Why Warsaw, Poland?
At the core of our program and course development we focus very intently on this question. Study abroad has evolved in the past decade with tremendous growth in two areas in particular. The first is the “study in your major” phenomena, the second is the faculty-led program.
It is now possible to take a vast range of course work nearly anywhere in the world – in English. Many of these programs exist because the students in the host country wish to study in English – as preparation for graduate study or work abroad, or simply access to desirable careers. They are often general courses not necessarily intended to introduce material specific to the culture of the country. Nor do they necessarily represent the greatest strengths or uniqueness of that location. While nearly every experience abroad is a positive growth experience in some way, it can be challenging to explain at times to a potential employer the rationale used in selecting a particular study abroad location or program.
Poland has a complex and turbulent history, including having been erased from the map. Its geography has put it in the well-trodden path of invaders more than once. Poland and Central/Eastern Europe in general were very much at the center of 20th century history, something that often seems to overshadow its contributions to science and culture – from Copernicus to Chopin. Because this region is relatively unknown to many students, and even to otherwise seasoned travelers, it is fertile ground for faculty-led programming. There is increased value in the role of faculty leaders in working with students to really look below the surface, to consider the impact of local history, culture, religion, politics, geography, and other factors.
Each of our course proposals must first pass the “Why Poland?” test. The subject matter should be reinforced by the location, the case studies used drawn from Poland and Central/Eastern Europe. The result should be a unique perspective on a global question.
We have chosen “Security and Society in the Information Age” as our overarching theme. In doing so, we have realized just how much globalization and technology has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. Course structure is intensive and intimate, engaging the participants in active discussion and project work. They are purposely conducted in block style, one course at a time, to reinforce this experience.
We are looking for ambitious students, those looking for a different experience and new perspectives. Our faculty are passionate about the subjects they teach and expect and encourage students to contribute actively to the discussion and dynamic.