Aleksandra Jehn-Olszewska

Year of MA graduation: 2021
Current occupation: teacher assistant at the American School of Warsaw

How was studying at the ASC like?

If I was to describe studying at ASC in one phrase, I would say it was eye-opening. After these studies, you will never look in the same way at films, books, popular culture, news, art, or people around you. In my opinion, a skill practiced the most thoroughly at the ASC is critical thinking. I find it to be a crucial skill not only for studying but also for living in the times of information overflow. At ASC I learned how to notice, understand, and analyze through confrontation, creative comparison, acknowledging perspectives, or drawing attention to overlooked details.

What did you like most about our Center?

The most interesting thing about the classes was discovering the variety of topics that connect different aspects of American life, popular culture, historical, social, and political contexts. The American context itself invites studying different cultures and it was often interesting to confront it with our European reality.

What skills have you gained while studying that you think you would not acquire anywhere else?

I learned how to verify information and seek reliable sources. However, the faculty at ASC teaches not only about research and effective academic writing. I appreciate the most the fact that in MA program the courses were organized according to the topics the professors are personally passionate about. It makes the classes interesting, authentic, and inspiring for the process of finding one’s own academic interests. ASC allows for the choice of some courses and I feel that they provide flexibility and assistance with pursuing those interests. I was able to expand my interest in American visual and literary art both in my BA and MA theses.

In what way 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?

I feel that studying at ASC was a crucial part of the process of my formation as a person and it inspired my professional and lifestyle choices. In between completing my BA and MA degrees I had an opportunity of taking a gap year to travel across and volunteer in the United States for a couple of months (through the Workaway community). Currently, I work in the American School of Warsaw. Everyday I meet people and children from around the world. I think that studying at ASC has provided me with essential background for working at an American workplace, as well as with the understanding of processes that take place when different cultures and nationalities interact in everyday life.

To whom would you recommend pursuing a degree in American Studies?

I would recommend ASC to anyone who simply considers themselves to be open-minded.