‘Polish 8-year olds thought I was stupid’: British author

The alternative to taking up a job in a fish and chip bar was continuing as a teacher of eight-year-olds, which he found terrifying, the author of “A chip shop in Poznan” Ben Aitken told Poland In.

“I didn’t speak a word of Polish and they figured out that I wasn’t as intelligent as I might be.” Aitken recalled his experience of teaching English in a language school in the Western Polish town of Poznań. He had chosen to go there in order to “feel as much of a fish out of water as possible,” the author admitted to PolandIN’s David Kennedy.

He was then “coerced” to take up a job in a fish and chip restaurant, as its owner was convinced that his being English gave him natural abilities to fry fish...a decision which had many humorous consequences.

Aitken spent ‘an unlikely year in Poland” as the book is subtitled, during which he visited several towns and got to understand elements of the reality faced by ordinary Poles including low-paid workers like his colleagues in catering, some one million of whom decided to emigrate to the UK despite being very proud of their country and its traditions.

While being a hilarious account of a hapless Englishman abroad, the book has some serious intentions and provides a good beginners guide to what makes Poland tick.

Click here to see the full interview.