Alan Zacharzewski

Year of MA graduation: 2016

Current occupation: self-employed English coach for adults

What did you like most about our Center?

I loved absolutely everything about it! I was fortunate to be a part of the first BA program at ASC and the first MA program for ASC BA graduates. That meant our experience was truly unique and we felt like trailblazers for others to come after us. Consequently, the management and teaching staff wanted and appreciated our feedback. That made me feel I had a genuine impact on the curriculum I was following so I could focus on issues that interested me the most.

I had the pleasure to learn from authorities such as Prof. Agnieszka Graff, Prof. Karolina Krasuska, and Prof. Paweł Frelik to name just a few. They inspired me to think critically and go beyond the obvious. Apart from that I was lucky to meet fellow students whom I can still call my close friends. We had the time of our lives learning, debating, and partying with each other. 

What I loved the most, though, was the fact that back then ASC was located in a beautiful quasi-palace surrounded by an apple orchard where we would hang out before, between, and after classes which created a strong feeling of belonging to a supportive and creative academic community.

In what way has the experience of studying at the ASC influenced your future career choices and helped you get to the place where you are today, both professionally and personally?

My favorite thing about ASC was that it had no pretense of preparing me to do any job in particular. For me, that is the essence of studying. I chose ASC because I wanted to read books, watch movies, and discuss them with others. Most importantly, I wanted to do it in English.

I never wanted a degree in “useful” studies. I didn’t expect the Center to make me desirable in the job market. To the best of my knowledge, there are no two people from my year doing the same job right now. The way I see it, this is the best proof of the diversity among ASC alumni. We had a great time together, we cooperated and supported each other, and we were free to choose our own paths.

However, there is a particular skill set that I believe we developed – we speak, write, and read in English very well; we are able to identify processes shaping contemporary culture and politics; we are critical thinkers; we are versatile and adaptable; we do extremely well in tasks based on discourse. All in all, I believe that makes us free to choose any career path we want and then change it any time we want without losing the quality of what we do.

Has someone at the ASC had a particular impact on you or inspired you in some way?

Literally, each and every person I had the pleasure to meet. From Prof. Bohdan Szklarski who saw leadership potential in me and encouraged me to become the ASC Students’ Union president, through Prof. Tomasz Basiuk who showed me that it is ok to admit to not knowing something (he never made up an answer to a question, if he didn’t know something he would say that he’d check it and come back with an answer, and he always did come back with the answer), Ms. Agnieszka Żmijewska who was always there to support us administratively and did so with a smile on her face, Prof. Karolina Krasuska who encouraged me to write my MA thesis about American Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu who still is my favorite musician, Prof. Paweł Frelik who introduced games and SF to my life, etc.

The list goes on and on and I cannot mention everybody but there is a special place in my heart for the library staff at ASC. I believe they rarely get the credit they deserve but without them completing the program would have been simply impossible. They are genuine masters at obtaining books unavailable anywhere else.

Would you choose this program again?

Yes, any time, without a shadow of a doubt.