Want to learn Polish for free? Then you have come to the right place! If you are visiting Warsaw for a short holiday then learning the basics such as Hello, Thank You, the bill please and good bye will first of all make you look really cool and cultured, but will also put a smile on the faces of locals as Polish is not a common language spoken or learnt by those from the west. If you are planning to live and work in Poland for a longer period of time then increasing your knowledge of the language will help you make the most of you time in Poland.
There are many great language schools and these are probably the best way to learn as you’ll have a professional teacher guide you and be on-hand to correct your mistakes and speed up your learning process. Polish language courses can range from a few days to a few months. Some of them are one to one and some of them are in larger groups. Here are some prices taken from local schools in Warsaw to give you an idea of what you might have to pay if you choice to do lessons:
Regular group course of Polish (2 times a week, 30 lessons). Duration: 8 weeks = 659 PLN (about 156 euros)
Semi-intensive group course of Polish (3 times a week, 30 lessons). Duration 5 weeks = 659PLN (about 156 euros)
Intensive group course of Polish (5 times a week, 80 lessons). Duration 4 weeks = 1360PLN (about 322 euros)
In this article we are going to focus on ways you can learn Polish for free, but as with any language it is hard to master without practical experience. There is only so much reading and repeating can do to help you progress.
Can Polish people speak English
The younger Polish generation (under 28 years old) most likely studied some level of English at school. Some of those continued to prove their skills, while some probably never spoke English again. You can easily find English speakers in bars, clubs, restaurants and stores inside shopping centers, but it is uncommon to find English speakers in governmental building such as post offices, visa offices, police stations and some hostilities. The older generation learnt Russian at school, but there are a lot of more mature English speakers that use English for job reasons.
There are lots of great channels on YouTube that can really help you get started with the sounding of Polish words. The Polish language uses a lot of the same letters as the English alphabet, but it also has its own unique characters such as ć, ń, ó, ś and ź. YouTube is a great place to start because you’ll soon discover the sounds of these letters.
For example the Polish town of Łódź looks like it could say ‘lods’ in English, but it is actually pronounced like ‘Wood-ch’. Check out this video of Americans trying to pronounce Polish towns with these special characters
Duolingo and other language apps
Not heard of Duolingo? It is a free online platform that helps you learn a language through the process of reading, typing and speaking. The best thing about Duolingo is it free and has a English to Polish option so you can learn Polish for free! They also have a Polish to English option too for Polish people who would like to improve their English.
Duolingo is one of the more popular websites for learning Polish but there are many more available:
These apps are great to keep on your phone for when you miss a bus, waiting for an appointment or have some time to kill you can easily brush up and practice your new skills right there on your smartphone.
Free lessons for non-EU members
You read that right! Some non-EU members can learn Polish for free via group courses financed by European Fund for Integration of Third-Country Nationals and state budget.
Not everyone is entitled to free courses, you need to meet following requirements:
-You must be a citizen of non-EU country, except for highly developed countries like: United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan.
– You must be a holder of Polish visa D type or resident’s card, where both documents must be issued for minimum 12 months. Please note that both the visa and the resident’s card must not expire before the closing date of the course.
Double citizenship of EU and non EU country precludes you from benefiting from free of charge courses.
What kind of courses can you get for free?
– general Polish (for all beneficiaries) – total of 60 lesson, classes 2 x per week: mornings, afternoons or evenings. 10 weeks of classes (20 sessions)
– general Polish for college students – total of 60 lesson, classes 2 x per week: mornings, afternoons or evenings. 10 weeks of classes (20 sessions)
– medical Polish for doctors or medicine students – total of 45 lesson, classes 2 x per week: mornings, afternoons or evenings. 7,5 weeks of classes (15 sessions)
– business Polish (for all beneficiaries) – total of 45 lesson, classes 2 x per week: mornings, afternoons or evenings. 7,5 weeks of classes (15 sessions)
How to enroll/sign up for the course?
Different schools provide different terms and conditions and not all schools will be supported under this scheme, so we would recommend contact schools yourself and requesting information if they provide this service or not.
Fundacja dla Somalii (Foundation for Somalia)
From their website:
Our mission is to promote intercultural dialogue, diversity as well as exchange of cultural experiences. The objective of our everyday work is to promote tolerance and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. We believe that every human being deserves acceptation and respect.
The Foundation for Somalia is a Non-profit organisation that offers free Polish lessons. You must apply on their website to see if you are eligible to join and they have enroll dates when you can apply. You can find out more information about their Polish courses and how you can learn Polish for free on their website: Fundacja dla Somalii
Make Polish friends
Books, apps and YouTube videos can only take you so far. Having a native Polish speaker to practice with will help build upon speaking AND listening skills. You can’t learn the slang and local humor from books alone.
Some of the best ways to meet locals can be at your university or place of work, but if you do not working with Polish speakers then search for international events in the city you are currently in. If you are in the city of Warsaw then check out: Warsaw Social. They are an events community that host lots of different events from sports, business networking, partying and much more. These events are attended by both internationals and locals so you can easily make some new friends at almost every event. One of their best events for language exchange is their Warsaw Language Tandem event.
Find a language exchange partner
If you have a language that you feel might be interest to others then search for language or expat groups on Facebook in your current city (for example search: Expats in Warsaw) and offer your language for somebody else’s. This works by your offering say your Spanish to a Polish person for half an hour and then they offer you their Polish for half an hour. This is a great way to learn Polish for free, but also a cool way to make new friends with local people.
Ask your boss or University
large companies and universities usually offer some form of basic free language classes. Not everyone of them will but it cost nothing to ask and maybe if there is a large enough group of you that want to do it then maybe they can create a course for you.
We really hope you enjoyed this article and it has helped you on your path to learning Polish. If you have any tips or advice to others learning Polish then make sure you leave it in the comment section below to help others learn Polish for free.