Polish International Student Brings Multiple Interests, Talents to NDA


Riley Guyette, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

For some students, moving to a new country for a year while leaving your family and friends behind might be difficult. 

This does not seem to be the case for Michal Budzanowski, a Polish international student who has joined the NDA community this year. 

Budzanowski was born in Cracow, Poland, but has lived most of his life in Warsaw, the capital of Poland. 

“I also travel a lot in Poland and other European countries, so I consider myself a citizen of the world, not just Poland,” he explained. 

Budzanowski is involved in numerous extracurricular activities. 

He spends a lot of time on “sports, fraternities and serving the community by organizing events.”

His love of sports was instilled in him by his father. 

“For as long as I can remember, we went running and swimming regularly as a family,” explained Budzanowski.

He is still active in both sports today and has become a lifeguard as of this year. 

“While I enjoy excelling myself in these sports, I also know how important team sports are to personal development,” he explained. “That’s why I committed to the physically and mentally challenging sport of fencing.” 

Budzanowski has been fencing for 11 years with four lessons every week and numerous weekends spent competing. 

All of this hard work has earned him many successes including 2nd place in the Warsaw championships. 

Despite all of these accomplishments, he claims that his most notable achievements are related to service to society. 

When he was 11 years old, Budzanowski volunteered to help set up a small family reunion his friend was hosting. 

“What I was not prepared for was the spark that was ignited in me – a passion to lead peers in creating worthwhile, inspiring and motivating events,” he said. 

Over the past five years, he has organized quarterly events ranging from exclusive dinners with 12 attendants to ticketed events for 500 people, all with some of the biggest changemakers in Poland. 

“Whether it’s inviting speakers, negotiating partnerships with sponsors, managing a 50-person team, organizing charity collections or other challenges, I am inspired by a love of serving the community through event organization,” he explained. 

Budzanowski considers moving to the United States in the future due to it being a much larger country with more opportunities to grow. 

This fact was what prompted him to sign up for a scholarship to study in the U.S. for a year. 

In terms of differences between Poland and Green Bay, Budzanowski claims that not much has changed. 

He explained, “I have not been to big cities like New York or Chicago yet, so I do not have any comparisons to Warsaw, but at the moment I have not experienced any drastic culture clash.”

For Budzanowski, the best part of Notre Dame has been the community. 

“The school is a school, some lessons are interesting, some are a bit boring, but what surprised me was the friendly atmosphere of the school community,” he claimed. “In Polish schools, most people are closed and not open to new experiences. I could say that people here are partly the opposite. Most people are positive and open to new experiences.” 

While he is excited to see his family and friends when he returns home, Budzanowski will miss the school, the community and the American culture. 

He states, “I can say now that when I return to Poland, I will have positive memories of this year because, for now, I am having a great time.”