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Broaden Your Horizons: 5 Reasons to Study Abroad in Poland

NC State study abroad students in Poland showing the wolfpack hand sign

There are all kinds of benefits to studying abroad. From personal growth to jump-starting your career, study abroad is often a student’s most enriching college experience.

With all the options at NC State, why study abroad in Poland? According to Paul Mozdziak and Hanna Gracz, the Poland: Biotechnology (and new Poland: Clinical Shadowing) program has more to offer than students realize. And senior Biomedical Engineering major Conrad Dear agrees, saying he recommends the program to everyone he can.

“The Biotechnology Program in Poland is by far the best-valued study abroad option. You will have the opportunity to gain hands-on cell culturing experience in class while being immersed in unique Polish culture outside of school. Going to Poland is an excellent choice for any student interested in biology, biomedical engineering or pursing a career in healthcare,” Dear says.

Read on to discover the top 5 reasons Poland should be on your horizon!

1. Lower Costs

The Poland: Biotechnology opportunity is one of the most cost-effective study abroad programs you can choose. It’s within $700 of the cost of attendance at NC State.

While Poland is a beautiful country with a range of natural and cultural options, it’s off the beaten tourist path, keeping it an affordable option. You aren’t limited, though: during the 4-week program, you’ll experience the college city of Poznan and then visit other Polish areas with beautiful views and historical significance.

2. More Options: GEP + Hands-On Experience

Mozdziak and Gracz are working to make BCH220: Biotechnology and Society a GEP course. As a GEP course, BCH220 in Poland will fulfill a requirement while offering a unique learning experience.

The program’s BIT466/566 course is a method-oriented class that provides theoretical and hands-on skills needed to cultivate animal cells.

In addition to the proposed GEP addition, 2019 is introducing a new program that extends the Poland: Biotechnology experience. You can add the Poland: Clinical Shadowing program to participate in AAMC-compliant physician shadowing in Torun, Poland. The Torun option gives students ALS490 internship credit.

Completing both programs is perfect for pre-med/pre-health students and those interested in exploring science, history and culture.

The facilities at the University of Life Sciences (ULS) and Adam Mickiewicz University (AMU) are state-of-the-art and reflect the growing biotechnology support in Poland.

3. Personal Touch: Local Knowledge + History

Mozdziak and Gracz have taken students to Poland since 2003 – their program is well-established and they offer a smooth transition to international travel. Sometimes, they say, it can feel like a “family trip” (without the stress)!

Gracz is a native of Poland who says that taking students each year is like “coming home.” As a Polish American, Mozdziak also sees Poland as a second home. Both professors are passionate about showing students Poland beyond the classroom.

You’ll benefit from Mozdziak and Gracz’s local knowledge in addition to their classroom teaching. They know where to get the best food and what to do with your free time (including weekends).

NC State study abroad group in Poland grouped behind a rectangular dining table
Poland: Biotechnology study abroad students in 2016

You might not know it, but Poland and the U.S. have deep connections. In class, you’ll learn about animal cell culture techniques, biotechnology and society, and Poland’s agricultural history. Out of class, you’ll discover how Poland and the U.S. have interacted through history and how they continue to build for the future.

Finally, whether you choose the Biotechnology or Clinical Shadowing program (or both) you’ll visit areas of Poland with deep roots – Torun, for example, dates to the medieval period and was the hometown of Nicolaus Copernicus.

4. Travel

The Poland: Biotechnology program truly shows you Poland. The final week of the program takes you to major Polish landmarks, including Warsaw and Krakow.

The tour shows some of the range of Poland’s diverse geography and, again, you’ll benefit from the program coordinators’ deep local knowledge.

5. Instruction in English

If you’re worried about study abroad in a non-English-speaking country, don’t be! The Poland: Biotechnology and Poland: Clinical Shadowing programs both provide all instruction in English. You get the best of both worlds: new experiences abroad and the ease of instruction in a familiar language.

Bonus: Growing Poultry Production in Poland

Study abroad in Poland is a great opportunity for any NC State student, but there are bonuses for poultry science majors and minors.

Poultry production is growing in Poland. Pilgrim’s CEO Bill Lovett recently mentioned that Poland has a strong, and growing, poultry industry. The trade publication Poultry World also highlighted this fact in their latest issue.

According to a conference report by Jake Davies, Poland is leading eastern Europe in expanding poultry production. The industry there is “expanding at about 8% a year, with…new processing facilities either built or in the pipeline” (p. 7).

With all that Poland already offers to students studying abroad, poultry industry ties are an added bonus for pre-vet, poultry science and related CALS students.

Ready to see Poland while studying biotechnology, history and agriculture?