TAS Testimonials

Adam Zmarzlinski

Adam Zmarzlinski

November 2010: It was an unusual fall day in the small city of Krakow; a warm breeze blew in from the north and the cornucopia of vibrant colors in the tree tops resembled something out of Claude Monet's Seasons collection. I sat on a bench in Krakow's market square, surrounded by the breathtaking 13th century St. Mary's Basilica, numerous children feeding hundreds of the cities pigeons and the magnificent Cloth Hall, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. I was enjoying the moment, oblivious to the fact that the two years of my Master's program at Jagiellonian University, one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious academies, were slowly coming to an end.

And what a glorious two years it had been. With the guidance of Prof. Garry Robson, Prof. Patrick Vaughan and Prof. Christopher Reeves, I was not only blooming academically but practically. The scholarly attention to detail, intensive research-workshops and enlightening lectures, coupled with professionalism of the faculty and office staff, made the Transatlantic Studies Program a perfect fit for what I was look for: a practical, world class student-focused challenge to prepare me for the working world ahead.November 2010: It was an unusual fall day in the small city of Krakow; a warm breeze blew in from the north and the cornucopia of vibrant colors in the tree tops resembled something out of Claude Monet's Seasons collection. I sat on a bench in Krakow's market square, surrounded by the breathtaking 13th century St. Mary's Basilica, numerous children feeding hundreds of the cities pigeons and the magnificent Cloth Hall, a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. I was enjoying the moment, oblivious to the fact that the two years of my Master's program at Jagiellonian University, one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious academies, were slowly coming to an end.

What the program offered academically and practically, it doubled in terms of networking. Having met students from all parts of the world, from Venezuela to Norway, from Germany to Nigeria and a dozen students from the United States, my intellectual scope widened and the personal and professional relationships I made continue to grow.

The location of the program had a huge impact on my decision. While it may sound trivial, Poland's location is ideal for those who wish to travel, or do some self-motivated research—in my case, Europe's (at the time) only breakaway region of Transnistria, for Prof. Wojciech Michnik's wonderful class on Central European Transatlantic Relations. Krakow is also home to numerous organizations such as Google, The Wisława Szymborska Foundation, Amnesty International and The Center for Political Thought, to name a few. So for those interested in expanding their horizons beyond the program, the opportunities are boundless.

I can say with confidence that UJ's Transatlantic Studies Program was a right choice for me. I use the skills gained during my tenure with the program nearly every day, be it professionally in day to day work at the office of Illinois State Senator Christine Radogno or as part of my personal writing ventures. The confidence and contagious motivation from the faculty has inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. in Slavic Studies at University of Illinois. I suggest that if you have any further questions, you should contact the great people working at the TAS program for additional information.

Clinton Tallman

Clinton Tallman

January 15, 2015 (La Porte, IN, USA) Clinton J. Tallman (Class of 2012)

It was always a goal of mine to attain a degree outside of the United States. I worked for several years after completing my undergrad before actively searching for Masters Programs that offered the curriculum I was looking for. The TAS program at Jagiellonian presented courses that perfectly matched my interest in regional politics, history, and culture. Having graduated from TAS in 2012, I continue to encourage others to consider Jagiellonian when they begin looking at graduate schools. The most important aspect of the program for me was the quality of the professors. They challenge you intellectually and help you better understand complex ideas, in addition to being mentors and friends who inspire you to achieve your very best. Enrolling in the TAS program in Krakow was truly one of the most important decisions I've ever made.

The summer after I graduated I started working at The La Lumiere School in La Porte, Indiana, where I teach government and economics to high school students. Recently, in an independent report, La Lumiere was ranked number two in the state for private boarding schools. Every summer we take about twenty students to Prague, Czech Republic for an academic trip focused on Central European history and culture. My wife is Czech and our son was born in Jablonec Nad Nisou this past July. In the future I hope to be able to bring students to Krakow to visit my old stomping grounds.

Tshego Setilo

Tshego Setilo

I had a great and memorable experience as a TAS student. The programme has broadened my knowledge and I really enjoyed it very much. What I enjoyed the most was the interactive sessions with my fellow classmates and lecturers; the materials lecturers provided for us were also valuable because I have gained so much information about transatlantic issues. The ever smiling administrator, Iwona, and the professors also contributed to making my experience a great one. Iwona would really go an extra mile to assist me with anything I needed. 

My TAS qualification has really opened a lot of doors for me as I am currently working as a programme manager for the University Preparation Programme at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa and will also be enrolling for my doctoral studies soon. The programme and living in Poland has changed my life immensely and I would highly recommend it to anyone who would like to study in Krakow (a very beautiful city)!!

Jacqueline Friedl

The TAS experience is a collection of adventures that starts in the classroom and ends in the pub with people you just met who become your best friends. From classroom conversations about the social context of Frankenstein to debates about the political stability of Eurasia, the TAS program is suitable for anyone who has the ambition to learn more and challenge their understanding of the world. Classroom discussions are sometimes drowned out by an uproar of chatter from the main square, but that only stirs more curiosity about your surrounding area. Krakow is rich in cultural heritage and a melting pot of tourists, businessmen, students, locals, and foreigners. After-class activities with fellow students provide the chance to embrace different cultures, traditions, and opinions, as well as the time to fall into the whirlwind that is Polish culture. My TAS experience could not have been substituted by any other location, group of professors, students, and circle friends and acquaintances. During my two years in Krakow, I witnessed a society and a European identity that I was very unfamiliar with and found myself enjoying the challenges of everyday living. I was able to test my patience while struggling to understand non-native English speakers (and while struggling to communicate thoroughly in my conversational Polish). I was also able to practice the art of "effective" communication.

The lessons learned through my frustrations and successes in Krakow are carried with me today as I face the unpredictable future of "Energy Efficiency" and "Economic Sustainability". Through all the people I met, I developed the skills to empathize and dismiss conventionalities, allowing me to think way "outside the box". 

This has proven beneficial in my daily tasks at the Energy Center of Wisconsin, administering and developing programs related to energy efficiency in the Chicago real-estate and commercial market.

Danielle Piatkiewicz

Danielle Piatkiewicz

I came across the TAS Program while attending a summer language and culture program at Jagiellonian University, I instantly fell in love with Krakow and the university and wanted to find a way to extend my stay. The TAS program not only fulfielled my desire to live in Krakow but it offered an array of internationally diverse classes, faculty and students. I found the classes to be challenging and thought provoking especially with the intimate and small scale of our classes. The professors encuraged us to engage in debate with our fellow classmates but also them, this led to some very lively classes and discussion in and outside the classroom. In particular, I really enjoyed the supplementary classes, these were additional courses that complemented our core TAS curriculum- these classes incorporated a variety of topics using media, literature and temporary issues by connecting them to a transatlantic concepts. I also relly enjoyed the thesis writing process, the professors served as wonderful guides and encuraged us to really dive into the topic and material. My thesis process was very personally and professionally rewarding as I later published it with an academic publishing company. Overall the TAS Program gave me the tools and condifence to engage in transatlantic issues and I very much value the time and the relationships I made during my time in the program.

Current profession and location:

I currently work at an international think tank, the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). GMF is an organization that seeks to strengthen transatlantic cooperation on regional, national, and global challenges and opportunities in the spirit of the Marshall Plan. I specifically work on the Wider Atlantic and Asia program which takes a more comprehensive approach to US and EU relations beyond the traditional Transatlantic approach where I do a mix of research and analysis but also organize events for our debates and discussions on the topic.