Joana Gomes in Poland:

I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE IN A COUNTRY WITH SNOW AND EXTREMELY COLD TEMPERATURES!


[At left: Joana Gomes, at right: Joana Fontes, both ESAD.CR students in Poland]

Year of the “Mobility Experience”: 2010.
Origin: 
ESAD.CR, Caldas da Rainha, Portugal.
Course:
 Graphic Design.
Host institution: 
Akademia Sztuk Pięknych (ASP) w Łodzi, Lodz, Poland.
Course or field of study:
 Graphic Design.
Why did you choose this school? 
From what I could gather in Portugal, it seemed to be a rather technical and practical school, such as ESAD.CR.

Did you like the school? 
I liked it a lot. It had excellent conditions in terms of materials.

How far were you from the city? I was on the outskirts of town. The school was about 10 minutes from home.

Your field of study is well developed in the school? Yes, despite feeling that they are still a little behind Portugal, within the area, some techniques are well developed!

Besides Graphic Design, what areas of study are developed in this school? Industrial Design, Fashion and Multimedia, as well as the Fine Arts.

How did you relate to native teachers and students? Teachers and classmates were more reserved than we expected and that we are used to. They didn’t feel very confortable talking to us in English, but it depended on the person.

This school is “ideal” for… Within my field of studies, it is ideal to learn traditional printing techniques such as Linocut, Woodcut, Metal engraving and Screen printing.


[Erasmus Students Exhibition, Joana’s Screenprinting work.]

Where did you stay? 
At a students residence.

How far was the residence from the school? And from the city? The Residence was approximately 10-15 minutes from school and the city center.

How was the residence? How much did it cost? So so. It cost about 80 euros per month.

Other information/experiences: Since I went with three colleagues from ESAD.CR we had to share the same room, and so we had less privacy. But it was also interesting to share the same apartment with two Polish colleagues and to be able to share experiences with them, such as Portuguese and Polish dinners.

What did you think of the city? 
Very industrial and gray.

Did you experience difficulties with the language? I took a course in Polish for a month, but the language is complicated. Many Poles don’t speak English. So in certain situations I had some difficulties.

Did you like the food? Some food was good and some wasn’t. Some dishes were too strong, but others were quite pleasant, like the mushroom soup.

How was the standard of living?
It was somewhat lower than Portugal’s.

Did you visit other cities in Poland? 
Yes, I visited 3 cities. Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk.


[Gdansk, Poland]

What do you think are the major cultural differences? People are more reserved, so it was very difficult to communicate with them. They don’t socialize with each other in the canteen or at the bar as we do in Portugal.

Did you receive a grant? Yes.

Did you make Polish friends? Yes.

Do you plan to go back? 
Yes, I would like to go back to Krakow in the summer because it was the city I liked the most.

What do you think that this experience brought to you in the personal and professional level? 
It brought me more motivation, confidence and maturity. I became more of a “problem solver”. Professionally I had the opportunity to have other experiences and job perspectives.

Did you experience some adventure or strange situation you’d like to share? 
The language barrier was the most difficult situation. For example, when I arrived at the Student Residence the gentleman who greeted us didn’t speak English, but we managed to communicate by gestures and a few words in Polish. Even though he didn’t understand us, he gave us a sense of security and confidence when we settled in. He was always friendly, even though he couldn’t speak a single word in English. I’ll never forget him.

A recommendation for future “Mobility Students”:
It’s a completely different country from Portugal, but I think it gave me a unique experience. I had the opportunity to live in a country with snow and extremely cold temperatures. I discovered beautiful cities with very interesting traditions. I also had the opportunity to learn a language I never thought of learning.

It is a good destination if you want a different experience in a country “less known”.

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