‘A guest in the home is God in the home’, reads an old Polish proverb. Most Poles take this idea quite seriously and, whilst they may not appear to display much affection to strangers in passing, when stepping over a Polish threshold you’re in for some heavenly treatment.
Poles are renowned for their skills at celebration, so when visiting friends and relatives of your new host family, be sure not to eat much beforehand. Lunch is the main meal of the day and, especially on weekends, can be known to last 7 courses or more!
Like their culture, Polish cuisine represents a real mixture of influences, from traditional Paczki (polish doughnut), to Borcht (a beetroot soup with Ukrainian origins). Indeed, a historical mixture of culture and ideology has paved the way for the development of a diverse array of traditions and cultural practices in Poland.
For example, if you are in Poland for Easter, watch out! Smingus Dyngus, a tradition dating back to the 15th Century, sees Poles drenching their unsuspecting relatives and friends with water. Those who are drenched are blessed with good fortune, ensuring a soaking good time for exchange students.
In more recent times Poland has witnessed extraordinary growth and development. Membership of the European Union has opened Poland to the world and its citizens look forward to a future as rich and diverse as its history.