FSI Polish Fast Course
What are FSI FAST Courses?
The Foreign Service Institute, or FSI, is the branch of the US government charged with providing diplomatic staff with the necessary training before being assigned to postings abroad, and a large part of this involves language instruction.
FSI has been teaching languages to diplomats for around 75 years, and for those who can dedicate the necessary time, FSI’s intensive six-month Basic courses were designed to give students a high degree of competency in their target languages in a relatively short amount of time.
However, for those who couldn’t attend a full-time study program that lasted half a year, FAST courses were created to provide at least some level of language training before diplomats left to assume their roles in their host countries.
FAST stands for Familiarization And Short-Term Training, and these courses were intended to give students a foundation in the basics of the language as well as teaching them a bit about the culture and customs of the countries where they were being sent.
What is FSI Polish FAST?
FSI Polish FAST was first published in 1992 and consists of 14 units along with a grammar test at the end. The lessons are based around the kinds of situation you might expect to face while traveling, living or working in Poland, and each unit also gives you some information about life in the country.
The goal of this course is to build your confidence in Polish rather than to give you an in-depth knowledge of the language. When you finish it, you should feel ready to start using your Polish with Polish speakers in Poland or abroad.
How can you use FSI FAST Polish?
Although the FSI Polish FAST course was originally designed to be used with an instructor, with a little creativity, the materials it contains can still be extremely useful. You can simply work through the dialogs and drills contained in each unit, using them in whichever way you think is best for you.
Since each unit is accompanied by an audio recording, you can use this to improve your pronunciation and listening skills while at the same time enlarging your vocabulary and knowledge of Polish grammar.
You could use this course as your primary study resource, but you will probably find it most effective if you use it to supplement another, perhaps slightly more modern, coursebook.
This would be a particularly useful course to study in the weeks leading up to a trip to Poland since it can give you the basic linguistic tools you’ll need while you’re there. However, at the same time, since this course was originally published in 1992, some of the cultural elements may now be a little dated.
Taking it further
No matter how you decide to use this free Polish course, you won’t be able to master Polish without practicing. This means at the earliest opportunity, you should take your new Polish skills and try them out “in the wild”. Look for Polish native speakers to practice with, and above all, try to make speaking Polish a part of your daily routine. Then, when you do this, you will find out how much progress you are already making.