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Advice from alumni: Ewa Staworzynska

Ewa Staworzynksa from Norway attended EF Academy New York for her first year of the IB program. During that time, she represented her classmates as a Student Council member and fell in love with NYC. She is currently earning Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at NYU – at the same time – and is the editor-in-chief of a brand new economics magazine. Check out this Q&A and learn about her tips for current students and how she got to where she is now:


Full name: Ewa Staworzynksa

Age: 21

Home country: Norway

Languages: Norwegian, English, Polish and a little French

EF Academy campus: New York

Program: IB Year 1

Grad year: 2013, left EF Academy in 2012

Favorite club: Student Council

Favorite subject: Economics

University: NYU, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Master’s Degree in International Relations


Why did you decide to attend EF Academy?

I knew that I wanted to get out of Norway and experience something new, but I also really wanted to do the IB program – that was a crucial factor for me. EF Academy met both of those criteria, and since there was a campus in New York, it was a perfect fit for me.

What is your favorite EF Academy memory?

Going to Manhattan on Saturdays with my friends, shopping, strolling around and enjoying the city.

How would you describe the culture at EF Academy?

The culture at EF Academy was different than what I had experienced in Norway. The teachers at EF were genuine and really wanted to help us. Despite the fact that the IB had a heavy workload, they did their best to help us and support us whenever they could.

What did you find exciting and challenging about the IB program?

The exciting part is that you’re constantly challenged – it never stops. There’s a lot more work to do than in a normal high school program, so you have to be prepared to put in a lot of effort and time. The Extended Essay was probably the biggest challenge. It taught me to plan and conduct a long-term project.

What advice do you have for current students?

– Figure out what you want to do early. Start looking into universities early on and make sure that you’re taking the right classes for what you want to study.

– Enjoy the stay. Get to know as many people and cultures as possible.

What did you do as part of Student Council?

I was one of the student representatives and we met on a weekly basis to talk about student affairs and the relationship between the student body and school management. We tried to improve the food at the school and make sure everybody was happy. One of the big things we did was actually meet with the manager of the dining hall, so that we could improve the food services at EF Academy New York.

How did you choose your university and your program?

First of all, when you’re not an American and you want to study in the U.S., you have to apply to a lot of schools because they might not accept you because you’re not American. I applied to many schools, and I got into one in California and one in New York. NYU was the better fit. I like the city and the hustle and bustle. I applied to some schools in London too, but I fell in love with New York after studying at EF Academy, so it just felt right.

I started university thinking that I was going to focus on international relations, but I wanted to secure a job when I graduate and also have a stronger mathematical background, so I switched to economics. That’s the nice aspect of American universities: you can switch your major, unlike in many European universities. I’m enrolled in an accelerated program, so I’m earning my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at the same time. I will have my Bachelor’s Degree in economics in May 2017, and my Master’s Degree in international relations in May 2018.

Did you do any internships that benefited your studies or your career plan?

I’ve been working in real estate for the past 2 years, and I’ve learned a lot about negotiations, business relations and business strategy. It’s all been very helpful and I have enjoyed the work.

What is one thing you learned at EF Academy that prepared you for university? For your career? For your personal life?

Self-discipline and how to stay organized. I plan out my week and my tasks so that I can get through my to-do lists. That’s something I learned while I was at EF Academy, and it’s something I make use of now.

What is the accomplishment you are proudest of?

My biggest accomplishment is getting into NYU and starting an economics publication.

Tell me about the publication…

A few economics students and I started an economics journal, “The Economics Review at NYU”. We worked a whole year to get it approved and get funding, and we succeeded last fall. We printed the first issue in May and we’re going to print again this December. It’s very exciting; we have staff writers and editors and I lead that team as the editor-in-chief. We all get together to edit student-written articles on topics like economics, politics and international relations.

Check it out:

What is your dream for your future?

My dream is to have a challenging job in New York, live in a penthouse and just be genuinely happy about life.

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