Year of MA graduation: 2009
Current occupation: journalist, writer, author of non-fiction books
How was studying at the ASC like?
As an older millennial, born in Poland in 1983, I came of age in a time and place that was infused with a fascination and a sense of indebtedness to the United States of America. I was raised by an americanophile father, who took me on trips to the US and instilled in me an interest in all things American. From this sprang the desire to learn more about a country and a people, so glamorized by him and the popular culture of the time.
Little did I know, as a fourth year student of English philology, simultaneously entering a Masters program at the American Studies Center, how naive and quite frankly shallow my understanding of America was at the time. Thus, the most valuable thing I gained over three years of studies at ASC, was a much broader and more complex perspective on the subject.
Those I credit with nuancing my outlook are prof. Marek Wilczyński, prof. Agata Bielik-Robson, prof. Agnieszka Graff, and last but not least, my thesis supervisor – prof. Bohdan Szklarski. Attend their classes and you will be intellectually enlightened and challenged, as well as exposed to different, often competing ideological perspectives. Listen to their lectures and expect to hear grand ideas explained simply, in superb English.
What did you like most about our Center?
The teachers and staff are definitely the heart of this school. Getting to interact with them in a much more relaxed and casual way than is commonplace in our academic culture, is a great benefit. As with any course of studies in the humanities, this one doesn’t come with a readymade recipe for a career. For me, it took much more than three years at the ASC to become a journalist covering American topics, and later an author of non-fiction books about the Unites States (one already out, another one in the making). But it definitely gave me a lot of knowledge and some of the tools indispensable to getting where I am now.
A word of advice?
Immerse yourself in the experience, read what you are told and much more, pick your favorites, and if you have a gut feeling telling you to pursue a topic, don’t be afraid to get focused. When they tell you at the very beginning to find your niche, they speak from experience, and the sooner you get to it – the easier it will be for you to become a decent “amerkanista/ka”.