I am Łukasz W. Niparko, a European Studies minor originally from Poznań, Poland. Being in the European Studies Program at St. Lawrence University means a lot to me: I am a European, but here at SLU I can open my eyes to issues never discussed back home, and gain new perspectives that are totally “outside the box.” The program itself is diverse and includes a variety of courses from Art through History, as well as opportunities to include study abroad. In this minor, I am exploring the history of the Holocaust, which has introduced me to questions and topics that are never discussed in Poland’s schools and universities. In my Survey of Art course, I explored the world of European Art and became able to look at things I have seen since my childhood during trips with parents and friends in a totally different way – I am able to appreciate them more.
I participated in the Global Francophone Cultures Program that took me to France in the spring of 2010. It was a unique experience to have my First Year Seminar in the beautiful town of Rouen, where I followed in “The Footsteps of the Heretics” of Normandy: Joan of Arc, Gustave Flaubert, and Claude Monet – by being actually in the places where they lived. On the top of that, I could also immerse myself in French culture and language. While there, I conducted research on Frederic Chopin during the 200th anniversary of his birth as part of a travel enrichment grant (the Sol Feinstone International Award). Thanks to this grant I could see places connected to Chopin in France and in my homeland, Poland. Now, I am preparing to pursue my capstone project in European Studies.
To conclude, it is a great adventure to be a European in the European Studies program – during the academic year I explore the theory, during summers and while studying abroad the praxis. I know that thanks to this experience I have been enriching myself as a citizen of Europe, but also as an aware citizen of the world. Through this etic exploration, my European paradigms have changed and I feel much more confident in answering the questions of other students about Europe and Poland, as well as sharing this knowledge back home.