Every year hundreds of Polish students gather in one town to connect with each other and celebrate what we all share – being Polish. The event is named Congress of Polish Student Societies in the UK, often called Polish Congress. But how exactly do you ‘connect in congress’?
‘Connect in Congress’ was the slogan of this year’s edition of Polish Congress, which took place in Cambridge. From an attendee’s point of view, not only are you able there to meet other Polish students from all over the UK, but also to get the opportunity to chat to Polish people who have been working in business industry and have plenty of advice how to pursue your career to make the most out of your Polish-British educational and cultural background.
First Congress was initiated in 2007 by Zbigniew Pelczynski, a politics tutor at Oxford University and Cambridge University and one of the special guests of this year’s Congress. The first Congress edition took place in Oxford and ever since it has been organised by a Polish Society chosen at annual elections. Societies apply and compete for the prize of running the congress the following year and the results are announced every year during the congress. Also, the results of the annual election for the committee of The Federation of Polish Student Societies in the UK are announced during the congress. Federation is an integrating and main body responsible for supporting all of the Polish students in the UK as well as coordinating the whole organisational process of the congress every year as one of their many projects.
What is unique about Polish Congress? That it both gives Polish students a chance to celebrate their Polish culture and provides career opportunities for them. The concept of Congress is merging dialogue (networking between students and people working in business industry), development (pursuit of Polish students’ careers in the UK), empowerment (enabling Polish students to show their assets in the British business industry) and community (integration of Polish Student Societies from all over the UK). The 2-days-long Congress agenda, which makes this whole concept possible, is always a combination of panels and conferences with social networking opportunities.
The whole two days are filled with a lot of panels that include speakers such as Polish politicians or businesspeople. All of these panels are intertwined with breaks for lunch or coffee where you are supposed to pursue the networking part of the event. And finally the icing on the cake – a formal ball which is an opportunity to dress up and dance to Polish hit songs, but most importantly: to celebrate the end of the key Polish Students’ event in the UK.
Polish Student Society in Warwick has won this year’s competition to host the following Congress. So the 14th edition of Polish Congress will take place in Warwick and I hope to see you all there!
Author: Wiktoria LewandowskaPoles in UK