Gdansk | Exchange letter

During the week of holiday from the 5th till the 10th of February, I joined Stylos for the exchange program to Poland. Or more specifically; the beautiful city of Gdansk.
We went there with a small but excited group of around twenty people. All, of course, from the faculty of architecture, but with a colourful variety of study years and experience.
This I thought was a beautiful way for me, and supposedly a lot of other people, to get more connected with Stylos and the students at our faculty.

During our stay in Gdansk there was never an opportunity to feel bored. We had a dynamic program with a lot of different activities such as, sightseeing, tours, lectures, but also making your own perogi (a Polish native recipe) and going to the pubs to hang out and getting to know our Polish friends. At whom we slept and had breakfast. Everyone that joined the exchange program was given a Polish buddy. He or she was your personal guide to the city and your roommate for the week. This way we got a nice peek of what Polish student life looks like.

The program exists in collaboration with the Gdansk University of Technology, where our buddies study Architecture and Urban planning. The main theme of the exchange is the (in)visible clash between either new and old architecture, or land and water. The main project and problem we had to tackle all revolved around this specific theme. During our walk-abouts in Gdansk we all noticed certain imperfections and areas that could use some fresh energy and a revitalization. We took these areas under the loop and started designing solutions and improvements. We did this in groups of six, existing of three Delft students and their buddies. Interesting to notice was the difference in how the Polish and the Dutch students started working. The Polish have a very strict, organized and faultless way of coming to a design, containing a lot of computer graphical designs and maps. Where the Dutch students started sketching and brainstorming, leading to a lot a crumpled papers and staring to the ceiling, that finally ended up with a well thought through design.

In the end I think these two approaches created real synergy together, because the results were really impressive. We ended up with some serious good solutions to problems the city has been struggling with for years. We had the honour to present our work in an art gallery where students, teachers and anyone who liked to come could see our projects.

Having said all this, I would come to the conclusion that the trip was a huge success and definitely worth a sequel. I am looking forward to our Polish buddies coming over to Delft.