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Poland is a lot of culture, it is quality education, it is wonderful landscapes, it is delicious food, it is history that impacts and motivates, it is a growing economy, but, above all, it is quality of life.
1. Tell us why you have chosen Poland as your study destination?
Honestly, before arriving in Poland I did not know much about this wonderful country, I did not think about cultural experience, my priorities were more related to the academic level and academic plan of the master's degree at the university where I applied, and of course, in case of emergencies, that my economy could solve my support.
Today, 2 years and 5 months after arriving in Poland, I feel that I am studying at a university with a very high academic level, I can cover 100% of my support with the Ignacy Łukasiewicz scholarship offered, in addition to many other factors that make me feel so comfortable that I still wonder why 3 years ago Poland was not in my plans.
2. How is your experience in Poland going so far?
At first I was scared and anxious, I think it's normal, because of course, it was a new language, a new culture, a totally different climate, I mean, at home in Barranquilla the temperature is 30 °C throughout the year, so I didn't even have cold clothes.
My flight arrived in Wrocław, and I remember that I went to the bus station to go to Krakow, and a lady touched my arm and told me something in Polish, I didn’t understand anything and she noticed it, then she pointed out that I had the cell phone in the back pocket, and I understood that she was telling me to keep it in my bag or in a safer place, and I did it, I smiled at her and she smiled back, and it was the first time I felt the kindness of people.
I think it was at that moment that I realized that the cultural barrier was not as big as it seemed, and that it is always possible to find a way to communicate with others even without speaking the same language.
Since then I have accumulated countless stories to tell that make me love this country a little more every day. and the fear and anxiety gradually transformed into comfort and security.
At Main Square of the Old Town, Kraków
3. What you like the most about studying in Poland?
In terms of education, I feel that I am in a place with a high academic level, I really like that my classmates are very cultured, even though our area of study is engineering, they can without any problem speak for example of literature or geography with such good bases that make me think very well about the quality of secondary education in Poland, and also motivates me to improve my knowledge in general culture.
In college, I really like that teachers take into account the opinion of students for many decisions, I feel that the treatment is quite humane and comprehensive. For example, in my particular case, I am a Spanish speaker studying in Polish, which sounds scary, but it is not a bit, because I can count on the teachers clarifying each of my doubts and giving me the material at their fingertips not only in Polish but also in English. On the other hand, people are quite collaborative, so I can count on my colleagues in any questions that may arise. I really feel grateful to them, because I always feel their support, their desire to help me, their empathy.
Now about living in Poland, I must say that I like almost everything. As I mentioned I like the education system, I also like food, I like security, I like to breathe culture; easily today you can attend a Latin American film festival, and the next day you can admire an exhibition of Asian art.
I love that NAWA has given me the opportunity to learn Polish, because I feel closer to people and their culture, but above all I feel that people here value it, and they make me feel welcome.
4. What would you tell students in your home country to encourage them to come to Poland?
In my first week of classes already in the master, talking with some classmates, they asked me if I liked Poland, and when I said yes, they told me - Seriously? Why? And I was surprised by the question, I think that sometimes when you get used to certain things you stop valuing them, such as having a very good public transport 24 hours a day, or feeling safe while walking at night on the streets, or the fact that cars stop to let you pass zebra crossings. These kinds of things may seem small, but it really changes your life to have them.
I believe that nothing says more than my experience, what I have shared about how well I feel in this country, but to sum up, I would tell them what this country represents to me: Poland is a lot of culture, it is quality education, it is wonderful landscapes, it is delicious food, it is history that impacts and motivates, it is a growing economy, but, above all, it is quality of life.
5. Could you tell us your story?
I was born in Barranquilla, Atlántico, and lived until I was 7 years old in a beautiful town called Rosario de Chengue, Magdalena. My childhood was surrounded by nature, the love for horses and the poetry that my dad transmitted to me, the discipline and the love to write that my mother instilled in me and the image of a strong, independent and spiritual woman who is my grandmother. In my house the most important thing has always been the quality of education, so at the age of 7 I moved to Barranquilla, where my sisters already lived, who assumed very responsibly the role of person in charge while my parents were not, then in Barranquilla I finished college and university.
In Colombia, the resources for public university education are limited, so, although I got a good result in the admission exam, it was not enough to enter the career of my choice. Then, with the help of a loan, I entered a private university, and after graduating I acquired work experience for approximately 2 years.
I knew that I wanted to do a master's degree, but the prices of education in Colombia moved me many years away from my goal, so I looked for options outside the country and that was when Poland opened its doors, exceeding my expectations in all aspects. Today I can say that my life is divided into before and after Poland. My essence is still intact, but the way I see the world around me took a 180° turn, this experience has made me grow not only academically but also in the emotional field.
When I arrived I felt brave to face a situation that I saw difficult just because it was different, but the truth is that, although different from what I knew, this country makes my life easier. Thanks Poland!
You can contact me at Laura.FernandezCarrillo@nawa.gov.pl