College is said to be a time of many new experiences. I always hoped that one of my new experiences would include my first time travelling abroad. Last winter as a transfer student finishing up my junior year, I had nearly given up hope, until my Polish teacher encouraged me to apply to the Copernicus Program’s Summer Scholarship. In what felt like a second later, I was on a plane landing in Warsaw in a state of disbelief.

After spending two weeks with my family in Warsaw and Gdańsk, I travelled to Poznań where I began my Polish language program at Adam Mickiewicz University. I was riddled with anxiety wondering how I would navigate through my time in Poznań with only a beginner’s knowledge of Polish. However, I soon realized I was going to learn the most on my trip from being out of my comfort zone, so I began to embrace it. After being nervous upon learning my course would be conducted exclusively in Polish, I quickly found the course to be a great learning environment that ended up preparing me well for my current third-year Polish course.

As one of the few native English speakers in the program, I also found myself out of my comfort zone when trying to communicate with other students in the program. However, this too became a great learning opportunity as we had to use our common language, Polish. Additionally, I returned home having made many new friends who expressed that if I visited their home cities of Berlin, Istanbul, etc., that I would have someone waiting there to welcome me.

A group photo on a weekend trip to Giecz, Gniezno, and Ostrów Lednicki