Jan Borodziuk’s Journey Across the Globe
By Elijah Maule
At just 18 years old, Jan Borodziuk, a senior at Ponte Vedra High School, possesses a remarkable life experience that belies his age. Having lived in five different countries before reaching the age of 15 and mastered five languages, Jan’s journey is as diverse as it is captivating. Jan was born in Warsaw, Poland in 2005, and only lived there for a short time before moving to Shanghai, China in 2007. “I don’t remember much about the first move as I was very young, but we moved because my dad was offered a job that paid better than the one he had,” said Jan. He stated that Shanghai was a busy metropolis where skyscrapers met traditional temples. It was a place where tradition and modernity coexist in harmony. He described the city as hectic and crowded, but amidst all of that, were parks and gardens where you could relax. Jan lived there for three years before moving to Tunis, Tunisia in 2011.
Jan’s family moved out of Shanghai to Tunis, Tunisia, as his dad was offered another job that paid even better than the one he had. When asked about how life was there, Jan said, “It was a lot different from Shanghai but also related in the way the country’s history is etched in every corner.” He mentioned that the beaches were beautiful and the city itself was busy like Shanghai, but the markets were something else that he has never experienced before in his lifetime to this date. Jan mentioned that school in Tunisia is a lot different than the United States. “All of us (students) stayed in one room and different teachers came in to teach different subjects like math, science, history, and more,” said Jan. He stated that they take education very seriously and make sure the students understand what they are taught before they leave to go home. But learning in school and living there started to become a problem due to the Jasmine Revolution, which influenced the Arab Spring. During this time, countries in the Middle East and North Africa had riots and revolutions caused by high employment, corruption, food inflation, lack of political freedoms, and poor living conditions. Protests in Tunisia were so bad that they overwhelmed the security forces, and forced the president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to give up his position and run out of the country. With chaos starting to erupt, Jan’s family decided to move back to Shanghai as they were familiar with the city and had a better opportunity there.
Jan said he was happy to move back to Shanghai as he liked it better than Tunisia. “Moving back was nice as the people that I went to school with were all international students like me.” He learned how to speak a little Chinese during his time there before moving to Munich, Germany, as China’s pollution was terrible and the control from the government was harsh.
Jan stated that Germany was and still is his favorite country he has lived in as, “the architecture is stunning, the food is amazing, had good public transportation, the city was clean, and the people were very nice.” He also stated school was a lot harder there but he liked the school system as it was pre-school to high school, so everyone stayed together their whole lives and graduated together. “There were around 1,600 people in my school all together and it felt like a big family,” said Jan. But in 2020, Jan’s family decided to move to the United States as his mom saw that the colleges are better.
Jan’s family has lived in the United States ever since and he is soon to graduate. With moving around his whole life, Jan said, “moving sucks but once you get situated after a while, it’s fine.” He also commented that he got to learn a lot of different cultures, beliefs, and how to have patience to adjust and learn how life works in other places. Jan said that he will use all of his experiences he has had by living in different countries to progress in life, and is planning on attending the University of Central Florida to study international business.
Pictured: Jan Borodziuk at a New Years party with his friends