Interview with Della


D’Ella Heschmeyer, the American student attending our school from September till December this year, decided to talk to one of our teachers, Ania Kuptel, and share her feelings about being at Polish school.

Ania Kuptel: Why did you decide to take a gap year at your school in the USA and come to Poland?

D’Ella: I decided to take a gap year because my family is thinking about moving house to another US state, and I didn’t want to have to switch schools. So, my family and I discussed the idea of sending me abroad, and because I had been studying Polish, we decided on Poland. It was kind of last minute but it was a good idea, and worked out well.

Ania K.: What are your origins? Where do you come from?

D’Ella:My family tree consists of roots from Germany and Ireland, on my father’s side, and Poland and Hungary on my mother’s side. I am third or fourth generation from all of these countries, which means my great grandparents or great-great grandparents immigrated. I unfortunately do not know much about my family tree, as I’ve only studied the Polish side.



Ania K.:Why Bialystok? Why „Nasza Szkoła”?

D’Ella:My family had a foreign exchange student last year, and she is from Bialystok, so I’m staying with her and her family. Nasza Szkoła was a decision my host family made.

Ania K.:What did you know about Polish culture before coming here?

D’Ella:I knew quite a bit before coming here, because of our foreign exchange student and also because of my mother’s involvment in local Polish-American association back home. I guess you could say that I knew a lot about traditions and some history, but I’ve learnt a bit about modern culture since I’ve been here.

Ania K.:Are you surprised or disappointed so far?

D’Ella:So far, I am pleasently surprised. Everyone here has been very friendly, welcoming, and open to helping me learn. And my expectations for what I thought would learn have been met, and maybe even exceeded.

Ania K.: If you were to compare American teenagers to Polish ones…

D’Ella:I would probably say Polish teenagers are much nicer. Every person I’ve met here at school has been nice and has wanted to talk to me, despite the fact that I don’t speak the language. In America, teenagers are much more close-minded when it comes to foreigners, but I haven’t had that problem here.

Ania K.: What would you say is the biggest difference between Polish and American schools?

D’Ella: The biggest difference for me has been that American schools are so much more strict. There are no breaks in between classes, harsher punishments, and the teachers are a lot meaner. Other than that, Poland offers more language language learning opportunities for young students, and puts a large importance on being able to speak more than one language.

Ania K.:One of your wishes is coming true – you’re here with us. What are your aspirations for the year to come?

D’Ella:Well, I want to continue studying Polish, of course, and I also want to continue studying Hebrew, which I’ve been studying for a while. I hope to catch up with my friends and to brush up on my academic studies, so that I will be caught up or school next autumn. I also hope to continue participating in dance and theatre, because I love to perform.

Ania K.: Thank you for the interview, and I keep my fingers crossed for your wishes to come true.

D’Ella: Thank you.