CHINYI CHEN
June 17, 2017
VALTER ANTONIO DA SILVA
June 17, 2017

ELZBIETA KUBOK

“I am originally from Poland – born into its communist past. I left my country 13 years ago to live in multiple places in varying capacities. I left not because I was searching for a better life, but rather out of curiosity – I wanted to travel and experience other cultures and living abroad. In fact, as I was packing my bags, Poland became a member of the European Union, which set off a chain of positive changes to the quality of life.

The first stop on my voyage was Colorado, where I was a high school exchange student. Following my first taste for education in a foreign language, I went to the University of Stirling in Scotland to study international politics. Afterwards, I went on to obtain a Masters in Human Rights at University College London (UCL). I spent four years living in Brussels working in the European Institutions bubble, discovering my strong belief in the European Union’s mission, that Europe was stronger together. The diverse fabric of European culture and the integration project not only kept my Polish generation safe from conflict and war, but also made the European continent an example for sustainable collaboration.

My first job in Brussels was at the Cabinet of the President of the European Parliament; the President was a former Solidarnosc activist and former Prime Minister of Poland. I later worked for European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, which united music professionals from 28 European countries.

For many in Europe, working and studying in other European countries is seen more along the lines of temporary expatriation, rather than immigration. The semantics of the word ‘immigrant’ are complicated and don’t always have positive connotation of ‘expat.’ I have always wondered why refugees are not simply referred to as expats.

I am an immigrant in the United States with a green card, working with a fulfilling job. I love to travel the world and I thrive on getting to know people who are different than me. This is the simple story of why I left Poland and my journey in the diaspora; my reasons for making a life in the U.S. are another story, and will become commonplace as future generations increasingly study abroad.”

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