David Street is a first-year student in journalism and communication. He grew up in Alaska, speaks three languages fluently and loves working in radio. We met in the student lounge, where he told me about why he prefers Wrocław to New York.
Why did you decide to live in Poland?
I had seen films by Andrzej Wajda and read books by Stanislaw Lem before I came here, so I think I was influenced by Polish pop culture. My first trip to Poland during a long holiday was a memorable experience. I had learnt Polish basics like “How do you do?” and I visited several places such as Lodz and Warsaw. One day I woke up and thought I’d like to live in Poland. It wasn’t one of those well thought out choices, but I don’t regret it. I’m really happy that I’m able to live in Poland.
What do you like the most about it?
I’m still surprised by the curiosity of people here – the majority of Americans live in the same houses and states for years. They know that the US and american culture have an outsized influence in the world so a lot don’t see any point in exploring outside of that. Of course they take trips, but usually the destinations are well-known capitals like Paris or London. To see more, you’d have to get off the beaten path, do more planning, maybe learn some of the language. Most Americans don’t go to all that trouble.
What did your beginnings in Poland look like?
I didn’t speak polish fluently at the beginning, so it was hard, but I kept trying and that was important. I perceive living abroad as an adventure, where I can visit wonderful places and meet interesting people.
What kind of places have made an impression on you?
I come from a small city in Alaska so I’m keen on places where the pace of life is slower than, for instance, in New York. I’m really impressed by Wrocław because of the fact that not only has it has been influenced by the Czechs, Austrians and Germans, who all left behind some great monuments, but at the same time it seems really modern. I feel good here.
Apart from Polish and English you speak French fluently. When did you start learning it?
Actually French was the most difficult to learn because I studied it first, before Polish. I remembered some things from high school, but I had to do a lot of work before I could speak it comfortably. Now I know when studying languages what is most important, how to study and practice, etc. When I had gotten better with French, I felt comfortable enough to go abroad.
You have a Bachelor of Science in engineering from the University of Virginia. Why did you choose to study journalism and communication at SWPS University?
While I was learning French I realized that I’m passionate about languages in general. After my studies I worked as an engineer, but I didn’t feel comfortable in the industry. I thought journalism would be a good place for me, because I’m curious about everything, and I like radio work and writing. I wanted to study abroad so I applied for this university.
You work at Radio Luz, which is run by students at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology. What exactly are you doing there?
Every Saturday I host an international press review programme in English, called “LUZpapers”. We pick various topics to cover and then have an open discussion about them.
How do you feel as a radio host?
It gives me a lot of possibilities, every show I learn something new. I think more about the way I sound and what I say. I feel much more confident when I have to speak to a microphone. I’d like to work in radio in the future, it’s a lot of fun.
A movie called “The Golden Dream” directed by Diego Quemada-Diez moved me. It’s about a journey to United States to make the American Dream come true. What does it look like in the reality?
People in America like to think that working in this country is like a dream come true. Unfortunately, there is of course poverty, which is even more visible than in Europe. Ordinary Americans earn more than most Europeans, but it doesn’t change the fact that poverty is surprisingly easy to see in such a rich country. Our education system is weak in several ways, especially when it comes to learning languages. Relatively few people are able to speak languages other than their mother tongue and it can hard to check students’ knowledge, because there are no graduation exams like the Matura in Poland.
Would you like to stay in here for long time?
I think so, because there is still a lot left to see and learn. I have seen beautiful places like the Bieszczady mountains, but I’d like to go to see Mazury lake region, for example. And Wrocław is a special place for me, this city really has a lovely vibe. It feels like home, so at the moment I can’t see myself leaving anytime soon.