Ukrainian students enrolled in music education studies in Poland – education, attitudes, professional expectations, and their relations to their environment – research report
The significant growth in the number of Ukrainian students at Polish institutions of higher education has significantly changed the face of academic education in this country. The existing model of higher education mostly based, especially in smaller centres, on studies of a single nation has been evolving over at least several years in the direction of a bi- or multicultural model. Ukrainians currently constitute the largest group of minority students in Polish institutions of higher education, which affects social attitudes perceptible in the academic environment, arouses interest in the Other or evokes negative cultural stereotypes and prejudice. In the context of these changes, key questions arise about the mobility of Ukrainian students to Poland, which can be addressed in the following research questions: What are the motives of Ukrainian students coming to Poland? Will Ukrainian graduates remain in Poland and be assimilated, or will the higher professional qualifications earned help many Ukrainians with Polish degrees to build a new social, economic and cultural order?
What is the structure of education for a Ukrainian student – one based on the dominance of one cultural canon or one that shows cultural diversity?
Included these visible changes at Polish universities were also programmes in “Art Education in the Musical Arts”, including those conducted in the Institute of Music at the Pomeranian Academy in Słupsk. Since 2014, this institution and institute have offered “semester exchange” and “double degree” programmes for students from Ukrainian institutions, and many Ukrainians have chosen Słupsk as the place for the full programme of their music and pedagogical studies.
The theoretical section of the article is divided into three parts:
- Academic mobility - in which select literature on the situation of students pursuing their education abroad is discussed. At the foreground of these discussions are the problems of students’ adaptation to a new, culturally foreign environment. Also considered are the perceived difficulties in studying in the chosen field, as well as the question of the declared strength of the desire of Ukrainian students to emigrate to a new country, understood in the perspective of their career development in the profession.
- Students from Ukraine pursuing studies in music and pedagogy form a certain image of their future professional employment, namely as a music teacher at school. Therefore, the focus of this article is the analysis of different models of this profession and their integration with the interests and musical activities they engage in.
- Another area of the literature analysis, undertaken in order to learn about the changes in the consciousness of Ukrainian students, is the subject of shaping their individual cultural image, based on the dominance of their native cultural canon, which then undergoes an inevitable process of acculturation. In this aspect, it is important to estimate how much they have learned and their ability to recognize another cultural tradition, as well as to acquire the competence to deal with the history of Polish culture and its most outstanding works in the musical, visual, architectural and literary arts.
The research variables identified in the theoretical part of the article were then the main inspiration for the survey research, included in the second part of the article, in which Ukrainian students, answering the questions in the survey, declared their attitudes toward selected phenomena in which they participate, made a self-assessment of their assimilation of the Polish cultural canon in the context of the previous canon of their native Ukrainian culture, declared their professional preferences, oriented towards performing the future work of a music teacher according to a defined model.