SAC: Blog

Stacey’s Travel Log 3

University Museum


While in Poland, the main focus is on my study at Jagiellonian University in Krakow.  The university fits well into the general theme of Krakow – beautiful and rich in history.  Recently I had the opportunity to dive deeper into the history of the old university by exploring the university’s museum.  The Uniwersytet Jagiellonski is the oldest university in Poland and the second oldest in Europe – the building can be traced back to 1400 AD.  The museum building was the first building purchased for the university. Before the building, courses were held in the Wawel castle.


The first room to explore is the library.  It was extremely beautiful to see the high ceilings with their original paintings. We were told that the library had to chain down their books in order to keep the students from stealing them to sell in the market. This was a common occurrence and students convicted of the crime went to the university’s jail. The room is still used for certain meetings within the university.


After visiting the library, we moved to the dining hall. This was my favorite room due to the gorgeous staircase. The room, like any dining hall, is where the professors ate.  While the dining hall was within the building, the kitchen was located outside. The reasoning for this was 1) fire hazard, and 2) the cooks were women and having them in the building could cause temptation. Students attending the university at that time brought the food from the outside kitchen for the professor’s consumption. Many times the students were doing this to repay their schooling debt. Lastly, passages from the Bible were read aloud during dinner in order to feed the mind as well as the body.


One of my favorite elements about this museum is the effort they take to provide furniture as it would have been during the buildings inhabited years. The rooms of the professors displayed numerous tables, chairs, beds, art, etc but were not original to the university building. During one of the renovation stages in the buildings past, all the furniture was removed and burned. In recent years, antique furniture has been donated and used for visual purposes. The professors’ beds proved to be entertaining.  When first looking at the beds, I thought the professors were quite very short in order to sleep on such a bed. The fact is, however, that the professors actually slept sitting up. The bed you see in the picture would have been filled with pillows to assistance in the body position. There are a couple reasons for their vertical sleeping habit. A reason which I found most interesting was that they believed, when sleeping horizontally, one tends to sleep with their mouth open. When the mouth is open, that will allow demons to enter the body.


There are many other interesting objects to view within the museum. For example all of Queen Jadwiga’s personal effects, including jewelry and articles of royalty, are on display in the museum. The articles hold much significance because the queen left in her will to have her personal effects used for the good of the university. The jewelry and signs of royalty were sold after her death and the first building was bought. This is the reason for the two crossing scepters in the university’s logo.


The museum is definitely a must see when visiting Krakow – whether as a student or not. It holds a lot of beautiful history and interesting facts. Of course this blog only covers the surface of the museum’s treasure. Other museum attractions include an Oscar award, globe of one of the first assumptions to how Earth looked (which yields an interesting perspective of where North America was thought to be), classrooms, portraits, etc.


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Stacey Garske’s Travel Log 2


This past weekend we visited the town of Cieszyn.  This is an amazing little city. What makes the city unique is that half of the town is in Poland and the other half in the Czech Republic. The town is about an hour and a half drive from where I am staying in Sosnowiec.

We spent the first night on the Polish side. It was so pretty and quaint. Most of the streets were sloping and stone or brick. The main square was open with a fountain in the middle. Small restaurants, café’s, pubs, and shops outlined the opening.

The small town was very romantic in its quiet atmosphere. Unlike Krakow on a Saturday night, Cieszyn had very few people on the street. We visited the local winery which was nestled in a small alley away from the square. It was decorated so cute and homey. There we tried the Czech beer, wine, and fried cheese in which they are known for.

In the morning, we were told a little secret from the hotel receptionist. At the castle on the Polish side, you can ask the front desk for the key to the chapel tower. Not many visitors know this is available. We visited the tower, which we climbed and climbed, and then asked for the key to the chapel tower. We were given a very old skeleton key which we used for our own exclusive tour of the chapel.  It really was great to know about the special access. I highly suggest doing the same if any of the readers plan to visit. Not only is the chapel beautiful on the inside, but opening the large oak door with the key is cool in itself. J

After seeing the castle we walked to the Czech side. As I said before, the town is small, so walking takes a short amount of time. We arrived at the river which divides the two countries. There was a line in the pavement and country signs on the corresponding sides of the bridge but nothing more. It is like passing through states in the US.

We walked around the Czech Republic side looking at buildings mostly. They also had a main square with a fountain in the middle. There wasn’t much we would do because it was Sunday morning and all the shops, cafés, etc were closed. There were 2 or 3 small stores open and the cashiers were outside the door trying to get us to come in and buy something – but that was it.

One of the most interesting things we found was a milk dispensing machine on the street. This was even a first for Marcin to see. I have attached a picture of the finding.

Overall, I really really enjoyed the town. It was beautiful, quiet, and quaint. I am planning to visit again before I leave.


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Stacey Garske’s Travel Log


Stacey is studying International Business at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. She chose to pursue Polish studies at the Uniwersytet Jagiellonski in Krakow, Poland. Her courses will include a mixture of information regarding the culture – poetry, globalization, European Union, and the language.


Initial Log

I have arrived in Poland! This trip was long awaited and I am glad to finally be here. The process was so smooth and I don’t regret my decision to undertake this journey through Study Abroad Compass. Holly was so helpful at every step of the way. At times, I think it went too smooth and something bad was waiting around the corner! hehe.


This trip will hold so much for me.  I feel the next 5 months will shape my life and have the most influence on my future. There are two major elements to this reasoning. First, the main focus is the study abroad experience. The most common reaction from the US (and European) family members, friends, colleagues, etc was enthusiasm and encouragement for pursuing the SA experience.


This is the same reaction I have and feel. I want to have the edge and competitive advantage in a job opening. I feel this study opportunity could help provide that. I do have a fear that the international experience isn’t as highly regarded as I think. There were comments back in the US of “why leave America?” or “I don’t see the competitive advantage of having SA on your resume.” Whether it is the truth or just a narrow mind – I can’t stop it from crossing mine!


The second element which will contribute to my future layout is work experience. I have obtained a position in the purchasing office in Cracow. The company is the same one I work for in the States and I am familiar with the woman I will be shadowing.


Gosia is a highly regarded member of Nexteer. She speaks numerous languages, has a very good education, and has a personality which draws everyone. The work she does on our team for purchasing is outstanding. I am hoping to absorb the good traits from her while I shadow her.


Currently, I have no direction for my international business degree. I pursued a business degree because it was so broad; therefore, would yield an array of job opportunities. I added the international twist to it to give me an edge against other job applicants. The problem is that I chose too broad of a degree because now I don’t have a direct path to the career I want.


It is for this reason that I am so excited for the purchasing experience. I am hoping this is the direction I need. If I work well in purchasing, then I will have a job aspect to look forward to. While my current assistant job was easy and mindless, I want a job that challenges me but at the same time I can excel to new heights with it. I feel that the next 5 months will either put me on the path to my future career, or leave me back where I started without much direction.

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Early Bird Discount

Early Bird Discount

Early Bird Discount

Early Bird Discount 2013

Are you planning on studying in Poland or Ukraine in Spring 2013?

Apply early and save!

Available for Spring Program Applicants

An early-payment incentive equivalent to a $150 discount on the program fee is available for students who register and pay a deposit of $300 for the Spring 2013 semester by August 31, 2012.

Do you have a FRIEND who would like to participate in our program as well??? We have an EVEN BETTER DISCOUNT FOR YOU! You and your friend are BOTH eligible for a $200 DISCOUNT on the program fee.

The application process is simple!

Follow these easy steps:

1. Pick a program

2. Fill out our free online application form

3. Wait for your acceptance packet from us

4. Complete all forms and send them back to us with your $300 deposit by

August 31

Why wait? Apply and start saving today! 

Note: This offer cannot be combined with any other Study Abroad Compass discount.

Students at the University of Wroclaw

Students at the University of Wroclaw

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New Summer Photos

Krakow, Warsaw, Wilanow, Czestochowa, Dresden, Prague and more – here are some of the best shots of our summer students. We would like to thank our students and Program Directors for sharing these photos. Enjoy!

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Abroad101 Blog

Read what has to say about us! Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad review website. Abroad101’s mission is to promote global citizenship by fostering the most meaningful study abroad experience for all students through technology innovation in international education.

This article below was written by Amy Bernstein and published in their blog.

Study Abroad Poland: The Best of Eastern Europe


Today Poland stands as a strong and sturdy country who’s successfully emerged out of a difficult period as a socialist society.  It’s shown tremendous change over the last 10-15 years, developing into the modern cultural center it is today. It’s continually attracting more visitors and students to study in Poland as people uncover this gem in the middle of Central Europe.

Today we are highlighting the fabulous Study Abroad Poland Program which boasts marvelous academic opportunities to study in Poland, coupled with the best cultural experiences available. Choosing to study abroad in Poland will give the typical student an invaluable opportunity to learn about Poland’s past, present and the role it’s played in our world. No other country can boast such a success story as rebuilding after its damaged past. The burgeoning cities and gorgeous landscapes will draw in visitors to the lakes, rivers, mountains and even beaches.

Warsaw, Poland’s capital for the last 400 years is just one location for Study Abroad Poland. It’s a thriving metropolis with a strong economy and the city boasts both old and new architecture as students will notice as they walk through the neighborhoods of today and the “old town” which has been reconstructed after past destruction.

Exploring Warsaw

If you’re considering studying in this beautiful country, Study Abroad Poland maintains fabulous programs that will provide the experience of a lifetime. The variety of programs available will allow for a deep understanding of this wonderful country, its place in society and of course, the beautiful Polish language. Students can choose from semester, summer or full-year academic sessions and programs in business, international relations, Polish cultural studies, electrical/computer engineering and more. There are also internship and volunteer placements available while you study in Poland. In addition to programs in Poland, Study Abroad Poland is a division of Study Abroad Compass which  also provides programs in in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine.

Study Abroad Poland ensures that students receive not only the highest quality classroom education, but a packed schedule of cultural excursions such as city tours, BBQ’s, bowling and museum visits. There will also be free weekends available for students to explore neighboring countries so they can get to know more of Central and Eastern Europe during their time abroad.

Students and Faculty in Polish Classroom

A student who recently returned from one of their programs had this to say “I thought this program was amazing! I have no complaints about it at all. It was the best time of my life. The program administration were beyond helpful. I met the most wonderful people through this program that I am still friends with. I learned a great deal of Polish and was able to earn 5 credits at my university! The best part of this program, is the helpfulness of the administration. They are there for you through the whole process, even throughout your stay in Poland.”

Another student from a summer program in Wroclaw, Poland said “Wroclaw is an amazing city to go to in Poland. It is so beautiful and charming and everyone that I met there was friendly and caring. If you want to actually learn Polish, this is the program for you.” Read even more from this review here.

Krakow, Poland from above

Still looking for more information on Study Abroad Poland? They have a fantastic website with answers to all of your questions as well as great resources and tips. Get in touch with them to find out more and apply today.

Want to read insider reviews from fellow study abroad students? Click here to find your perfect program!

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New Spring Photos

Here are some great photos from our spring semester students, Kevin, John, and Jaclyn. Kevin attended our Intensive Polish Language and Culture program at the University of Warsaw, John attended our Business/Economics program at Lazarski University, and Jaclyn was a student at our Polish Cultural Studies Program in Krakow. Enjoy!

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Packing Tips


Packing tips for Poland

Packing tips for Poland

Many students ask us for advice on how to pack for their study abroad experience. Below you can find some frequently asked questions. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us.

1) How much luggage can I take?

Check with your airline to see what the baggage requirements are. Recently international carriers have reduced the amount of luggage that you can have, so it’s important that you check before you start packing. Also make sure that your luggage meets the size requirements. If you are changing carriers in Europe during a layover, check the carry-on luggage requirements for that carrier. Remember that you can’t have any liquids in your carry on (or only a small amount). Check with the airline to see what their requirements are. The airlines are very strict these days, so make sure you follow their regulations or else they can charge you a hefty fee.

2) What kind of clothes should I bring?

Poland has four distinct seasons, with summer being very hot and winter being very cold. You should bring warm clothes for the fall, winter, and spring. If you don’t have enough room in your luggage, you can buy some clothes in Poland or your parents can send them to you. In the winter it’s important to have a warm coat, hat and gloves because you will spend a lot of time outside walking to and from class and around town. You should also try to bring clothes that you can layer because in the winter the inside of the university buildings can be very warm and you can take off some layers until you feel comfortable.

You should bring one or two nice outfits because there is usually an opening ceremony/inauguration the first day of class, which students dress up for. Other than that, students tend to dress very casually for class. Students dress up more when going out at night, so bring some “going out” clothes.


Here are the average yearly temperatures in Poland:

January:  High: 30° Low: 21°

February:  High: 34° Low: 23°

March: High: 42° Low: 29°

April: High: 55° Low: 32°

May: High: 65° Low: 46°

June: High: 70° Low: 51°

July:  High: 73° Low: 54°

August:  High: 73° Low: 53°

September: High: 65° Low: 47°

October:  High: 56° Low: 39°

November:  High: 44° Low: 32°

December:  High: 35° Low: 24°

3) Is there anything special that I should bring from home (toiletries, medicine, etc.)?

Regarding toiletries, in Poland you’ll find all the same name brands that you are used to in the US. As for medicine, generally you’ll find the same over-the-counter medicine (but with different brand names). Because toiletries and medicine can be expensive, it would be good to bring a supply with you. If you are taking any prescription medicine, you should bring enough to last you the whole duration of your stay because it might be hard to obtain those.

4) What other items should I bring?

You might want to bring some souvenirs from your home-town to give away as presents to Polish friends that you meet during the program (for example, key chains).

Here are some other suggested items:

-laundry bag

-towel (a towel is provided at the dormitory, but students like to bring their own)


-USB flash drive

-any medications that you’re taking. You should have enough to last the whole program

-sun block

-any special eye-drops that you use

5) Do I need an adapter or a converter for my appliances?

In order to plug in your laptop, you need a plug adapter because the plugs are different in Europe. The adapter is a small piece that fits over your plug to make your plug compatible with European sockets. During your orientation session, your Program Director will give you an adapter to borrow during the program, so you do not need to bring one. You do not need a converter for converting the voltage. Most modern American laptops can handle 100-240 Volts, which works in Poland and the US. Check the cable on your laptop to make sure it can handle that voltage.

For any other appliances besides laptops, like blow dryers or electric razors, most likely you will need a converter to convert the voltage. The voltage that comes out of European sockets is very strong, 220 volts at 50 cycles, which is almost double that of American standards! Therefore, it might be too much voltage for your appliances. From experience, most American appliances tend to work poorly in Europe, and converters can be quite expensive so it’s better just to buy or borrow these appliances in Poland. Your Program Director will let you borrow a blow dryer throughout the duration of the program, so you don’t need to bring that. During the orientation session, you can also visit one of the many shopping malls in your host city to buy any other appliances that you need.

If you’re bringing a digital camera with rechargeable batteries, check the voltage on your battery recharger, because most likely it can handle 100-240 V, which can be used in Poland. In that case, you will only need a plug adapter (you can use the same one that we’ll give you for your laptop).

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Embassy Registration

American Embassy in Warsaw

American Embassy in Warsaw

How to Register with the Department of State Before Your Trip

A good practice when traveling abroad is to register your trip with the Department of State.  When you register your trip to Poland using the Department of State’s website, they will then pass this information on to the local U.S. Embassy in Poland. Study Abroad Poland requires that all students complete this process before departure. Follow our easy steps below!

To begin, visit this link:

First you have to make an account. This is a general account with the Department of State. You can keep this account for the rest of your life. If they ask for your address, it should be your permanent address in the U.S.

Step 1: Below where it says “Log In” you should click on “If not, click here to create an account” and then it will give you instructions on how to create an account.

Step 2: In the first step you will have to choose a log-in name, password and security question.  Fill in the information, and click “Next.”

Step 3: In the next steps you will need to fill in your Personal Information, Passport Information, Contact Information, Privacy Information, and then finally Confirm.

Step 4: After you do that you should then “Register a Trip.” This is where you will fill out specific information about your stay in Poland. Here is where they will ask you for your local address and phone number in Poland. They will then take this information and send it to the American Embassy in Poland.

Please keep in mind that you can use this function to register any trips you will make in the future.

Please let Study Abroad Poland know once you have successfully registered with the Department of State.

Enjoy your stay in Poland!

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Travel Resources

Great travel resources are just a click away!

Many times our students ask us to recommend companies for student airfare, hotels/hostels, and other useful travel resources. Below are some of our suggestions!


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Rail Europe, fastest way to travel in Europe


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Paris Pass

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