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 Krystyna i Aleksander Bytof oraz Magdalena Szymańska

Krystyna Bytof, Aleksander Bytof and Magdalena Szymańska photography by B. Ostrowska

Magdalena Szymańska

My first destination for emigration was the United States. I left for the USA after completing my fourth year of university in 2004. I wanted to combine studying sociology with professional sports – track and field. I found a university in New York that offered me a scholarship. I felt uneasy at first, but everything changed when I met other foreigners on campus. After a year, I hated having to say farewell to my friends, the city and college. I returned to Poland to defend my MA thesis.

After coming back, I deliberated for a few years on leaving again – this time for the UK. I wanted to use the professional experience I got in Poland in an English-speaking country. Being able to legally find work there was a great advantage. When I met my husband, a Pole who had already been living in the UK, I decided that going there was worth it.

We returned to Poland together. After coming back, I gave birth to our daughter Julia and, after four years, to our son Cezary.

Krystyna Bytof

I was born in Cracow. I came to Chicago in May 1986 on a sightseeing trip. Shortly before returning home, I met Aleksander, and I stayed with him in the States all the way till 25 April 2015. 26 April marked my next emigration – to Gdynia.

Aleksander Bytof

I left the country in 1980. I sailed off from Nabrzeże Węglowe of the Gdynia port on a PŻM (Polish Steamship Company) ship. I reached the States on 17 November 1980 and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After spending three years there, I moved to the neighbouring state of Illinois, to Chicago. I stayed there until 25 April 2015. I returned to Gdynia on 26 April 2015. For the time being, I am not planning on emigrating again.

interview excerpts
Fotokast Magdy o Aleksandrze - "Wiedziałem, że wrócę"
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Magdalena Świerczyńska-Dolot’s documentary on Krystyna Bytof
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Magdalena - Rynek pracy w Anglii i Polsce
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Magdalena - Informacja o katastrofie smoleńskiej
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Magdalena - Różne reakcje na powrót do Polski
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Magdalena - Rozważania o przyszłych wyjazdach
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Aleksander - Returning to a changing homeland
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Aleksander - Waves of repatriation
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