Why is a Polish A-level exam so important and why is it worth the effort? A conversation with Bart
Bartłomiej is 15 years old and comes from one of the Polish oldest regions called Greater Poland. In the United Kingdom he has lived for over 4 years with his parents and a younger brother. Since 2012 he has been attending to St. Jadwiga the Queen Polish Saturday School in Ilford.
MK: Let us start from this, who do you hope to become in the future?
BS: A politician. I have been interested in politics for a long time. I love to give speeches and debate and the thought that one day, sooner or later, half of the nation will hate me doesn't disturb me. :) Of course, considering that one day the nation will hear about me to be able to hate me, however I am an optimist and I sincerely hope it will happen. :)
MK: You have a brother. In what language do you speak with him, Polish or English?
BS: We speak in Polish, but he is only three years old, therefore, he hasn't had much contact with the English language yet, perhaps except the postman to whom he always enthusiastically calls “Bye, bye!”. It is because at home we speak Polish practically all the time.
MK: Why do you speak Polish at home?
BS: Partly because of my brother. We want him to be able to communicate in Polish well once he grows up, but also as one of the Polish poet – Mikołaj Rej said: “Poles speak not Anserine but a tongue of their own”. I am rather attached to Poland and, therefore, its language and whenever it is possible and doesn't cause me any inconvenience, I do use it. It also applies to my friends who are Polish and wield the Polish language at a good degree. Naturally I do not try to rattle to Englishmen in Polish. Our language is an important element of our culture. Hence, I try to upkeep and cultivate it, in its purest form.
MK: Summarizing, what language has dominated your everyday life?
BS: To be honest, English. I spend plenty of time on the internet talking to people of similar interest from around the world: Germans, Spaniards, French, Czechs, and Americans, etc. English is nowadays an international language (what a shame, Latin was so pretty) and it is possible to use it to communicate with nearly everyone, as opposed to Polish. Of course I also use English at school and when I spend time with my mates, whilst at home we do not talk too much. Lately I have even caught myself on thinking in English. After all, it is an easier language, whilst Polish prides itself (or not) on being one of the most difficult languages in Europe.
MK: Will your children be taught the Polish language?
BS: Yes, indisputably. Sienkiewicz and Sapkowski are the best in the original.
MK: Why are you sitting the Polish A-level exams?
BS: For numerous reasons, among others to test my abilities and the usage of my mother tongue. In the future, those abilities will certainly prove beneficial, when I will be applying to a university or writing a curriculum vitae. It is good to know that my skills and knowledge are also appreciated by the British government and I do not have to be German or French in order to sit an exam from my native language, that Polish is still valued in Europe.
MK: What grade did you receive for your AS exam?
BS: Hundred out of a hundred points.
MK: Congratulations! What advice would you give to your peers taking the AS exam, that you have already went through?
BS: Do not be nervous or worry too much. When I was sitting the GCSE exam I was a nervous wreck, however it turned out that the exam was easy, and so when it came to AS I was far calmer. It paid off. Perhaps it was due to the fact I happened to get a good topic; I was to write what I think of the modern times and whether I reckon it was better “back in the days”. Since I am one of those “close-minded” traditionalists, I had an abundance of ideas to transform onto paper.
Thus, to all taking the exams this year we recommend peace of mind and hard work over the Polish language and culture.
With Bartłomiej Staniszewski
was speaking Maksi Kozińska.
Photo: Michał Krótki
If you are interested in the interview in Polish language, we strongly encourage you to prenumerate Razem Młodzi Przyjaciele- the educational magazine for teenagers in the United Kingdom. More information is available in the link below: http://www.polskamacierz.org/ksiegarnia/czasopisma-pms/