Karolina Kapusta (English Literature major, Polish language student)
My name is Karolina and I’m a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia. I spent the last four years or so buried in literature and essays as an English Literature student. It was only in my last year that I decided to dive into some Polish courses – Polish 200 and Polish 424 specifically – and my only regret was not having taking courses in Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies sooner! Maybe it was because of my Polish heritage, maybe it was the encouraging professors, and maybe it was the like-minded students, but here in these classes I felt at home. Especially in the full-year Polish 200 course did it feel like we became a big, quirky Polish family.
I had always thought my Polish background was reserved for the home, never thinking I could find a little piece of it on UBC’s campus. Because it was my final year I was unfortunately unable to continue on to Polish 300 but the CENES department will always hold a place in my heart. It left me with a strong yearning to revisit Poland with a new perspective.
No matter your background, I would encourage anyone interested in Eastern European culture and history to take a course in the CENES department because the professors have a lot to offer!
Julia Buczek (International Relations major, German minor, Polish language student)
As the onset of her final year as an International Relations major approaches, Julia Buczek continuously strives to incorporate the opportunities offered by UBC’s global classroom into her undergraduate experience. Integrating the domain of diplomacy with the desire to identify and maintain a sense of cultural identity, Julia applies these skills and interests towards the establishment of local and international endeavours.
Deeply intrigued and absorbed into the context of European and Eurasian affairs, Julia’s area of focus within her International Relations major expands outwards, incorporating the importance of languages within the realm of cultural understanding and diplomacy.
Growing up in a multilingual household, particularly with English and Polish as the main tongues, her enthusiasm and desire to experiment with languages of interest entered a state of fulfillment during the past few years as an undergraduate.
“I was initially pulled into the structure, tone, and significance of the German language, eventually deciding that a minor in German is ideal for myself in a personal and professional context,” states Julia.
“Aside for German, seeing Polish taught at UBC was truly a treat. Being raised on the language in an English-speaking environment, I was given the opportunity to improve my Polish on campus, whereas the only other possibility for doing so would be to live in Poland.”
Having enthusiastically dabbled in other language courses offered by CENES such as Danish, Julia continues to focus on the significance of maintaining both the German and Polish languages for professional purposes, while incorporating the diplomatic reasoning and leadership skills attained from the IR program.
Co-establishing UBC’s first European Union Club with the German Club, and taking on the Presidency of the UBC Polish Students’ Society, the small, albeit active student club won the bid to host the 2014 Quo Vadis Conference Series, an annual international youth leadership conference for post-secondary students and young professionals of Polish descent, where Julia is enthusiastic to apply the skills of diplomacy and language from her experience at UBC.
Alexandra Rosolska (International Relations major, Polish language student)
My name is Alexandra and I’m majoring in International Relations. The interdisciplinary nature of my major allows me to explore many courses, and the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies has allowed me to take advantage of that! Taking Polish 200 and Polish 300 presented me with an incredible opportunity working for the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Vancouver. There I was the Secretary to the Consul General and had I not have been exposed to CENES courses, would have missed out on a great experience that fits perfectly with my major.
I was responsible for many duties, including translations of official records in Polish and English, and even got to meet Bryan Adams’ mom!
The other courses I have taken at UBC within this department have enriched my knowledge of the cultural history of the peoples of Central, Eastern and Northern Europe. The amazing professors who I’ve had the privilege of being instructed by, have taught me to always follow my passions and this is the perfect place to do so.
I encourage anyone interested in the Polish language to take the introductory course, as the brilliant and welcoming professors will make it worthwhile.