Warsaw Stock Exchange

Trip Start Jun 17, 2009
Trip End Jul 18, 2009

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Where I stayed
Warsawa Centrum Hotel

Flag of Poland  , Central Poland,
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Warsaw, Poland – June 30, 2009

Hello everyone, it is now Tuesday night, Warsaw time, which is 6 hours ahead of the U.S. east coast time. We arrived back in Warsaw yesterday afternoon after about a 5-hour bus ride from Gdansk, the port city in the north of Poland. Gdansk was a great time, especially all that I learned about Solidarity, the labor union for the shipyard workers, which ultimately resulted in the downfall of the communist regime in Poland, and ultimately, the end of the Soviet Union.

This morning our Fulbright group walked a few blocks from the hotel to the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE). It was a really cool place, all trades are done electronically, and the WSE is one of the busiest and most productive stock markets in all of central and Eastern Europe. We had a great briefing and saw the trades being done all morning. After the WSE, we walked about 30 minutes to a local private high school where we met with the headmaster and the head of the language department. We learned a lot about the importance placed on the national exams for moving on to the next level of school, especially those headed to university. The presenters were very candid, and we were surprised to learn that the headmaster (like our principal) is elected by teachers from the teaching ranks for a five-year term. The headmaster also conducts the annual salary review with each teacher. He/she has the power to set a salary for each teacher based on his or her performance. It was something I tried to imagine in our teaching ranks, what would our teachers think of that?

After the school visit, we went back to the Warsaw Stock Exchange for lunch (where we have eaten lunch each day in Warsaw), and we then went to the Fulbright office for an afternoon lecture by a professor from Warsaw University on the impact of Polish culture in the media. Poland is a very complicated country that when one speaks of it, you can't talk about its future without mentioning its past.

We are all packed up and ready to leave for Krakow on Wednesday morning at 7 am Warsaw time. Krakow is the home of Pope John Paul II and we will be based there and in surrounding cities until we return to Warsaw on July 15th. Stay tuned, will keep you posted on our journey.
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