Alicja Relidzyńska

Year of MA graduation: 2018

Current occupation: PhD candidate, teaching associate at the American Studies Center UW

How was studying at the ASC like?

Studying at the ASC was like a breath of fresh air for me. A wide range of interesting courses, thought-provoking academic discussions, and very friendly atmosphere would prove every day that I had taken a very good decision to choose the ASC.  

Why did you choose to study American Studies?

I was always interested in the United States as a country—its fascinating culture, impressive politics, and complicated history. I also knew that the ASC curriculum includes courses from different academic disciplines, and that students can really develop their interests there. I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed!

What did you like most about our Center?

Great professors, interdisciplinary program, freedom of choosing my academic path (we were able to take many different elective courses, depending on our interests), thematic events organized by the ASC Students Union and the faculty (such as Thanksgiving parties, Oscars Nights, American Studies Colloquium Series, ASC Picnics, graduation ceremonies etc.)

What did you like most about the study program?

A set of interesting lectures conducted by experts in particular fields (that can help you broaden and contextualize your knowledge) plus a rich variety of research-oriented elective courses (that introduce you to eye-opening theories and ideas which allow you to better understand social, political, and cultural situation—not only in the U.S.). At the ASC, you are given tools to see the world around you from different perspectives, and to consciously decide which one(s) work(s) for you.

Your best memory(ies)?

I can consider the whole time I spent at the ASC as an M.A. student a very good memory to cherish. I felt I was developing intellectually, learning a lot both about the U.S. and about myself while making long-lasting friendships. Thanksgiving parties, academic conferences organized by the students and the faculty, fascinating discussions with great professors, American-style graduation ceremony—you will find it all at the ASC!

What do you do professionally at the moment? Do you feel that the ASC has prepared you well and equipped with skills to pursue a professional path of your choice?

I am now a PhD candidate at the UW Doctoral School of Humanities and a teaching associate at the ASC. I am writing my dissertation about different types of nostalgia defined by the Anthropocene; I was able to adopt this interdisciplinary approach thanks to the enriching, individualized M.A. curriculum. I can definitely tell that I have found my academic (and, thus, professional) path thanks to my studies here, because I was able to try many different career options (in international relations, business, academia) and choose what’s best for me.

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?

What’s unique about the ASC is that you can acquire many different skills at the same time. All the courses are taught entirely in English, so you can feel comfortable and confident with this language without even thinking about it, which is a great asset. Thanks to teamwork-oriented tasks you’re given at the ASC, you develop your social, communication, and problem-solving abilities. What is more, by studying the U.S. culture, history, politics, sociology, and economy, you also gain general knowledge in these fields, which allows you to determine what you like most and to plan your professional future.

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

Among all the wonderful ASC faculty members, it’s my M.A. thesis supervisor—Prof. Paweł Frelik, my PhD thesis supervisor—Prof. Grzegorz Kość, and Prof. Agnieszka Graff who have had a tremendous impact on my career and who continue to be my source of academic inspiration.

What advice would you give to a younger self?

Take advantage of all the chances that studying at the ASC gives you: participate in conferences, polish your research and writing skills, don’t forget about networking, and have fun doing all that!

What are your future plans and career aspirations?

I would like to be a very good researcher in my field and to continue being part of the ASC academic community.

Would you choose this program again?

Of course, I would definitely choose it again.

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

I would recommend studying at the ASC to anyone who is open-minded and willing to learn new things. No matter whether you’re interested in politics, sociology, economics, or culture—you’ll find your place here.