My name is Ryan Boudwin. I am twenty-seven years old. I am a former police officer and a non-traditional student that completed an undergraduate degree in international relations at American Public University by studying part-time off and on over a period of ten years. Along the way I served a two-year mission for my church in Brazil, I married a wonderful woman and started a family. Now I have been privileged to receive a Fulbright fellowship to pursue an M.A. in international relations at the University of Warsaw in Poland. This will be the first time since high school that I will be able to focus exclusively on my studies and not have to work to make ends meet.
This is my family. On the left is my wife, Annika. We have been married four and a half years and she has been a great support to me in everything I do. She is excited for this unique opportunity to live abroad. It will be her first time living out of the country.
The adorable little boy in the middle is my son, Paul. He is three years old and brings joy to my life every day. I asked him today if he was ready to go to Poland. He answered, “I was born ready.” He is excited to go on an airplane for the first time and will miss his extended family that have loved him so much.
Tomorrow morning we fly out to Warsaw. It will be a very long day and I hope the jet lag doesn’t hit us too hard. I’ve never tried to fly this far with a child before. Hopefully Paul will be patient ;). I am very excited to begin this experience, but still very nervous. We have tried to study Polish as much as we can but we still don’t know very much, and I am sure the first few weeks will be very difficult. I am immensely grateful to the members of the Warsaw branch of my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for helping us with all the details of our move. They’ve helped us know what to expect and helped us arrange an apartment beforehand so we can move in straight from the airport. I look forward to meeting them in person and making lots of new friends. I will miss my friends and family here but I am sure that this will be a wonderful experience. It will be great to be able to truly experience another culture and language, something I have not been able to do since I returned from Brazil in 2005.