In fact, teaching on Fulbright in Poland was immensely valuable to me and my family.
Let me try to sum up:
The opportunity to teach and collaborate with colleagues at Warsaw University in Spring semester 2013 as Distinguished Fulbright Chair of Slavic Studies was gratifying and worthwhile for a number of reasons:
- Interacting with students on the undergraduate and master’s level and with colleagues helped me understand the European university system, so different from the American system.
- Living in a vibrant world-class city broadened my views and offered many cultural experiences, including theater, museum and exhibit visits, as well as concerts, film festivals, etc. I wrote about my experiences on my blog and I have developed that aspect of my writing career — writing for the public.
- Reviving my graduate school interest in and knowledge of Polish language was really fun and will prove useful in my career in future. I was able to confidently state that the whole city was my conversation partner, as I worked on my speaking and comprehension skills.
- The Studium Europy Wschodniej in particular was fascinating; I interacted with students from across the region and I was able to deepen my knowledge of countries of the former Soviet Union and Soviet bloc in comparative ways. I learned a lot from my undergraduates, most of whom were from Warsaw, about the city, its history, the views of young people on Polish and European 20th-century events.
- I continue to maintain contacts with M.A. students (who have now graduated), especially due to the war in Ukraine. I have worked on learning Ukrainian in order to read, translate, and publish the writings of one of my former students; I continue to follow their careers.
In addition, I am maintaining contacts with faculty, especially from the Collegium Artes Liberales, where I have participated in skype conferences and will visit on a two-week residency in May 2015.
- Personally, my family has also benefited greatly from the Fulbright Program. My husband researched an article and taught at the American Studies Center at the University of Warsaw, where he met terrific colleagues; my children learned some Polish and French, as well as how to negotiate a large urban environment independently, and are now applying their knowledge and experience in their high school studies in the U.S.
- Traveling across Poland and in Europe, including attending the Fulbright Conference in Berlin, gave me a chance to meet new colleagues, with whom I managed to stay in touch and compare experiences.
Participating in the Fulbright Program in Poland was a great experience, and it seems to deepen in significance as time goes by.
Prof. Angela Brintlinger served as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Slavic Studies at the University of Warsaw in Spring 2013.