Interview with Johanna (Poland)Back to list
Johanna, a foreign student from Poland, 23 years old, told us what brought her to Russia.
- Johanna, what engaged you to AIESEC?
I’ve been working in AIESEC in Poland for 1 year. That’s interesting for me to work with young people from different countries, work with foreigners abroad. On my view it’s really important to keep country to country connection between people, build and develop relationships between Poland and other countries.
- Why did you choose to visit namely Russia?
This choice is more exotic and original than a decision to visit any other European country. That’s rather difficult to come to Russia. AIESEC is the opportunity to make it happen. As for me Russia is a wonderful country with exotic culture, climate. I’ve been interested in Russia for many years. I like Russian history and would like to tell Russians about my country, for them to know more about Poland.
- Why Novosibirsk, what attracted you to this city?
It’s unusual. Moscow and Saint-Petersburg are closer to Europe, so the two capitals are much easier to be visited. Will I ever have an opportunity to visit Novosibirsk? That’s what attracted me - its farness. Novosibirsk is a big city, center of Siberia, for Europeans it is an exotic place. And one more thing is intuition (Johanna smiling). I felt that I need to come here for sure.
- What’s your impression of Novosibirsk?
Very good. People here are positive, friendly, interesting.
- Do Russian and Polish people have much in common?
Yes, I suppose very much. Russians are friendly, responsive, always ready to help. We, Slovenians, have much in common contrasting to dissimilitude with other Europeans: French, German people.
- You visited several European countries; do you see the differences between these countries and Russia?
Russians are more responsive. And in Russia I feel myself almost at home, about France, for example, I wouldn’t say that.
- What’s the image of Russia in Europe, particularly in Poland?
Image of Russia in Europe, Poland… (Johanna considers for a moment) is a vision of a huge and powerful country. Of country, good at football and many other types of sports. Beautiful nature, animals: bears, wolves are often shown to us on television in documental films.
- Is there any difference between what you previously imagined and what you actually saw?
People are more responsive and kindhearted than I thought. My father always told me that Russian people are friendlier than in other countries.
- Which languages do you speak? How did you start to learn Russian?
I speak Russian a bit and English. I learnt Russian in school: studied in a historical class, where Russian subject was obligatory. It’s very popular in Poland and Europe. Every nongovernmental organization willingly employs Russian-speaking personnel. Now I take private lessons of Russian language.
- What is difficult about Russian language?
In my opinion, the most difficult, better say inconvenient, thing is cognation between Russian and Polish languages: grammar, phonetics are alike, that’s why I sometimes confuse. From this point of view for not Slovenian native Europeans it’s easier to study Russian.
- What are your plans for the future? Would you like to connect it with Russia?
My dream is to live in Switzerland because there are many nongovernmental organizations for me to work in. I would connect my future namely with this country or Poland. I’d love to stay in Russia for one year more if only I had an opportunity to work in another project of AIESEC. But still I couldn’t stay here; I would come back to Poland. Anyway, I'm making some money on forex trade, so I have some freedom in choosing what I really want to do.
- Novosibirsk and Academcity, do you feel a great difference?
Academcity is smaller, Novosibirsk is higher developed, nevertheless it’s a capital of Siberia. As for me, Novosibirsk is like usual town of any European country.
- You were in the camp for 5 days, met with children you will guide. Do you see any difference between Polish and Russian children?
Actually I didn’t feel any difference while working with them. Guys are not spoilt, not naughty. Maybe only one thing - Russians are more open, in Poland children keep distance from surrounding people.
- Was there any translating hardship?
There are many funny stories concerning my accent. Children always correct my mistakes, teach me to pronounce well, they are really helpful.
- How does your work in camp looks like?
I’m telling children about Poland, we play Polish games that are very close to Russian. I thought it will be new for kids, but actually they were familiar to these games! (Johanna laughing) I work as a guide with younger group, with children 7-12 years old.
- If you had a chance to visit Russia one more time, which city would you choose?
Saint-Petersburg, Moscow and also… Irkutsk.
- Why Irkutsk?
There are many historical monuments in it, the most interesting for me are prisoner-of-war camps – during Soviet times many Russians and also Poles were exiled. Could say, Polish people made an impact to Siberia’s development. I’m interested in these people, in history of that times. I read a book called “Children of Arbat”, where the main character was exiled to Siberia. And of course Baikal Lake attracts me, I heard a lot about it from the lessons.
- Well that means you have a dream connected with Russia?
Yes, I’d like to visit Irkutsk, to study Russian history in depth. I would love to find a one year internship in AIESEC in some Russian company. But still I want to make my future career in European Union.