Barbara Szukała

Year of MA graduation: 2019

Current occupation: Media Planner at Warner Bros. Discovery

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

The American Studies Center taught me critical thinking, constant questioning, and being open for a diversity of thoughts. It provided academic development in various areas: from literature, history, and geography to politics, society, and digital media. Studying at the American Studies Center was not only limited to the United States but also it offered a solid foundation in humanities in general. Nowhere else will you learn cultural text analysis, essay writing, and public speaking like at the ASC.

How was studying at the ASC like?

MA studies at the American Studies Center gave me amazing friends who are still present in my life. Even after graduation, carrying on the ASCs tradition, every year we celebrate Thanksgiving and organize Oscars movie night at our homes. My ASC friends are the ones open-minded, incredibly curious, and always ready for gripping conversations.

Your best memory(ies)?

With no doubt, one of the best memories from the ASC times was my Erasmus exchange at Università CaFoscari Venezia in Italy and at Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. I will never forget lecture halls overviewing the Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco. I will always remember deciding on my MA thesis topic watching West Side Story in Teatro Calderón. Studying abroad widens horizons and makes you self-reliant. I feel extremely fortunate to have friends in distant parts of the world thanks to this program.

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?

After my graduation, quite naturally I started working for companies closely related to the United States. I got my first job in an educational agency where I guided students through the application process for American universities. My mentees received acceptance letters from the Ivy League, NYU, or UC. Recently, Ive joined the team of Warner Bros. Discovery. Being responsible for promoting American series and movies on the international market Im following my interests and my masters major — American audiovisual culture.

What advice would you give to a younger self?

I’d say, attend open lectures, be involved in campus events, and join student organizations. Do not believe in Emersons traveling is a fools paradiseand go on Erasmus+ Student Exchange! Use summer holidays for internships, volunteering or work&travel programs. Enjoy every second at the ASC and University of Warsaw. Your college life will pass quickly and there will be no replay.