Oliwia Osiecka

Interior Architecture (BFA) '21

What would you say was the most surprising thing you learned at Columbia? 

Columbia has mainly taught me the language and has made it easier for me to communicate with people. 

What experiences or courses at Columbia do you feel have been most beneficial? 

This might sound boring, but for me it was the building code class as well as the corporate studio class. I learned a lot in both classes. So many things started to make sense after taking those classes. 

What are your plans for after graduation? 

Going back to working at the best roof deck company in Chicago and the US. They agreed to sponsor my work visa as well as my employment based green card! I’m very excited about this! I did my internship in 2018 with them, which is why I moved to Chicago from Germany in the first place. You never know where you will end up. I was supposed to stay for 8 months and go back to Germany to finish my studies—and here I am 3 years later graduating from Columbia. 

Do you have any advice for current students? 

Especially for interior architecture students: stay on top of your schedule and keep pushing through. It will save you a lot of stress at the end.  

If you were going to sum up your experience at Columbia in one sentence, what would you say? 

I learned a lot about myself and strengthened my personality a lot. Honestly, leaving my family and friends in Germany and moving over here by myself was the scariest thing I have done in my whole life. But I don’t regret anything. I used to be a very shy person, especially at school. My first day at Columbia was literally the worst it could be. I didn’t understand the language very well (I’m still learning), I couldn’t find the classroom, I didn’t understand the school system, I was late, I fell walking into the room being late. It was horrible. But this made me come out of my comfort zone.