Why Study Polish?

Polish is the most commonly spoken Slavic language of the European Union and the second largest Slavic language in the world, with over 50 million users across the globe. Polish culture has a remarkably rich tradition, shaped by a millennium of artistic and intellectual innovation as well as struggles for political, social, and cultural independence. Poland survived the two world wars and half a century of communist rule to emerge as a regional leader in East-Central Europe, the fastest-growing economy in the EU, and home to one of the most vibrant cultural scenes in the world. Polish diaspora counts among the largest in the world with major concentrations in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, and France.

The Polish major offers courses in the Polish language, literature, culture, politics, and one of the most intricate, fascinating histories in Europe, providing the knowledge and skills for successful careers in business, politics, diplomacy, arts, translation, international law, environmental science, journalism, national security, tourism, and cultural services.

Pictured is the market square in the old town of Kraków. The two prominent towers belong to St. Mary’s Church and demonstrate the architecture of old polish buildings.

Digital Storytelling: The Polish-American Experience

Over the past semester students in our Polish-American Experience course have created digital storytelling projects that highlight Polish migration to the Americas. Check out several of these projects below to learn more about the long rich history of Polish migration in both United States and the Americas as well as the meaningful work you can take part in as Polish major at UW.

Lapinski Scholarship Opportunity

This scholarship is available to undergraduate students currently enrolled at UW-Madison who will be continuing in UW-Madison in the next academic year or for graduate students entering into UW-Madison or continuing in a UW-Madison graduate program. The Lapinski Scholarship provides money for UW-Madison tuition for students studying Polish language, literature and culture. The annual deadline is on or around March 1. For additional information on this scholarship, please visit our Lapinski Scholarship Application Information page.

For more information on the Polish Language and Culture Program, please contact Professor Ewa Miernowska.

Pictured above is Ogrodzieniec Castle. The castle is a ruined medieval castle in the semi-mountainous highland region called the Polish Jura in south-central Poland.

Alumni Stories

Hear from some of our alumni and students on why you should study Polish at UW Madison!