This summer I will be interning at culture.pl at the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw, Poland. The Institute (IAM) itself was established by the Polish Ministry of Culture for promoting Polish language and culture abroad through a variety of different mediums, including digital media, print journalism, and events. This summer, in addition to helping write content for the website, I will contribute to the development of the Institute’s podcast, Stories from the Eastern West. This podcast will generally focus on Polish history and culture, but it also will focus on stories from elsewhere in Eastern Europe. In general, people seem to know very little about this historical and fascinating region and it is our goal to promote this region through a (supposedly) trending medium of communication.
Most of the work I’ve done so far has involved historical research and compilation/organization of material for the podcast. This is particularly interesting for me as I am studying history at Michigan and I finally am able to utilize many of the skills I have been acquiring for two years in the classroom. The work environment is incredibly relaxed and collaborative, which is quite helpful for the podcast, as it is group project. Besides research, I’ve also been able to interview people for two of our episodes: the Palace of Culture and Science (look it up if you want to see the epitome of Stalinist excess) and Esperanto (an international and artificial auxiliary language created in Poland).
I chose this internship partly because I am fascinated with this part of world and partly because it presented me with an opportunity to perform research in a topic I’m passionate about. I’ve already learned quite a bit about Poland and the Polish language, though it will take some time to become truly conservational. I must say that I haven’t established any concrete goals nor do I have any particular expectations for this internship. I will say, however, that what makes this internship so exciting, as well as challenging, is that I will have the opportunity to contribute to open-ended project for three months. The success of the project does, to a certain extent, rely on how well I perform. Yet, as I said, this responsibility is incredibly exciting and I can say with complete confidence that I will grow both personally and professionally during my time here.