What was I thinking? Kashubian ethno-philology in the eyes of female graduates

We invite you to read a new series of graduate stories. It features those who chose their field of study by choice, passion or chance. Today we present the graduates of Kashubian Ethnophilology. Recruitment for this course will end on September 14.

Paulina Węsierska

It all started thanks to the village that brought me up, thanks to my great-grandmother by whose side I used to spend my holidays and winter breaks, thanks to my family, friends, neighbours, teachers, the environment that has shaped me and still shapes me, and most of all thanks to everything that has never been an accident.

Through single words with pictures in the second grade, the first time I saw 'Kaszëbsczé nótë' at the school assembly, dancing 'Òkrąc sã wkół' with the most handsome boy from my class, painting on glass, weaving and pouring clay during extracurricular activities, up to 10-year adventure with Kashubian Song and Dance Ensemble ‘Sierakowice’. After graduating from high school it was time to ‘jic na wësoczé szkòłë’. Kashubian Ethnophilology was on the third, or last, place in my ranking. At that time, my plan for life looked completely different... Applied linguistics, a lot of German and English. They said I had a head for languages and I should go in that direction. Was it really so? Full of doubts and fears, I went on an anxious journey to my first class. I was late! Professor Marek Cybulski, however, invited me into the hall with a smile and presented me with a dialect text from Sychta's dictionary. I looked and here were hieroglyphs... At the break: Who is Majkowski? Is he some character from some ‘Żëcé...’ or something? Disaster! I quickly decided to run away. I looked for help in the Dean's Office (I think). I met a certain lady there who calmed me down, suggested that I should wait a while longer, get used to the new situation, give myself time. If I met her today, I would shout (as loudly as I could, and experience shows that I really can) ‘THANK YOU’ and give her the biggest hug. I stayed. However, this story, which you can read here, is just one word of a richly woven tale...

After graduation, I worked as a Kashubian language teacher at ‘Fregata’ Girls School in Gdańsk. I coordinated the work of the Kashubian Song and Dance Ensemble ‘Sierakowice’. I also worked at the Head Office of the Kashubian-Pomeranian Association. Currently, together with Piotr Pastalenc, we are preparing the programme ‘Kaszëbsczi dlô dozdrzeniałëch’. This year, for the third time, I led the Kashubian language classes during the Summer School of Kashubian Language, History and Culture. I translated a children's book into Kashubian entitled ‘ABC Ekònomii. Pierszé kroczi w swiece dëtków’. The monthly magazine ‘Pomerania’ published lesson scenarios of which I was the author, a series called ‘To dało gromadã smiéchù’ based on anecdotes from Father B. Sychta's dictionary and games for children. I also prepared subtitles for the programme ‘Farwë Kaszëb’. I do translations of various texts into Kashubian. My activities are mainly focused on the Kashubian language, Kashubian dances, songs and music in general, I run language courses, dance workshops in schools and other institutions for children, teenagers and adults. No work? I will not believe it!

Dorota Miszewska

Before I got there, I was a technical student at a completely different university. I struggled with my thoughts for a long time, but I knew that this was not what I wanted to do. I spontaneously took my papers from the university, not knowing what I would study next or if I would study at all. I started browsing through the majors of many universities, and one name caught my eye - Kashubian Ethnophilology. I enrolled in ethno because I come from a family where Kashubian was always spoken, I got accepted and now I am a graduate of this faculty.

Thanks to many hours of practical training in Kashubian language, didactics and professional approach of lecturers, I am now a primary school teacher. It was the best decision of my life. Thanks to ethno-philology, I met many wonderful people who made me curious about exploring Kashubia.

Katarzyna Raczyńska - Plichta

I stumbled upon this major by accident. I was studying ethnology at the University of Gdańsk and had other plans for the future. Faraway travels, studying non-European cultures and warmer climate. That was until my master's studies when I went on a field research trip and the problem of transcribing an interview arose... and what does that mean? And this is a normal word in Polish? The only feedback I got was that this word comes from the Kashubian language and this is the only way parts of fishing equipment were called by this respondent. What to do about it? I gave up and did another interview, all the time telling myself that Kashubian is not what I was looking for. Until now... The wedding is coming and most of my husband's family often speaks Kashubian in casual conversation. Of course, from the context of the statement you can guess what the meaning is, BUT what did the word mean! This particular strange sounding word! It was the right impulse to throw myself into the abyss of Kashubian and learn to speak Kashubian.

During my studies, I started working in a primary school in Wejherowo. Later I moved a bit closer and worked as a Kashubian language teacher at the Christian Montessori School in Gdańsk. Thanks to this course of studies I realized that it is possible to perfectly combine passion (which I did not know) with professional work.

Karolina Weber

I am from outside Pomerania, more precisely from Kutno in Łódzkie Voivodeship. I got into ethno by accident or maybe it was my destiny. I wanted to go on a completely different course, but having found out about the deadlines for submitting documents, which I didn't meet, I went to ethno in order to wait for one semester. And that's how I graduated. I stayed, becoming more fascinated with Kashubian with each passing day. It had to be like that!

After graduation, I immediately found a job at a primary school as a teacher of the Kashubian language. But my heart was stolen by Maria Montessori pedagogy. I use this method every day. Currently, I teach the Kashubian language, my own Kashubian history and culture. I am also a special educator, as well as a teacher of grades 4-6 in Sopot Montessori School. Every day I try to fill the space of our school community with Kashubian language and Kashubian culture and history.

In my free time, I do photo modelling, cooperate with various shops and promote their products. I also managed to publish a few poems in Stegna, an attachment to Pomerania monthly. I am still writing and who knows what I will manage to do with it in the future.

Graduates of Kashubian Ethnophilology
Zrzeszenie Kaszubsko - Pomorskie / MNG / Press Office UG