It’s a weird feeling when you arrive to another country and soon after you have your own room in a house that you have never seen before and all you know about the people who live there is on a paper you have in your bag.

It’s really easy to find some real differences in normal family life when you compare the two countries. For example, something as simple as what time to eat. Here in Poland there is breakfast and then just some small lunch and after is the main dinner or “obiad” at around 4-6 in the afternoon and something small for late dinner. Compared to Iceland where we have a breakfast, a big lunch, small coffee brake at 3 and then a dinner at 7. This was so strange at the beginning but then gets normal.

In the mornings the kids are always the first to wake up! School starts at 8 but work usually at 9. That means that the kids have to wake up them self and get to school. Most of the time I’m up at 6:20 make breakfast, prepare lunch and then go to school by bus and the traffic is so much it takes me around 40 min every morning. It makes me think of my days in Iceland where my father had to come in my room over 5 times and tell me to get up. Sometimes it was so hard to get me out of the bed he had to take a glass of water and spill over my face.

Both of my host parents are architects and they work like crazy. So, over a normal day I just see them around dinner time and we try to eat together as often as possible which I really like. But that’s not always the case and sometimes there is no dinner at home but for me it’s not too bad because it just a Deja vu to my life in Iceland. I was very fortunate to have the aunt in the family living in our house my first 5 months and I got so much good traditional food during that time. Then over weekends there is always breakfast with the whole family.

Like I said my parents are busy over the workdays. But we make up for it during weekends and holidays. I have been to so many places with my family around Poland. I have gone skiing 4 times in the polish mountains, been to seaside and have traveled many times with my brother to our grandmother’s home (we are learning to be bee farmers!). I’m really lucky to have a brother in the same age as me as we can do so many things together. I also have a younger sister who I also really like to spend time with, we often go to badminton outside and we have some fun and interesting conversations in polish.

I feel like I was really lucky with my family. You have to get along with them and adopt to their lifestyle even though it’s very different from yours. The family is the most important part of your exchange.

Júlíus Waage  z Islandii (program roczny na Polsce 2017/18)