Detroit, MI (CBS Detroit) – In 1981, a vacationer from Poland found himself stranded in America after the boarders of his country suddenly closed.
“I came to America on October 15th, 1981, for what was supposed to be a celebration of graduating from medical school,” explains Dr. Stan Golec. “In the middle of my stay, on December 13th, 1981, Poland introduced Martial law and the military junta took over.”
Unable to speak English and with only $10 to his name, Dr. Golec came upon The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, an organization that changed his life forever.
“So here I am, with a useless ticket, not a word of English, ten bucks in my pocket, which wasn’t much even in 1981. And not a single piece of paper to prove that I graduated from Med School!
The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit was founded in 1919 by a group of YWCA volunteers, who sought to help legal immigrants learn English and appreciate freedom and democracy.
“I had no birth certificate…I had nothing to start the life of an immigrant. So because of the International Institute, I learned English there, and I met my wife.”
“I think The International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit is a wonderful place. It’s a melting pot, and every step forward was a big success. If I came with huge expectations, like that’s what I’m going to do, that would have been a set-up for failure.”
“Looking back, for a guy who came here with ten bucks in his pocket and not a word of English, and to be doing what I’m doing now, working as a physician taking care of Veterans, putting three kids through college, and still married to the same woman, I think I’m alright.”
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