The NIT Summer School Program of 2015 enabled a group of students from the Bialystok University of Technology, located in Bialystok, Poland, to interact with local Chinese students over a 20-day period. The cultural exchange program, designed to promote mutual understanding between our two countries, consisted of two parts: Modern Logistics and Chinese Culture. University courses were presented on logistics and related practices, and Chinese students taught Chinese language courses and also served as city guides to help the Polish guests experience Chinese culture and everyday life first-hand. All program participants found the program to be both meaningful and enjoyable. The NIT Post interviewed Agada, one of the Polish students, and Yuan Yanmeng, a student volunteer:
NIT Post: Agada, thank you for doing this interview. As a participant in NIT’s Summer School Program, what do you think about your visit to China, and to NIT in particular?
Agada: First of all, I’ve been dreaming since primary school about traveling to China, and I can hardly believe that this dream has come true. I love it here; it’s beautiful. I also really like the NIT campus and its friendly, warm-hearted students and teachers — especially Professor Wang. When I return to Poland, I’ll miss the canteens and delicious Chinese food, the dormitory where we stayed, and I’ll always remember the Mandarin language classes and our trips around Ningbo.
NIT Post: Of the classes you attended on the subject of Chinese culture, which ones impressed you the most?
Agada: They were all fascinating. If I had to choose the most interesting ones, I would choose the calligraphy lesson and the lecture about traditional festivals. The calligraphy lesson was hands-on and illuminating, and the lecture about festivals revealed many of the differences between our two cultures — that we celebrate different occasions, and in different ways.
NIT Post: Hello, Yuan Yanmeng, and thanks for agreeing to this interview. Why did you choose to be a volunteer for NIT’s Summer School Program?
Yuan Yanmeng: Because I am an English major, I want to take every opportunity to practice my English. The summer program is designed as a bridge between the Polish and Chinese cultures, and English was our lingua franca. For this reason, I was able to speak English and also learn about Polish culture. I also made some wonderful new friends.
NIT Post: What were the most interesting things you learned about Poland and its culture?
Yuan Yanmeng: Our Polish friends tend to express themselves in a more direct way. Chinese people, on the other hand, tend to speak euphemistically and to excuse themselves a lot. The Chinese style is polite, but it can sometimes be frustrating or confusing to foreigners.