2006-09-15 Iwona Lejman
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Polish language TV helping Ireland’s fastest growing immigrant group feel at home

Izabela ChudzickaIzabela Chudzicka
Ireland has seen a large influx of Polish immigrants over the last couple of years, as one of three countries to open its doors immediately to workers from the new EU in 2004. In fact the Polish community is the fastest growing immigrant group in Ireland. As a result, not just Irish companies but the mainstream media are focusing ever more attention on young, dynamic Poles, who they regard as an attractive target group. Dailies like the Evening Herald and The Irish Times print several pages in Polish at least once a week, while some TV channels are now broadcasting in the language.

The TV station City Channel came up with a programme that is half in Polish as not more than 50% of the Poles speak fluent English. The Channel’s face became Izabela Chudzicka to cover both political or economic issues as well as social matters and cultural events on  the ‘Oto Polska’ or This is Poland show.

“It was very good to do something in Polish to show that Ireland is becoming very quickly a cosmopolitan country. I think the Irish want to do something for us, they like us. Ireland is one of the countries where Poles should feel very comfortable in. It's very difficult to find an Irish person who would say anything bad about Polish people. We are considered by them as very hard working, very similar to them in the way we socialize, etc, etc.. It is working. The first few months I wasn't too sure how it was going to develop, but it has been a year and something and it's going strong so fingers crossed.”

Logo of City Channel in DublinLogo of City Channel in Dublin
Five years have already passed since Izabela Chudzicka arrived in Dublin. Having met many Irish people in her job in Poland she decided to leave her little town of Zabkowice Slaskie in the south for an adventure in Ireland. The plan was to stay for just a few months. She could speak proper English only after a few pints of Guinness, and started as a sales person in a drugstore, then became a waitress just like many other foreigners on their arrival in a new country. But she worked hard.

“At the beginning I was quite lucky as when I came over I knew some Irish people already. They helped me to settle, then I started going out with an Irish guy, which helped a lot because you get to know society quite well, you stick to Irish family... This kind of things... So almost 3,5 years I didn't even think about moving out of here as work was here, and my personal life was here as well. The whole experience was for me just a new adventure. The first few weeks were great - I felt like on holiday because I was going to an English language school. Then, when I got bored I said Ok I have to get back and start working. So I got a part time job on the top of college, and when I finished it, and knew that my English was good enough to go back to office work, the English school I was studying at offered me a job in administration.”

Polish workers in Dublin taking part in a protest agains improper working conditionsPolish workers in Dublin taking part in a protest agains improper working conditions
Now Izabela Chudzicka, a young  woman with unmissable Slav features, who had some experience with local TV in Poland, has already turned into one of the most promising presenters of Dublin City Channel, says Vanessa, the head producer:

“She's part of the family really. We're very happy to work with her. She's a very talented young lady and she really made herself here in Ireland. Since she started doing "Oto Polska" she's became a celebrity here, we see her on every poster, in every magazine.”

City Channel is a strong mix of lifestyle entertainment and information programmes that appeal to local audiences.  Izabela Chudzicka’s  ‘Oto Polska’ or This is Poland is co-produced by the most popular Polish news magazine Wiadomosci.   

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