School in Toruń
What's it like living in Torun? Torun is a very stimulating place to develop your career in ELT. If you are new to the profession, there are many experienced and approachable teachers on-hand to help you, and the training and development available to you on a daily basis is of a very high standard. Similarly, for more experienced teachers, there are greater opportunities for personal development, such as becoming actively involved in Cambridge exams, giving seminars, or taking on a senior role.
Poland is a country of friendly and very hospitable people, and students are generally very keen to learn, communicative and pleasant. Although the salary doesn't sound like much when converted into pounds sterling, by Polish standards we can live comfortably. We can afford to eat and drink out on a very regular basis, and explore Poland by spending cheap weekends away. To be frank, Polish isn't the world's easiest language, and at first it can seem daunting. However, the school offers free Polish lessons for teachers, and the basics are quickly mastered. Many Poles speak some English, and if you're having trouble communicating somebody will usually offer to help, since they are both friendly and keen to practise their English.
What about the town? Torun is very beautiful. Situated on the banks of the Vistula river, it is a historic medieval town of 250,000 inhabitants. It was the birthplace of the astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, and is famous for its local speciality - pierniki (gingerbread). Unusually for Poland, Torun survived World War II intact, and the pedestrianised old town (centred around a magnificent medieval town hall and square) is full of stunning Gothic (and some Renaissance) architecture. The town is on a very human scale, so it's a very pleasant place to stroll around. During the warmer months, it's lovely to join the crowds walking, chatting and reading on the river bank. There is an attractive forested park on the edge of town, and more forests and lakes are a short bike ride away. Most distances are easily covered on foot, and for more outlying areas there are excellent tram and bus links. Taxis are also cheap and very reliable.
Torun is a university town, and this lends it a wonderfully lively atmosphere. There are lots of good bars and cafes, some nice restaurants and a few good clubs with great atmosphere. Some of these bars and clubs offer free/cheap live music during the week, and there are regular exhibitions (Torun boasts several museums and a planetarium). During the summer many bars and restaurants open tables outside in the picturesque old town. There are cinemas showing both Hollywood blockbusters and European independent films in their original languages, there are several good supermarkets, and as well as the main shopping street in town (Szeroka) there are two recently-opened shopping centres a short tram ride from the centre. Almost everything you could want to buy is available here. There are several bowling alleys, and some pubs offer pool tables and dart boards.
Torun is situated centrally in northern Poland, and rail links to the rest of the country are excellent.
During holidays and long weekends, many teachers choose to spend their time exploring Poland, and trips to places like Gdansk, Krakow, Warsaw, Poznan, the Zakopane mountains, the Baltic coast and even Prague are common.
For more information about Torun please visit TORUN TIPS.COM.
And the School? IH Torun has approximately 10 teachers, and 420 students in and out of school and some in-company. Ages range from 7 to adult, divided into 3 age streams. Mostly it is general English, but there are special classes such as Cambridge exam preparation and exam club (FCE, CAE, CPE). The school also has a branch in Inowroclaw, where some teachers spend two afternoons a week.
The school is situated on a quiet street 5 minutes walk from the old town. It boasts its own computer room with internet access, a small teachers' kitchen, and two teachers' rooms. There is a popular social programme for staff and students including pub quiz nights, karaoke evenings, children's parties and 5-a-side football games.
The school has a friendly, open atmosphere and offers daily teacher support from experienced staff.
There are weekly teacher development sessions led by senior staff and regular teacher observations to help you improve your teaching. The management is always approachable and helpful, operating an open-door policy.
Quotes from teachers
|Torun is Poland's biggest secret! It's full of atmospheric bars, cheap beer and stunning medieval architecture. The school is committed to the development of new teachers, and the atmosphere is friendly and helpful. I have thoroughly enjoyed my year here, and look forward to returning in September!||Richard Walker|
|I've seen a lot of places in the world, but nothing compares to the view of Torun as you come over the bridge for the first time. The town is beautiful all through the year, and the school is well-resourced and supportive. Come to Torun and live your life to the full!||Will Dickerson|
|I have thoroughly enjoyed my year in Torun. It has been hard work, but worth it. It's good for teacher development and there is continuous support and training from senior teachers. There is also a vibrant social scene, with a wide selection of restaurants and bars. Try the famous Zubrowka (Bison grass vodka) when you arrive!||Lynsey Tarr|
|I came to Torun last September, after a recommendation by my CELTA trainer. Any initial concerns about teaching or living abroad were instantly dismissed by the warmth and helpful support of everyone here. For professional development, you won't find a better school than IH Torun, and I've made many close friends during my year here.||Chris Jones|
|Torun is a very cool city (very, very cool in Winter: bring some jumpers) with a friendly atmosphere, and plenty to do all year round. It's got loads of cafes and restaurants and a great night life. The school is efficiently run and very supportive, with helpful and motivating senior staff. If you want to work hard and play hard, Torun is the place for you.||Sam Evans|
|Torun really is a jewel in the crown. I first arrived here in 1994, and fell in love with both the school and the town, which is a rare combination. After 5 years in Morocco, I came back again for some more this year. Be careful, you may never leave, as my dear friend, and DOS, Malcolm will testify to!||Hassan Tadi|
Torun is a great place to teach and live. The school is excellent, and the city has lots to offer. I arrived here last September, and don't want to leave! Since September, I've made lots of close friends, and I feel very at home here now. I've enjoyed exploring Poland during the holidays, and I'm looking forward to skiing in Zakopane next year. I'm staying here so that I can continue to develop as a teacher in a supportive environment.