API Study Abroad in Krakow, Poland

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About

Students take courses at Jagiellonian University. Founded in 1364 by King Kazimierz the Great, it is Poland’s oldest university and one of the oldest in Central Europe. Semester and students complete classes in English with visiting students in Jagiellonian’s Interdisciplinary Program in Humanities and Social Sciences. The university offers Polish language and humanities courses (history, literature, philosophy, psychology, culture, art, and religious studies). Students can also take classes with Polish and international students that are taught in English in American studies, business, and communications, European studies, psychology, sociology and more. Summer students will take courses with other Americans and international students that focus on Central European studies and humanities. Whether students choose to focus on Polish studies or take classes in other disciplines, living and studying in Krakow provides an incredible education.

Scholarships

API Scholarships
API Scholarships and Financial Aid Information

API awards approximately $500,000 in study abroad scholarships annually ranging from $250 -$1,000 per student.

Value
$250 - $1,000

Popular Programs

krakow

Students complete courses offered in English by the Jagiellonian University of Krakow’s Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. This program is designed to encourage an exchange of ideas and experiences. The program focuses on the most significant issues of modern philosophy, anthropology, history, literary theories, art history and psychology. The main emphasis is placed on the modern and interdisciplinary character of 20th century cultural phenomena.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

10 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • Academics 8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
Default avatar
Laura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

API Kraków, Poland (Fall 2018)

ORIENTATION
The first weekend, API provided seminars for blending in with the Polish population, provided meals, and made efforts to get SIM cards activated.I think the most prominent error I found with the orientation was its length. It was about three days long and it was the immediate weekend following my arrival, which meant I had about half a day or less to settle in. I usually maintain a "go with the flow" attitude, but it's hard to do that when you are jet-lagged and in the midst of experiencing many new cultural behaviors (as well as the new faces of my colleagues in the API group). I partook in each orientation activity so I could understand Poland better. Looking back, orientation provided me with important advice I could not find online, yet my independent travels to about six cities in Poland helped me to understand the culture the most through my experiences.

On our excursion to Budapest, I asked about their orientation and was shocked that it lasted two weeks. (Maybe they included their two week intensive period?) I understand that the education systems work differently and that the size of the cities may determine how long an orientation lasts, but I do think a longer orientation for Poland would be helpful to students, especially those who have never traveled abroad. All information provided was helpful and I think that with a couple more days students could adjust to the city without feeling rushed.

Alternatively, this setup does push students to discover the culture on their own (with the option of asking the RD for advice) which is important for taking in the culture rather than trying to maintain a lifestyle of comfort that mirrors a person's home country. Had our orientation been two weeks long, I feel that my colleagues and I may have become too comfortable with purely interacting with each other rather than interacting with the people in Kraków.

I think that transportation around the city could be covered a little more extensively, but the app Jakdojade helped my colleagues and me a lot.

LIVING CONDITIONS AND FOOD OPTIONS
I honestly have never lived as well as I did in Poland. The living situation was very spacious with three bedrooms (usually 2 with balconies), 1 full bathroom, a kitchen/dining room, and a front lobby area. The rooms had a bed, desk and chairs, two closets, a dresser, and two outlets along with a surge charger. I only plugged in 2-3 things at a time to prevent blowing fuses. The kitchen could have either a gas or electric stove and usually there was an oven. My flat did not have an oven so I just asked the students next door to use theirs. There was a fridge, a freezer, and a lot of cooking equipment. The washer was in the bathroom, and there were drying racks in the lobby closet--no dryer since they use too much energy.

Next to the building I lived in there was a market (Nowy Kleparsz) across the street or you can walk less than 10 minutes to Stary Kleparsz. There are other markets that can be reached by tram and the żabka stores (convenience stores) are abundant. My flatmates and I also found the Lewiatan stores to be a good place for food. There were students who decided to eat at a new place every meal and they were able to walk or take a tram to those places. Concerning classes, you can walk (about 15 minutes) or take a tram part way to classes for IPHSS.

The apartment is in a safe place, although I found all of Poland to be safe. There is a highway next to the complex so it can be slightly noisy, but other than the occasional horse-driven carriage the noise is not noticeable, especially at night.

RESIDENT DIRECTOR
My RD was wonderful. I could always contact him about anything (i.e. registering for non-program courses, figuring out the fuse box at 10 pm, activating my data for my SIM card, travel advice for friends or relatives who were visiting, even helping me to get an item mailed from an excursion city when I had run out of time to buy the item). I was impressed by his diligence to help me with even some of the most bizarre requests. I do know that some of my colleagues had some troubles, but I think that if you have patience, plan accordingly (a.k.a. work ahead), and maintain an attitude of acceptance for what can be done then acquiring help is no problem. In the instances where I could not get a problem solved the way I would have liked my RD worked with me to find a new solution. For instance, my non-program science course was canceled and I had to find a new course the same day. It was extremely stressful and I was unsure about how accepting my RD would be about this registration change. He was empathetic, understanding that I could not have helped this situation, and he helped me register promptly for a different course.

CLASSES
Classes can be once or twice a week. For Polish language, the two-week intensive met about 3 hours every weekday morning, but the language course during the semester met twice a week (2 hours each session). Most of my classes met once a week for 1.5-2 hours, although I did have a history course that was 3 hours.

I think most of my group took 3-5 classes, but you can take more if you would like. Also, API allows students to take courses outside of Humanities and Social Sciences (IPHSS) as long as you have at least 2 IPHSS courses. Your site director will help with this process if you want to take courses outside the department.

All of my professors taught differently using powerpoints, taking field trips, speaking to the class with or without visuals, having student demonstrations or presentations, or using lesson books. I only had to buy books for language courses.

Just in case you are interested in taking any of the classes I took, and have questions, I have them listed here: Polish Cinema, Polish Language Breakthrough A2 + Intensive Course, History of Polish Culture, Poland in Europe in the 21st Century, Polish Literature in the 21st Century, Tropical Ecology.

ACADEMIC RIGOR
I study at a small, private school (Wilkes University) and my courses are rigorous especially since I am a biology major. The courses here are much easier and do not require as much effort (equivalent to my general education courses at home). I am accustomed to math, chemistry, and science courses with one or two electives (i.e. English, art history, music). This made it somewhat difficult to gauge how much effort was appropriate for each assignment. I didn't want to spend loads of time on something that might not even be graded and then spend little time on a project that was graded. To best judge this, you must talk directly to the instructors. It was challenging to change from a classroom setting of STEM courses with instructors that explained how natural systems work or how to complete calculations based on repetition and memorization (and some intuition or critical thinking). In Poland, my courses were more open to opinions and debate; they were also in topics that I had not been exposed to at all or had not been exposed to for at least two years. Although I could only complete one semester abroad, I think a year would be better to truly adjust to this type of learning. As a biology student, my critical thinking skills have been more developed by Jagiellonian University.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
This was a life-changing experience. My views, my study habits, and the way I interact with people have changed. About a month before leaving Poland, I began preparing myself to return home. I did not know how hard reverse culture shock was going to hit after an amazing opportunity, and unfortunately, I found it to be crippling to be back in the US. The one thing I would have changed is my methods of coping when I returned home. I wish I would have looked for interesting things around me that I took for granted every day. In Poland, I took nothing for granted and that's why every day felt fulfilling. This is the only thing I would change about any experience abroad I have taken or plan to take: find the fulfillment in each situation.
Default avatar
Kathy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Krakow

I studied abroad for the academic year, 2011-2012, with API in Krakow, Poland. Before going I was worried about signing up for a year long program but I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I wish I could have even stayed longer! I lived in a gorgeous city with so much to do everyday! I never got bored or wished there was more to do. I would attend classes a few days out of the week and the other days I would explore the city or travel. Krakow offers a large night life scene with something for everyone! If you want to just sit and relax to dance the night away, Krakow has the place for you. As well, API was great with setting up fun and educational excursions. Being a year long student, some of the excursions were the same but I opted to attend them both! The API on-site adviser was fantastic! He was so much fun to be around and he made sure everything was perfect for us! I definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants a cheaper route and to explore a country that isn't as popular as others.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change would be the living situation. The land-lady isn't the friendliest and the furniture isn't up to par to other API housing options in other countries. This is something API needs to work on to make the living equalized between countries.