NIU Today | NIU students learn lesson in Polish language and culture

Faculty and staff from the School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders (AHCD) were treated to a guest speaker when visiting scholar Rafal Mlynski from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland arrived on campus Sept. 12. Mlynski, a speech-language pathologist who is studying the speech-language skills of native Polish people who live in the Chicago area as well as the language characteristics of Polish-Ukrainian bilingual children, met with students in communicative disorders, speech-language pathology and audiology courses.

Professor Mlynski with a group of students from the College of Health and Human Sciences.

“Professor Mlynski gave a captivating lecture to our students about the Polish language and Polish culture,” said Milijana Buac, assistant professor of speech-language pathology at NIU. “Students were able to learn about the structure of the Polish language and common cultural practices . This information will allow our students to provide culturally and linguistically responsive speech-language pathology services to Polish-speaking clients.”

Buac said opportunities like this are important, especially because there is a large Polish population in Illinois.

“It is very likely that our students will encounter Polish-speaking patients in the future,” Buac said. “We are very grateful to Professor Mlynski for his time and the knowledge that he has shared with our students.”

King Chung, professor of audiology, previously met with Mlynski while at a conference in Poland. Chung was interested in creating a study abroad trip there, and Mlynski was integral in helping coordinate hearing health service sites for the trip.

As a result, Chung and a team of NIU audiology students will travel to Poland this November and in March 2023. It’s part of an NIU Heart of Hearing Humanitarian Research and Service Program trip where they will provide hearing health services to refugees and other underserved populations .

“It is great for our students to meet Dr. Mlynski before they go to Poland,” Chung said. “He provided valuable information on the audiology educational systems, hearing health services in Poland and taught simple Polish phrases that will be helpful.”

Chung said he also shared information about the history of Poland and Krakow, cultural practices, what to expect and what not to do there.

“Dr. Mlynski’s talks are very informative and the students showered him with their curious questions,” Chung said. “All in all, it was an excellent cultural awareness and exchange experience.”

Learn more about Allied Health and Communicative Disorders at NIU.

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