Nothing breaks down language barriers like bowling.
If you haven’t gone bowling in Poland, you haven’t lived. (Of course, it’s very unlikely that you have gone bowling in Poland).
We learned quickly, that Polish students don’t learn English in school, at least not very well. Teaching leadership principles to students through a translator (which I’ve done many times) is tough, but usually some speak English. But these don’t. At least that’s what they said until we went bowling with our 25 students.
I was wondering how interacting with our shy Polish students would work until the first couple of frames. Then, amazingly, they started speaking English (albeit, not perfect Queen’s English). Soon, we were high 5ing and fist bumping.
It turns out that when you spend time with students doing something they love (and Polish teens love bowling – go figure), you get to know them in ways you wouldn’t otherwise. But, then, most of us know that, don’t we?