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POLAND - USAC Krakow

Kraków, similar in atmosphere, architecture, and cost of living, rivals Prague (only five hours away) for the prettiest and friendliest medieval city in Europe.

The Program is based in Kraków, one of the oldest and most charming cities in Poland. The host city offers many affordable cafes and restaurants; festivals and events; a strong music and art scene; as well as numerous historical sites. Kraków is very much a student city with over 30 universities and thousands of international students from all over the world studying there.

Learn about historical and modern-day Poland with courses in religious and European studies that will be complemented by field trips and tours outside of the classroom to places such as the Auschwitz concentration camp and Oskar Schindler’s Factory.

Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
Location

Kraków – also known as “Little Rome”, “Florence of the North”, “Little Vienna”, and “Polish Jerusalem” – is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. As the former capital, this charming city remains one of the most culturally and politically significant places in the country.

The city is steeped in history; it was the former central site of the Nazi General Government during WWII and is home to Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory (now a museum).  The historic town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Jewish quarter accommodated more Jewish residents than any other city in Europe during WWII.

While Kraków maintains its historic roots that has not held it back from moving forward with modern and contemporary architecture, art, innovation, and business – with over 200 startups and many technical and economic events. 
Kraków is a lively and vibrant city with a large student population. Because of this, you’ll find that it is a very affordable city. Compared to other EU countries, the cost of living in Poland is a fraction of the price. In the city you’ll find plenty of cafes and restaurants, live music, and museums. The city also hosts over 100 festivals annually, including the Jewish Culture Festival, Kraków Film Festival, and Street Theatre Festival. If you tire from city life, nature is just around the corner with Jurassic valleys, the Tatra Mountains – for hiking and skiing, and ample opportunities, for sports and other activities. The city is also located only one hour away from the famous Auschwitz concentration camp.

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the Embassy of Poland Website. 

Academics

The Cracow University of Economics (CUE) is one of Poland’s premier academic institutions with outstanding teaching and research quality rooted in 90 years of tradition. Become part of the CUE student community with 21,000 students, including nearly 1,500 international students, to meet new people and gain different perspectives. Classes take place on a medium size, well-manicured, green campus of more than 15 buildings and students have access to a language center, library, sports facilities, cafes, and a clinic.

The university is located in the center of Krakow and is only a 10-minute walk from the historical Old Town center with countless monuments, museums, restaurants, and cafes. It is also in the vicinity of the main railway station, regional bus station, and a large transit hub making commuting to and from the university easy and convenient.

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are, so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You will also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.

 

ACADEMICS 

The USAC Krakow program uses the US semester credit system, in which 1 credit = 42-45 in-class hours, and 2 hours of out-of-class work per credit hour.

To Earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 15-16 US semester credits.

To Earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 12 US semester credits.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

Please note that course availability is different per semester. For more information on courses, course descriptions, and course availability, click here

Student Life

Extracurricular activities include language partners, sports and cultural events with local students, as well as campus-wide activities like music and art festivals. In addition to these activities, Kraków is host to an annual calendar of festivals. In the summer, you can participate in the Jewish festival and enjoy alternative and classical music at Wianki, the city’s large annual music celebration.

USAC also takes advantage of Kraków’s unique location to give students firsthand exposure to local culture. Art and culture related course visits could include sites like the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Rynek Underground Museum, Wawel Castle, and MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art. Courses more focused on economics and history could visit Kazimierz (the former Jewish district of Kraków), Schindler’s factory, Nowa Huta quarter and more.

 

FIELD TRIPS

You are encouraged to participate in the included program field trips. Program field trips are included in your program fees and could include those listed below. Trips vary each semester. Exact dates and locations may change at the discretion of the Resident Director.

Auschwitz
Auschwitz opened in 1940 and was the largest concentration camp established by the Nazi regime during World War II. As you pass through the gates where millions walked to their death, you may feel completely numb. It’s a somber journey walking through the three camps – Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II (Birkenau), and Monowitz (or Buna); however, the history shared within these walls is greater than any book you could read. It’s just something you have to see and feel in person.

Wieliczka Salt Mine
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is on the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage list. The mine opened in the 13th century and produced table salt continuously until 2007. It was one of the world’s oldest salt mines in operation. The mine is deep and full of tunnels, as well as spectacular chapels with sculptures of the country’s most beloved figures – all carved out of salt. It’s definitely worth the trek down the shafts.

Zakopane and Tatra Mountains
Head outside the city and into the mountains for spectacular views. The Tatras are the tallest range in the Carpathian Mountains, towering over most of Eastern Europe. The old town of Zakopane has preserved traditional mountain architecture with mountaineer cottages surrounded by ash trees. In addition to the architecture, folk costumes and jewelry have also survived here.

 

TOURS

USAC encourages you to participate in the tours; however, they are optional and have an additional fee. The fees include guides, some meals, travel, accommodations, and entrance fees. Final dates and locations are confirmed upon arrival and may change at the discretion of the Resident Director. For more information, click here

  Internship Opportunities

USAC internships are rich resources for your academic and professional development and are counted as part of your credit load. Students are placed in local environments, with exposure to culture and language. Polish language ability is very helpful, but not necessary. Interns earn credit but not financial compensation. The schedule and number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses and availability of the internship site.

Internship opportunities fall into broad categories which may include:
• Communications
• Language tutoring/teaching
• Marketing
• Finance
• Business research
• Translating projects may be possible for students with advanced Polish language ability.

Contact the staff directly once onsite to inquire if additional internship types are available. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC; rather it will be determined by your application, supporting materials, and an interview with the staff and internship sponsor on-site. Internships are available in fall and spring semesters only.

Housing and Meals

You will work with your Program Advisor to select the housing that’s the best fit for you. The following USAC arranged options are available for this program:
• Private apartments off campus
• Residence halls off campus. Limited availability.

Housing is arranged by USAC, but paid by students once on-site in Krakow.  

Meals are not included in the program fee, but grocery stores and restaurants are nearby the student residences.

 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee includes orientation, Airport pick-up, 24-local staff emergency support. field trips, and college fees. Please note that meals are not included, and are the responsibility of the student. 

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item

Amount

Lake Forest College Tuition

$23,840

Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College

TBD

Housing

(arranged by USAC but paid on-site in Krakow)

$1,400

Meals

$2,000

Estimated Airfare

$1,700

Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)

$1,200

Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses

$6,300

Total

TBD

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of March 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office
    847-735-5231
    aolson@lakeforest.edu