For people who are applying, I would start early. I started looking for my affiliation in March of 2018 and then got the Fulbright in March of 2019 so the whole application took me one year. Start early and talk to people from the city.
The particular area of research that I do which is bacteriophage research was founded here in Europe, specifically in Poland. It’s kind of monumental to come back to the same place where this type of research originated. I really enjoy the applicable nature of bacteriophage therapy and that was something that I was only able to get here in Poland.
I’m researching the Polish avant-garde playwright Stanisław Witkiewicz. I became very interested in bringing his plays that are not well-known in America to American audiences. I’m doing an adaptation of his 1920 play “Oni” into a modern English adaptation. My project is writing a show for a very traditional theater in Kraków and they love what I’m doing.
I study modern Eastern Europe and Poland. I chose Poland because of its unique history. It is a unique place, this crossroads of Europe, and a really amazing key study for a lot of the modern issues that people face today, such as migration and nation-building.
In Poland, not only is hospitality in general at a very high level but there’s also a very welcoming environment especially for a foreign American who is interested in Polish history, who is learning Polish and speaks Polish. It’s really a unique experience in the world to have someone say: ‘We’re so glad you’re here, whatever we can do to help, please let us know.’
I tried to just leave myself a lot of flexibility in what I wanted to do here so that I could just let things kind of happen organically. And it ended up working out because I’m working with a couple ensembles that I wasn’t sure I would be writing for before coming here.
My research is very much about Poland. I was really interested in Catholicism as a kind of culture-making institution in Poland. I decided to apply for a Fulbright because there weren’t any academic sources about contemporary exorcism. I got it and I am here.
I’ve been stationed in Krakow for the duration of my grant researching mosses, and I love it here! Poland has so much to offer. There’s beauty wherever you look.
I think that Fulbright has not only allowed me to learn more about myself as I currently am, but also learn more about what I want to do later in life, and where I want to go from here, and I think that’s the biggest blessing I could have been given.
It has been a few years since my Fellowship ended, but my immersion in Polish language, culture, and daily life has had a durable and meaningful effect on me as a person, educator, and scholar.