Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski (KUL)
On Saturday, I'll be traveling to Poland again, for a 3 week stretch. Like last year, I'll be taking a Polish language course at the Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski (Catholic University of Lublin) in Lublin, Poland. The 9-10 hour plane ride should afford me lots of time to read!
When I took the course last year, I had a really strong grasp on conscious grammar but was rather weak with speaking, understanding and vocabulary. On the first day they give you a placement test, to see what level you should be at. It has a written component, which I did really well on, and an "interview-ish" spoken component, which I bombed. Even so, they placed me in the highest level, bardzo zaadwansowany.
The people in my class had way, way better language abilities than me. I was floundering at best. Quite a few of them were the children of Polish emigrants or had emigrated from Poland at an early age and spoke Polish natively, since childhood. But when we did grammar exercises, I was probably the only person who knew what was going on. ;-)
Still! It was a lot of fun. I made a lot of awesome friends and got into a number of interesting adventures. I also got a taste of Polish culture and experience I couldn't have gotten at home. It was brilliant.
Since last year, I've changed my approach drastically. I've been reading and listening to the books in the Harry Potter series in Polish (1, 2, 3, 4). I hired a Polish tutor who I speak with over the internet once a week. My speaking, understanding, and, yes, even some of my grammar skillz have improved. This year is going to be twice as brilliant!
This year I plan to really try and do everything in Polish. Last year, I became friends mostly with native English speakers (although, a few were also native Polish speakers). They were awesome people, but this year I'm going to try and spend more time with other people so that falling back on English isn't so easy.
The content of the classes is very much focused on grammar. I really have no interest to muck around anymore with grammar, but that doesn't matter. For me, its just a random topic, and I'm just there to hear and speak Polish.
Its funny: last year I believed that just by going to Poland and taking this course, my Polish abilities would improve drastically. And my abilities did improve, just not as I had imagined. But this year, I see it differently. I see this trip simply as a reward for all my hard work studying Polish here in the US-of-A.