Prize Giving Night at Macquarie University
On 9 May 2017 Macquarie University’s Department of International Studies: Languages and Cultures held its annual prize giving event, acknowledging the efforts of its highest achieving students across its broad diversity of disciplines. The Department owes its great popularity and uniqueness to its particular focus on intertwining the study of languages with the study of the cultures to which those languages belong. The strong relationship of the Department with international communities in Australia foregrounds the country’s fundamental belief in the value of multiculturalism and the social benefits it brings, whilst also fostering the ideals of diversity, inclusiveness and respect within the Australian context.
The award ceremony was opened and conducted by Associate Professor Ulrike Garde, Head of Department, who warmly welcomed the award recipients and guests. This event was particularly special as Consulate representatives, private donors and individual contributors presented awards and prizes to students for their outstanding achievements within their chosen discipline. The presence of the esteemed guests emphasizes their ongoing support for the delivery of the diverse range of language- and culture-related programs offered by the university, and also their active engagement in academic affairs.
The Polish Consul General, Madam Regina Jurkowska, graciously attended and presented the two awards for exceptional performance in Polish Studies. The first, The Krystyna Singler Prize for proficiency in Polish Studies, was awarded to Mrs Kylie Tymoszuk. The second, The Zygmunt Wszelaki Prize for proficiency in 300-level Polish units, was awarded to Ms Olivia Kappel. On behalf of the Department of International Studies, I wish to congratulate both students on their achievements and, encourage their further explorations of the Polish language and culture.
Academic success relies on the student’s perception that what they have learnt is either relevant to their own learning interests, or sufficiently beneficial in the pursuit of their own individual career pathways – and ideally both. Kylie has shown how a scientifically-inclined mind has enabled her to master the Polish linguistic system at syntactic and semantic levels, and conversely, how her engagement with the Polish language has sharpened her innately scientific ways of thinking. Olivia, on the other hand, has demonstrated how a linguistic curiosity can lead to excellence in academic literacy and critical analysis. By acquiring, developing and refining research skills, she has succeeded at raising the study of the Polish language to the level of advanced scholarship. The students themselves speak about the impact that Polish Studies has had on their individual learning.
“Learning the Polish language whilst studying a Bachelor of Science may seem like a strange equation, but actually, the two have more in common than one might first think.
I never intended to learn a language as part of my degree, but with the key scientific components of my course already under my belt, the flexible structure at Macquarie University allowed me to look further afield to round out my studies and so I undertook PLH120 Introductory Polish.It became apparent to me that there was something both quite logical and illogical about the process of learning a language, and this discrepancy appealed to my investigative and technical nature. I enjoyed learning the grammatical structure of the language and looked at each rule as a building block in which to methodically expand my knowledge. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules, but this systematic approach to the study of Polish allowed me to acquire my new language skills, little by little, therefore becoming more proficient each week which was very rewarding.
I may have applied a scientific mindset in order to learn Polish, however in return it has broadened my horizons to the power of learning outside the sphere of scientific endeavour that I’d become accustomed to over the past 7 years, and I feel it has added an extra dimension to my character both personally, academically and professionally”. – Kylie Tymoszuk
“I began Polish studies at Macquarie University following my most recent visit to my birthplace, Poznań, Poland. I have lived in Australia since I was one year old, but have many relatives and friends in Poland, who I visit every few years. During my last visit, I was particularly moved by the local culture and language of my ancestors. As a child, I was taught to speak Polish by my parents and grandparents, but over the years my language skills have dwindled due to lack of practice. I wanted to change that and decided to enrol in Polish Studies back home, in Sydney. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and found that I learned a lot more than just the language.
Dr Kamila Walker was an excellent teacher and I particularly enjoyed our one-on-one sessions, where we discussed ideas on Polish literary texts and history. She also provided me with expert guidance on literary analysis and furnished me with useful techniques in essay writing. My final research unit was challenging, but thoroughly enjoyable. My research involved a survey of the historical, cultural and economic significance of Poznań, which in retrospect enabled me to learn a great deal about my own cultural heritage. It also gave me the opportunity to become closer to my relatives, who were all very keen to impart wisdom and stories about our hometown.
Dr Walker encouraged and motivated me and I am very grateful for her support because as a result I developed good learning habits which allowed me to excel in my studies. I was honoured and humbled to receive the Zygmunt Wszelaki prize which the Polish Consul General, Regina Jurkowska, presented to me at the Department of International Studies award giving ceremony. I also received the Highest Achiever Award for three Polish Studies units, as well as the Faculty of Arts Highest Achiever Commendation.
Following my Bachelor of Arts degree, I have transitioned to the larger academic project of veterinary studies. Undertaking the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree has been a long-awaited aspiration of mine and I am currently participating in my first year at University of Sydney”. – Olivia Kappel
If you have an interest in learning Polish at Macquarie University, please visit Polish Studies at www.mq.edu.au. If you should still have any unanswered questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively by phone: (02) 9850-7014.
Dr Kamila Walker
Convenor of the Polish Studies Program