Keeping in touch with family Polish roots

Notts County goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski visits Shirebrook Academy as part of Languages Week.
Notts County goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski visits Shirebrook Academy as part of Languages Week.
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Notts County’s goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski revealed how his parents arrive with their suitcase full of Polish food whenever they visit him, when he took part in a Shirebrook school’s foreign language week. The Magpies star was speaking to pupils at Shirebrook Academy, in Common Lane, when he dropped in to talk about the Polish way of life and what it is like to live and work in a foreign country.

It was the second time that Bartosz, who took time out to pit his wits against pupils in a penalty shoot-out, has taken part in the annual event, which also looked at the language, food and cultures of other countries such as Italy and Spain.

He explained how it took him a year to become fluent in English after his move to the UK, how he finds English football more exciting compared to Polish football and what he misses about home.

He said: “I miss my family and friends. I’ve got my parents back in Poland and I left lots of friends when I moved here, but now I have lots of family in England - I have a wife and two kids, and we are happy now here.

“My parents visit me very often, around four times a year, and when they come over they always bring lots of Polish food and other different things.”

Shirebrook Academy language teacher James Edwards said: “Our Polish day was a resounding success and Bartosz was once again the star of the show.

“His visit helped us to demonstrate how languages link to every day life, and how the sport of football brings people together as one.”

Cheryl Booth, head of Shirebrook Academy’s languages department, added: “It’s extremely important for young people to learn a language, and Bart’s visit showed how speaking a language opens up opportunities in terms of life and future work.”