Center for Global Studies News

Illinois National Guard Learns Polish

3/21/2013  8:00 am

The Center for Global Studies and the Russian, East European & Eurasian Center are partnering to help Illinois National Guard Reserve troops learn Polish. Bi-lateral Embedded Support Teams (BEST) routinely deploy with the Polish military to provide logistical, operations, and intelligence support.  

CGS has provided several training sessions for Illinois National Guard troops deploying to Afghanistan. After one such session, a commanding officer of a BEST unit asked for training on Polish since the Illinois and Polish brigades work closely together. 

Alisha Kirchoff, Associate Director of REEEC, offered the assistance of their Polish instructor, graduate student Jack Hutchins, and undergraduate student, Mat Jasieniecki , an Army veteran who served in Iraq. The two REEEC students paired up to provide introductory language training and background information on Polish history and culture. 

The first training session was in Marseilles, Illinois, on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3. It was so enthusiastically received that the instructors were asked to come back again for drill weekend in March, and the Illinois National Guard would like to see the program continue.

Mat Jasieniecki wrote about the experience for REEEC's e-newsletter/blog