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Polish is a Western Slavic language spoken by approximately 38 million people within Poland. Polish speakers can also be found throughout the globe, especially in hubs of the Polish diaspora such as Chicago, London and New York. Polish uses a Latin-based alphabet with diacritics on certain consonants and vowels. Most Polish vocabulary is derived from common Slavic roots shared by all Slavic languages.

Why Study Polish at Carolina?

  • You’ll have 50 million potential new friends. There are over 50 million Polish speakers around the world, both in Poland and abroad. The United States alone is home to about 580,000 Polish speakers.
  • You’ll position yourself to better understand Europe’s complex past and present. Poland’s political history and location at Europe’s crossroads make it a unique vantage point for understanding the formative events and processes that produced our world: the two World Wars, the project of state socialism, and the post-socialist transition to democracy. From the mazurkas of Polish composer Frédéric Chopin to the experimental novels of recent Nobel laureate Olga Tokarczuk to the engrossing game series The Witcher, Polish culture is a portal into an exciting new world.
  • You can access other Slavic languages via Polish. Polish is a gateway into all Slavic languages. Common sounds, sentence structures, grammatical rules and cognates shared among Slavic languages will give any Polish speaker a head start when they embark on learning Czech, Slovakian, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Ukrainian or Russian.
  • You’ll pave the way for career opportunities in our globally networked world. Did you know that bilingual employees on average collect higher earnings? Research has shown that people who speak more than one language earn 5-20% more than monolinguals. Employees with multiple languages under their belts can nurture international business relations and expand the intellectual horizons of a workplace. Polish proficiency contributes to a professional toolkit relevant to careers in public policy, international relations, culture, education, business and IT.
  • You can study Abroad in Poland. Anyone with ambitions to study abroad in Europe should consider Poland. Carolina offers study abroad opportunities in the historical city of Krakow. Our institutional partnership with Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań provides a natural bridge to the bustling world of contemporary Poland. For students nearing the end of their time at Carolina and contemplating next steps, our faculty can direct you toward fellowship opportunities and graduate programs in Poland.

Polish Faculty Contact Information


Dr. Agnieszka Majewska, Visiting Lecturer in Polish (
Dr. Eliza Rose, Assistant Professor and Laszlo Birinyi Sr. Fellow in Central European Studies (