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Study abroad during the 2012 UEFA European soccer championship

Euro 2012

A Study Abroad Program sponsored by NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

By Hanna Gracz


It was really exciting to be in Poland this year and direct four weeks of summer study abroad program from May 12 until June 10th, 2012. The atmosphere was very festive throughout the program, which was the beginning of the EURO Cup.

students in Poland

Study abroad in Poland

The program is designed for students interested in biotechnology, and students study at a University with modern biotechnology facilities. Students can earn eight credit hours by taking three courses: Dr Mark Fountain “Agriculture in the History of Poland and Central Europe”; Dr. Paul Mozdziak “Animal  Cell Culture Techniques” and  My course “Biotechnology and Society.” The courses are open to students from NC State, Life Science University and Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, giving them a chance to interact and learn from each other. It builds scientific and cultural bridges.

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In front of Biology Department at Morasko new University Campus

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Adam Mickiewicz University –Main Aula


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In front of Biotechnology Center at Life Science University of Poznan where most of our classes were taught.

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Relaxing at Proletariat Bar after History Class with our Honorary Consul Dr. Fountain. In the back old communist slogan ”If we want to live better we have to work better”

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Poznan Opera House

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Before our exciting evening at Opera with “Hamlet.” After the performance we met (to our full surprise) with the Hamlet cast at the bar “Pod Pretekstem.”

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The students also have weekend excursions visiting churches in Poznan, Gniezno –first capital of Poland – and Biskupin, apre-historic settlement


Biskupin is an archaeological site and a life-size model of an Iron Age fortified settlement in north-central (Wielkopolska) Poland). When first discovered it was thought to be early evidence of Slavic settlement but archaeologists later confirmed it belonged to the Biskupin group of the Lusatian culture. (From Wikipedia)


NC state students had a chance to learn more about Polish culture and history when visiting Krakow with its city center- the Rynek-Market Square preserved since Medieval times and its surroundings including Salt Mine Wieliczka and Nazis concentration camp Auschwitz- Birkenau.

Kraków (Cracow, or Krakow) Situated on the Vistula River (Polish: Wisła) The city has grown from a Stone Age settlement to Poland’s second most important city.In 1978 UNESCO approved the first ever sites for its new World Heritage List, including the entire Old Town in inscribing Cracow’s Historic Centre. We were visiting Royal Castle Wawel. The Royal Castle with an armoury and the Cathedral are situated on the hill. Polish Royalty and many distinguished Poles are interred in the Wawel Cathedral. Royal coronations took place there also.Wawel began to play the role of a centre of political power at the end of the first millennium AD. In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vistulans tribeThe first historical ruler Mieszko I of Poland (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslaw I the Brave. (From Wikipedia)

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The Jagiellonian University Museum

In the courtyard of Collegium Maius the oldest Univesrity building in Poland dated back to the year 1400 when King Wladyslaw Jagiello according to Queen Jadwiga will purchased house for Krakow Academy.






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Next we were visiting Cracow , St Mary’s Church from 13th century

St. Mary’s Basilica is a Brick Gothic church re-built in the 14th century (originally built in the early 13th century), adjacent to the Main Market Square in Kraków, Poland. Standing 80 m (262 ft) tall, it is particularly famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz). (From Wikipedia)





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Salt Mine Wieliczka-was the next stop.  In front of “Last supper –sculpture in salt.”

The Wieliczka Salt Mine (Polish: Kopalnia soli Wieliczka), located in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland, lies within the Kraków metropolitan area. The mine, built in the 13th century, produced table salt continuously until 2007, as one of the world’s oldest salt mines still in operation. From its beginning and throughout its existence, the Royal mine was run by the Żupy krakowskie Salt Mines, believed to be the world’s 14th-oldest company. The mine’s attractions include dozens of statues and an entire chapel that has been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. The oldest sculptures are augmented by the new carvings by actual artists. About 1.2 million people visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually. (From Wikipedia)

study abroadWarsawPalace Wilanow built by King  Jan Sobieski  for his beloved wife French Princess Marysienka and called the small Versailles. President Charles de Gaulle used it as his Hotel when visiting Poland. The Battle of Vienna  took place on 11 and 12 September 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. It was a battle of the Holy Roman Empire in league with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (Holy League) versus the Ottoman Empire and chiefdoms of the Ottoman Empire at the Kahlenberg mountain near Vienna. The battle marked the beginning of the political hegemony of the Habsburg dynasty in the Holy Roman Empire and Central Europe. The battle was won by the combined forces of the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Viennese garrison was led by Ernst Rüdiger Graf von Starhemberg subordinate of Leopold I Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor. Command of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, as well as overall command, was held by the King of Poland, Jan III Sobieski. He is consider as the one who saved European Christianity.

The study abroad in Poland is an opportunity to share the rich history and culture of a country often overshadowed by its European neighbors. Personally for me it is turning the heartache over leaving my own country into determination to build bridges between scientists and students at NCSU and my native country Poland.