to arrive much earlier anyway to sort everything out. How much earlier, I'm not quite sure, but I'll forward the suggestion to my parents.

Don't take the easy way out. You'll probably regret it later.

That's a very good point. Thank you for the advice.
4 Nov 2011 #6
A significant number of European countries gladly offer instruction in English as well in the native language where the university is located.
My advice, not as a "linguist", but from a sheerly practical perspective, is NOT to take classes in your field in English given by non-native English speaking faculty, save for areas such as math and science where language has never been an issue-:) Learning/studying in the language of the country makes such a difference, you have no idea. Granted, it's not feasible to study, say, in French in France, German in Germany, Polish in Poland etc..., but often the native faculty in dicy areas requiring English skill such as literature, translation, linguistics, management, law and so forth, often simply haven't got the prerequsite English level needed to teach such subject areas (even though they'll blithely insist they've been doing it for years and noone's complainedLOL)!

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