Meet Me in a Minute International Week: Julia Gladysz

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Meet Me in a Minute International Week: Julia Gladysz

By Grace Geraghty

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Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of 10 stories in celebration of International Week.

Over 20 years ago, the parents of sophomore Julia Gladysz fled Poland from the approaching Russian communists with only one bag each. Since then, they have settled down in Skokie with Julia and her older sister, and have made sure to pass on knowledge of their Polish roots to their children.

“I think that it is very important that my parents passed this awareness down onto me,” Julia said. “Without my culture I definitely would not be the same person I am today.”

That awareness has shaped every aspect of Julia’s everyday life.

“My culture shapes everything everything in my everyday life from the food I eat, to the activities I do, and the countries I travel to,” Julia said.

The impact of Polish culture on Julia’s life doesn’t end there. She also attends weekly lessons at a Polish school to interact with other members of the young Polish community.

“In order to stay in touch with my Polish culture I go to Polish school every Saturday,” Julia said. “We learn about Polish history, grammar, and language.”

Julia would recommend this cultural awareness to everybody else, as well.

“I believe that is crucial for everyone to be familiar with their cultures. It is a part of who you are, and you can’t change that. Embracing your culture will make you more connected with yourself,” she said.

Julia can’t imagine a time when her culture doesn’t impact her life, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.