Kazakh students in Poland
By the Decree of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan from 20 January 1998, Day of languages of people of Kazakhstan was established with the aim of educating love and respect to the native language and Motherland, enhancing the knowledge about languages, traditions of different ethnoses.
Amina and Nurkeldy are graduates of E.A. Buketov Karaganda State University with major in English Philology. They decided to continue their knowledge and now they study in Poland by Government Scholarship to get their master’s degree.
—Why did you decide to learn Polish language?
A.: At first I had no interest in studying Polish. My friend saw an announcement of Polish courses with a native speaker. As we had some free time, we decided to get some information about the courses and stayed there for two years.
N.: I learned German and French at university, however, I had desire to learn more and something new. When I saw an announcement about Polish language courses with a teacher from Poland I decided to go there.
— What events and activities organized by Polish association did you participate in?
A.: Embassy of Poland in Astana arranged an orthographic competition – Polish dictation dedicated to Polish writer Adam Mickiewicz, in which I participated and took first place. Also, the House of Friendship of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan in Karaganda held a concert dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Polish community in Karaganda “Polonia”. We were invited to all those events by our teacher Iwona Toczek.
N.: I visited Polish Christmas, it was really impressive. I also took participation in Polish dictation.
— What was your first impression when you came to Poland?
A.: I came to Poland in 2016 for the first time. I studied at summer school to learn Polish language and culture. My teacher told me about this school and I received an invitation with her help. I had a lot of impressions and all of them were positive, I liked Warsaw – capital of Poland very much, it is a clean and convenient city for people.
N.: Poland welcomed me with the nice weather and unusual architecture.
— What kind of people are the Polish? Are there any similarities in characters of Polish and Kazakh people?
A.: Polish people are very open and responsive. They are very polite and always try to help. They have positive attitude towards Kazakhs, especially when you speak Polish. I did not notice any similarities in our characters, probably because we have another mentality.
N.: I like Polish people for their pride and patriotism. They are glad when they hear I am from Kazakhstan. It proves that their people still remember our help during their deportation. The similarity of Kazakhs with Polish people is that they are also polite and hospitable. They always help to find the way and do not regret the time spent on explanations.
— Could you tell us about university where you study? Do many Kazakhstan students study in Poland?
A.: I study at Warsaw University. It is considered as one of the best universities in the country along with the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. According to the Times Higher Education, it is on the 400th place out of 1000 top universities in the world. About 800 Kazakhstan students study in Poland at present.
N.: Warsaw University pleased with its organization and accessibility. There are not so many Kazakhs in this University and I know all of them.
— Is there any difference in education system of Polish and Kazakhstan universities?
A.: Education system here is different from Kazakhstan, as we have a credit system in our country, and here is European one, it means you get awarded ECTS-credit points. General electronic database allows you to choose subjects of interest, teachers and time of classes. We can say that the local system teaches you to make decisions yourself and take responsibility, to see the result of your study and your choice.
N.: Difference in the Polish and Kazakh education system is small, but noticeable. Active participation in university life is also required here. However, teachers are closer to students (they remind my teachers from school). They provide all kinds of assistance to the new students.
—What cities of Poland have you already visited? What did you like most?
A.:I live in Warsaw at present. I visited Lublin, Krakow, Gdansk and Sopot. Each city is unique in its own way, but as a true child of the steppes I will answer that most of all I liked the Baltic sea and the pier in Sopot – the longest one in Europe.
N.: I've only been in Warsaw and Gdansk. Warsaw is the centre of Polish life, it does not stop for a minute. Whereas Gdansk is a leisurely city on the Baltic sea coast.
—Do you like Polish cuisine?
A.: Polish cuisine is a bit similar to the Kazakh one in that the dishes are hearty fare. It is very tasty, restaurants with Polish cuisine are very popular among tourists.
N.: My first plan on arrival in Poland was to try the local cuisine. I have not fully tasted Polish food yet, but first impression is that it has similarities with Russian cuisine. I enjoyed it.
—Do you have any friends among Polish students?
A.: I have many fellows among Polish students, but I cannot call them friends as it requires time.
N.: Yes, I have some Polish friends, who I can speak on variety of subjects.
—What do you miss most of all being here in Poland for a year?
A.: I miss my mother’s meal, kumys and snow in winter as there is not so much as in my hometown Karaganda.
N.: At first I was busy studying the city and adapting to the new country, so I did not have time to think about my city. Over time, I began to feel the absence of family and friends and I miss them most of all now.
— Thank you for the interview!