David Beck, who graduated with a BA in Polish and History in April 2017, was the recipient of several awards from the Copernicus Center for Polish Studies, including the 2016-17 Excellence in Polish Language Award. Upon graduation, he shared some reflections on his experince studying Polish language in the Slavic Department at U-M.

"I am from a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Growing up I always heard about my Polish ancestors and the Old Country. Because of this I tried my hands at learning the Polish language when I had the chance. From my first moments struggling in class I knew that I was meant to learn Polish. It has been a struggle, and their have been times when I wanted to give it all up. But, no matter how frustrated I became, I always came back to give Polish another chance. People always ask me what sort of opportunities I have had by learning a not commonly taught language. They are always surprised when I tell them that I have received scholarships, awards, and other assistance to aid my studies and even to go to Poland, not once but two times. I am very grateful to all of my professors, the Copernicus Center for Polish Studies, the strong Polish community of the Ann Arbor area, and everyone who has helped me in any capacity to help me on my journey. My relationship with Polish has only just begun and I am excited to continue my life-long relationship with this language that I have come to love."

Good luck in your next adventure, David!