Julia Dickenson is currently the only Fulbright U.S. grantee who was able to return to Poland on a grant renewal in 2020. Julia is an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) at the University of Opole where she teaches English at the Institute of Environmental Engineering and Biotechnology as well as at the Interdisciplinary Lab for Social Space and Art. She is also a guest English teacher at a local high school. Julia has recently been interviewed by one of her high-school students, Wiktoria Przeliorz. We encourage you to read this interview to learn more about Julia’s work and her Fulbright experience in Poland.
On December 4th, I had the pleasure to conduct an interview with Julia Dickenson. Julia is an American living in Opole. We met in October 2019 because of Ms. Alicja Wujec-Kaczmarek who is my high-school English teacher. At that time, Julia was a university student and she was coming to our classes to teach us about English language and American culture. It was a good time to learn something new and also importantly, to practise our English but I am not here to write about this but write about Julia – an American woman living in Poland.
Julia is from Nashville, located in the state of Tennessee. She came to Poland in August 2019 after graduating from college with a degree in biology and psychology. When she goes back to the US, she plans to go to medical school. When I heard that, the first thing that came to my mind was, “It sounds hard,” only because I am a very linguistic-oriented person and these plans sound impossible to me. I asked Julia what she is doing in Poland to which she responded “I am teaching English and also this year while I am here, my friends are trying to teach me some Polish, so test me later.”
When I asked her how she found out about Poland and why she decided to come here, Julia said that in the final year of her bachelor’s program, she started to look into some different education-related options for a sort of a “gap year” that involved living outside of the US. Julia got interested in teaching and education during her undergraduate studies, when she taught a course for the medical school admissions test to students who wanted to apply to medical school. She was teaching subjects such as biology, psychology, as well as physics and critical reading skills. All this led her to the Fulbright Program. She applied to Poland because the application requirements specified that they were looking for people with a science background to teach at the university level plus Poland seemed to have a great geographical location and interesting history and culture. “I didn’t know too much about Poland until I got here and learned firsthand. But now I love this place and it’s like a second home to me,” Julia said.