Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies
I am Lukasz, a Senior and an international student from Poznan, Poland at St. Lawrence University. In the second semester of my Freshmen Year I went to the Global Francophone Cultures (GFC) Program which inspired me to major in Global Studies and to minor in European Studies. While in the high school, I learned for the first time about St. Lawrence from the information brochure of the Center for International and Intercultural Studies. Studying abroad jumped on the first position of the things I would like to do while in college. And, it came so soon - in my Freshmen Year. The experience and people I met - have opened my eyes to many issues and helped me to go beyond myself, my past misconceptions, and stereotypes. The First Year Seminar I took in France used that country as an "open book" from which we learned every day about Joan d'Arc, Claude Monet, and Gustave Flaubert - the main topics of our Seminar.
Three continents, three countries: Canada, France, and Senegal, 16 students, and interesting and carrying faculties - these are the first words to describe my Spring semester of 2010. In fact, there are not enough words to say about everything we have seen and what we experienced there:
First, Quebec City that warmed us up with putine (French fries and gravy), unique culture, and the skills in French we were gaining there every day - that made us able to communicate since our first day in France.
Whoever went once to Rouen, wants to come back again to the Rue du Gros Horloge, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Vielle Marche. Learning in the GFC Program takes its place both inside and outside the classroom, but the most important "class" takes its place daily next to the table. Having the great pleasure of living with The Quenehen Family, I could see the world, politics, global and local issues, through their eyes. They introduced me to the French music, literature, cycling roads, and their lifestyle and Family. They become more than the hosts, they become my Friends.
In Senegal, we experienced "teranga" [Wolof: hospitality] on every step of our journey, when meeting with local people, playing with children, eating delicious meals, and trying to speak Wolof - brought always so much fun and pleasure.
During my Program I had a chance to do a research about Frederic Chopin, a Polish composer who spent his adult life in France. The Enrichment Grant - Sol Feinstone Award, helped me to visit and see places in which Chopin lived and composed - what evolved into a thesis for my European Studies Minor.
These three months have flown very fast, as every best moments of our life, but forever they change my friends and me, they shaped us towards the future academic and professional life.
Now, as a Peer Advisor at the CIIS Office I am looking forward to meet with You and share my experience about studying abroad!
Lukasz W. Niparko