You’re in For(eign) a Treat- Poland


Preethi Kumar, Contributor

Liliana, or as most people call her Herbata,  is a foreign exchange student from Gdansk, Poland who attends Prior Lake High school for the 2017-2018 school year. Imagine living 4576 miles away from home at age 16.  No only is Herbata Jasińska 16 years old, but she is also studying as a senior at the Prior Lake High School. She is staying with Abby Grund, a sophomore here at PLHS, and her family.


Jasińska has always wanted to come to the United States. She says, “ It’s been my dream forever now, and knowing I’m finally here still seems a bit unbelievable to me.” She doesn’t have a specific reason for why she dreamed of coming here, but she has always wanted to visit and now she is living her dream.


Jasińska had applied to another foreign exchange program, but she got denied. She had almost quit on her dream after this.


Things happen for a reason, and Herbata had a story to tell. “Exactly on May 30th, I was lying in my bed, scrolling down my Facebook wall and saw a post saying an organization called Nacel Open Door has one scholarship for an Academic Year Program in the United States to give away,” said Jasińska about applying again for another program. At first, she actually just let this opportunity pass by. After seeing it pop up back on her Facebook feed, she decided to apply.


On June 17, Jasińska received an email titled “Scholarship Winner!” She remembers that she “was speechless, overwhelmed, overjoyed, surprised, shocked, indescribably happy and confused.”  After this amazing announcement, her family kept randomly repeating the name of each state because she didn’t know where in the U.S. she would be going.


On August 7th, just 18 days before leaving for America, she got her placement information about the family she would be joining for the next year. She was very pleased after speaking to her host family.  She “was also greatly satisfied with the place – it’s just SAVAGE. It couldn’t be any more accurate. Minnesota rules!”


Jainska says that the school system here is very different from how things are set up in Poland. “First of all, we don’t ever get to choose classes we want to attend, as all are obligatory to everyone. In high school, you may choose your ‘profile’ which means you get more of e.g. maths or biology, but you still need to go to other lessons that are in your schedule. Having this said, there is no reason for us to have different people in every lesson.  Instead, we’re divided into groups of around 20-30 and go to school with the same classmates every single day, every single hour.”


The discipline is also very different there also because nobody cares about if you’re late a few times, and they don’t get F’s for turning in things late. That being said, school is also very stressful and busy because the pace is faster and they have more assignments. “There are more subjects, because the schedule is weekly, meaning you can have biology, chemistry and physics twice a week, PE three or four times, Arts once a week, etc., so there’s more variation throughout the week.” 


Overall, the experience here has been amazing for Jasińska. “I feel very welcome here and really can’t believe how incredibly nice everyone is to me,” says Jasińska when asked about people here.


Please welcome Herbata to Prior Lake High School.  We hope she has a fantastic year!