Rediscovering Family Heritage through Languages Program

Klaudia Receiving the Minister's AwardKlaudia Kolodziejska (Year 10T) is discovering the strength to be found through family ties and how to make new connections with family heritage, through her native tongue.

Emigrating from Poland as a six year old, Klaudia immersed herself in the Australian language and way of life, participating in accelerated English language study so that she could communicate with her new school friends and teachers in English.

Klaudia’s commitment to the continuation of Polish language study saw her take up part-time classes, from which she has received a Commendation in the 2016 Minister’s Awards for Excellence, in Community Languages Schools.  Klaudia attended an award presentation event at the University of New South Wales on 2nd November, where diverse cultures and a love of languages was celebrated.

“Over the past few years I had lost touch with my family’s Polish history, particularly when I stopped using our language every day,” Klaudia said recently.

“I used to exchange letters with my grandparents in Polish, and I’ve been watching Polish movies with Mum.  It’s great to be able to have a special thing that’s just ours that we share, quoting lines from a movie and laughing about characters.”

“The Polish language is so much more intense, with so many different meanings around words and communicating is a deeper process.  I’m glad that I am continuing to learn how to use it as a young adult.”

In 2017, Klaudia begins Year 11 and has already committed to another two years of Polish language study for her HSC, in which she’ll be assessed on written, spoken and listening capabilities.

“I was really embarrassed when I was called up on to the stage during Chapel recently, when there was a presentation by the school about my recent Award.  But what I really love is that there are so many unique people here, with special talents and interests which make them interesting people and really fun to learn from. I’m glad that I was actually able to share my story with everyone.”