Enterprise Dispatch, Dec. 12, 2005
Family hosts Polish student
By Kristen Miller
Dassel residents Pat and Marie Fitzsimmons have always thought about sharing their home with a foreign exchange student and with most of their children out of the house, they had the extra room.
This year, the Fitzsimmons welcomed Janek Siarkiewicz (Sha-kay-vitch) also known as Jan (Jon), who is a Polish foreign exchange student from Czestochowa, Poland.
Siarkiewicz is currently attending Dassel-Cokato High School as a senior and is 17-years-old.
He is participating in swimming this season, but enjoys soccer in Poland the best, he said.
“We can play soccer anywhere, all you need is a soccer ball,” Siarkiewicz said.
He does enjoy swimming though and gets along well with his captains, Kyle McAllister and Eric Winkelman.
“They give me rides after practice,” he said.
He misses his family back home but his host family has been supportive.
“Without them, I’d be back home. They treat me like a son,” he said.
Marie has her own catering business and is “the best cook,” Siarkiewicz said, even though he explained how they put ketchup on everything in Poland.
Czestochowa is a large city compared to the Dassel-Cokato area, so he stays quite busy there, but “there’s not a lot of stuff to do here,” he said. However, he enjoys the friendly people “so I can find stuff to do,” Siarkiewicz said.
He attends basketball games and also likes paintball. He belongs to a paintball team in Poland.
There is a language barrier he said, but mostly because of the different movies and music. “The culture is different and so is the humor,” he said.
One of the differences he noticed in language is how Minnesotans say “yeah” for “yes.” The way German’s say “yes” is pronounced “yah,” so maybe that’s where it comes from, he said.
Although he said things are different here, “they are not better or worse, and I’m just trying to observe the differences,” Siarkiewicz said.