Poland: The Unbreakable Spirit

Poland (Cancelled)

On Campus: March 11-May 8, 2020

Off Campus: May 13 - May 28, 2020 

Program Highlights

  • Meets the Humanities (HM) & Intercultural (IC) requirements in the Common curriculum
  • Gain a deeper understanding of Poland as a crossroads of WWII through visiting the Warsaw Uprising Museum and Schindler’s Factory.
  • Reflect on the lasting impact on the Holocaust as you take in the overwhelming sights of Auschwitz and Galicia Jewish Museum.
  • Explore the role the fine arts may have played during Poland’s history to strengthen, soothe, and to express the human spirit.
  • Deepen understanding of Poland’s Catholic faith and spirituality:
      • Visit several Catholic pilgrimage sites important to the Polish people such as Czestochowa and Calvary Kalwaria Zebrzydowska.
      • Connect to our Benedictine heritage abroad as we visit the Monastery of Benedictines of the Perpetual Adoration in Warsaw.
      • Reflect on Pope John Paul II’s journey of faith as we explore his hometown of Wadowice.
      • See how Poland’s daily work and faith entwined at the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
    • Attending a panel discussion at the University of Warsaw exploring opposing ideas about Poland’s future as a modern European State.
    • Get immersed in the local culture with a 2-day Service-Learning Experience with:
      • Helping to reclaim graveyards of minority populations to honor those who have no one left to remember them.
      • Volunteer in area schools and help Polish students practice their English. 

    Course & Program Information

    Course Name: Poland: The Unbreakable Spirit

    Course Number: PCST 360

    Credit Number: 4 credits

    Designation: Humanities (HM) & Intercultural (IC) 

    Course Description:

    This course combines classroom learning at CSB/SJU during CD mod and ends with an experiential component abroad. Poland has a long and turbulent history. This course will provide an understanding of the diverse ways in which history, literature, and the fine arts explore the human condition in Poland’s throughout WWI, WWII, the Solidarity era and modern Poland in the European Union. This course is designed to give students a deeper understanding of the tenacity of the human spirit as we visit Old Town Warsaw, marveling at how the city has been rebuilt after being “razed to the ground.” You will learn about the professors who would not follow Hitler’s proclamation that Poles did not need higher education, and began the underground resistance university where the future Pope John Paul II, Karol Wojtyła, was a student. We will visit sites that played important roles during these times, but also visit places that inspired beauty, hope, and courage.

    Program Information:

    While in Poland, a student will  experience Polish culture, traditions, music, and faith. We will examine our own lived experiences through the experiences of people who have endured much. No musical experiences is necessary to participate, only an appreciation for music and its unique form of connecting to others is required.

    Program Cost & Financial Considerations

    The estimated program fee is $3,025. The billing for the entire cost of this course is on the regular schedule with the CSB/SJU billing system for spring semester. Students participating in this course are eligible to apply all their state, federal, and institutional scholarships, grants, and loans to the cost of this course. While grants and scholarships do not increase based on the cost of the course, you may have access to additional loans.

    The program fee includes:

    • Housing while the program is in session
    • Program-related excursions, entrance fees, & transportation
    • Local transportation for program related activities
    • Some group meals
    • CISI Medical & Evacuation Insurance

    The program fee does not include:

    • Passport application fee ($145)
    • Round trip international airfare
    • Some food/meal expenses
    • Non-program related travel or housing

    The Short-Term Abroad Financing Brochure includes estimates for the items not included in the program fee, along with information regarding scholarships for study abroad.

    See which Scholarships you may qualify for with participating on this program. 


    Students will stay in double-occupancy hotel or hostel accommodations while in Poland. Wifi is available at all hostel/hotel locations.

    Program Director Information

    Dr. Susan Vollbrecht serves as Assistant Professor of Music Education and Director of the Women's Choir. Her research explores creating community through singing, and how singing can provide a unique way to experience self in the world. She has spent several summers in Poland teaching at English-Immersion Fine Arts camps. Contact Dr. Susan Vollbrecht