Kraków, Poland
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Kraków Courses - 2020-21 Yearlong

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of 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.


You will enroll in 12 to 18 credits per semester comprised of courses in Polish language and culture, Jewish/Holocaust studies, Central European studies, economics, politics, and international business. Although enrollment in a language course is not a requirement of the program, it is strongly recommended as it will increase your understanding of Polish culture and equip you with language and cross-cultural skills that will be of assistance in your day-to-day life abroad. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

Fall Semester

Taught in English

Polish Language and Culture

International Business

Central European Studies/Politics

Jewish Studies/Holocaust Studies

Spring Semester

Taught in English

Polish Language and Culture

International Business

Central European Studies/Politics

Jewish Studies/Holocaust Studies

To request a course syllabus:

Visiting Professors

Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following US professors are also teaching as Visiting Professors.

Spring Semester:

Dr. Kent Sandoe | California State University, Chico

Courses offered:

Kent Sandoe (PhD, Claremont) teaches information systems. He is passionate about teaching, technology, innovation, and collaboration. He believes that learning occurs best through direct experience. Outside academia, he was an independent IT consultant and worked for large multi-nationals including Cisco, Nokia, and SAP. Most importantly, he loves to travel!

Course Descriptions

Contemporary Jewish Religious Thought

Spring (History, Religious Studies; 300-level; 3 credits)

Discourse is the tension between reason and faith. Generations of thinkers struggled to compromise the contents of the divine revelations present in the sacred literature of Judaism with the results of logical reasoning. The task has been all the more challenging, given the dim borders between these two spheres and the level of details in the strict Jewish laws. The main purpose of this course is therefore to acquaint the students with the most important ideas, currents and thinkers present in contemporary Jewish religious thought, which continues to struggle with this faith-reason tension. These contemporary problems, however, have their roots in the earlier developmental stages of the Jewish culture and modern thinkers eagerly rely on the much older ideas and motifs. In order, then, to fully appreciate the richness and multi-dimensionality of contemporary Jewish thought, it is indispensable to know its origins.

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Economic and Political Institutions of the European Union

Fall (Economics, Political Science; 300-level; 3 credits)

The European Union (EU) is one of the most important aspects of European coexistence. It emerged as a cooperative response to military conflicts. The “community method” was developed to deal with potential political tensions that could turn into open clashes, both among Western European countries and between Soviet and Capitalist blocs. Over time, motives of integration have evolved. Prosperity and economic stability started to be included into the concept of integration. The process of deepening and widening European countries’ cooperation resulted in institutional arrangements. These social, economic and political regulations affect life of European citizens. Its role is also influential on a global scale, as this union accounts for one-fifth of the world’s GDP and one-third of the world trade. The key point to understand how the EU works is to become familiar with its economic and political institutions.

The main objective of the course is to gain an understanding of economic, political and legal aspects of the European Union. This three-dimensional approach to the European integration process is intended to increase students’ knowledge about mechanisms of EU functioning, especially methods of its governance. The aim of the course is also to train students in reading EU legal acts, interpret current events related the EU, and analyse the outcomes of the European countries cooperation, including static and dynamic effects of integration.

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From Medieval to Contemporary: Exploring the Great Art and Architecture of Kraków

Fall (Architecture, Art; 300-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Architecture, Art; 300-level; 3 credits)

The course offers an in-depth introduction to the diversity of artistic achievements, influences, styles, trends and movements observed in the fine arts and architecture in Krakow in the broader context of Europe, in particular Central and Eastern Europe. As the historical capital of Poland has for over a millennium played the role of a major artistic center in this part of Europe and remains the best preserved historic urban complex in Poland included among first inscriptions on the UNESCO World Heritage List, focusing on Krakow offers students a unique opportunity to learn and experience all periods and chapters in the historic development of art and architecture in the Polish lands ranging from Medieval times (Romanesque and Gothic art) throughout Renaissance and Baroque periods up to 19th and 20th century artistic movements. Special attention will be paid to both artistic inspirations and flows from other parts of Europe (e.g. influence of Italian architecture in the early modern times, links with Vienna and other artistic centers in Central Europe in the 19th century, experience of socialist realism at the turn of 1940s and 1950s) and the unique developments observed in the city translating into its artistic impact on art and architecture in other parts of Central and Eastern Europe (e.g. late gothic sculpture, Polish version of art nouveau movement – so-called Young Poland). Tours, field trips and visits to most important heritage sites (e.g. Wawel royal hill, Kazimierz – Jewish-Christian quarter), museums and galleries (galleries of the National Museum, branches of the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow) are a substantial part of the course.

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History of Poland and Europe under Communist Control: 1952-1989

Spring (History; 400-level; 3 credits)

The aim of this course is to present the turbulent history of Central Europe in the second half of the 20th century (1945-1989) against the history of the neighboring states and Europe in general.

Fundamental aim is to show the frame of contemporary history within the background of European history, but also the history of communism in the world. Each period has its own characteristics and these have had, and still have great impact on contemporary countries and their citizens. It is hard to understand Czech, Slovak, Hungarian or Polish political life of the 21st century without reference to each country’s 19th and 20th century histories, to the Second World War, Communism imposed by Stalin and peoples’ struggle against it.

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Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Spring (Entrepreneurship , General Business; 200-level; 3 credits)

Whether creating a new enterprise or exploring a new market, innovation and entrepreneurship are essential skills that are in high demand. In this course, you will develop skills in evaluating, planning, refining, measuring, and communicating new ideas within existing or new enterprises. You will learn to use design thinking, agility, and lean methods to solve real problems. You will explore novel/emerging technologies such as blockchain, IoT, and machine learning. You will measure risk, evaluate opportunities, and apply strategic frameworks aimed at driving change and enhancing performance. The course will be taught in cooperation with experienced entrepreneurs from the local community.

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Intercultural Communication

Fall (Speech Communications; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Speech Communications; 400-level; 3 credits)

Intercultural communication often suffers from barriers, including ambiguity, stereotypes, and prejudice. Bridging cultural differences requires seeking information about the new culture, increasing other-orientation, asking for information, becoming mindful, as well as avoiding making negative judgments about other cultures. This course is designed to further develop students’ competence communicating with people from different cultures. Through development of knowledge, motivation and specific skills discussed in this course, USAC students will acquire and practice intercultural competence needed to successfully complete an international exchange program of their choice.

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International Financial Crises

Fall (Economics, Finance; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Economics, Finance; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course will examine the new socio-economic and geopolitical environment that resulted after 2007/2008 Global Financial Crisis and the effect that the revival of terrorism has made our World a place in permanent crisis. As a result, strategic management has been substituted by crisis management.

The course aims at giving the students an insight into their motivations, and reasons for dealing with crises, that became such a durable feature of our reality. We will also try to elaborate a set of tools based on individual crisis perceptions of students to approach the crises more effectively.

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International Management: Eastern and Central Europe

Fall (Management; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Management; 400-level; 3 credits)

In the course the main issues of management on the international markets will be taught. Theoretical foundations of expansion of companies will be analyzed from the point of view of economic theory and management theory. Following the theoretical introduction, several topics will be discussed in detail - the characteristics of company operating on international markets, corporate strategy on international and global market, the role of manager in the international firm, organizational structure, flow of authority and the process of decision making, corporate governance, etc. Several alternatives of organizational structure will be presented and evaluated. Human resources in the international environment will be scrutinized as the factor playing the decisive role in the success of an international corporation. Management of cross-cultural issues - recruiting, selecting, training and compensating managers will be analyzed. International business negotiation will be analyzed on the basis of theoretical ideas and On the case studies. The universal foundations of international management will be applied in several cases – the universal ones and in the cases associated with specificity of East Central Europe.

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International Marketing

Fall (Marketing; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Marketing; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course will present an overview of the unique aspects of marketing in the international business environment and provide the framework upon which multinational marketing management can be based. Emphasis will be placed on the role of the international marketing manager in the development of marketing strategies for a variety of markets in diverse cultural, political and economic situations. Focus will be on the decision making process in the areas of foreign market analysis, target identification, product planning, promotion and channels of distribution. Marketing issues and marketing implications in a cross-cultural perspective will also be explored.

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Introduction to Database Systems and Analytics

Spring (General Business, Information Systems; 300-level; 3 credits)

In our data-driven world, the ability to identify, manage, and communicate data and information is a highly-valued skill in organizations of all sizes. In this course, you will learn to how to organize, store and retrieve data. Through hands-on practice, you will model organizational processes, develop queries to search and access data, and learn how to maintain integrity and security of database systems. Data analytics and predictive modeling techniques will be reviewed as you develop skills in data visualization and the effective communication of information.

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Introduction to Polish Language

Fall (Other Foreign Language; 100-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Other Foreign Language; 100-level; 1 credit)

Communication, basic grammar and cultural aspect. The instructor supervises model conversations as well as real conversational situations connected with the daily life like: family, hobbies, restaurants, doctor’s visit, Kraków sightseeing etc. describing the reality of life in Poland. This course is also suitable for students who come from families of Polish heritage.

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Jewish Communities in Kraków

Fall (History, Religious Studies; 300-level; 1 credit)
Spring (History, Religious Studies; 300-level; 1 credit)

Description not available at this time.

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Modern Central European and Polish Politics

Fall (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course constitutes the comprehensive analysis of modern Central European and Polish politics and is designed for students with different academic backgrounds, not necessarily those dealing with political science or international relations.

The profile of a student participating in this course assumes strong interest in Central European developments during and after the democratic transformation that started in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989 and was associated with the fall of the USSR.

Nevertheless, to understand Central European politics properly it seems necessary not only to explain what happened in 1989, but also to get acquainted with the main turning points of modern political history of respective countries in this part of Europe. The detailed analysis will cover such countries as Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland as well as other countries that some sources qualify as Central European. Special emphasis will be placed on Poland.

An important part of the course relates to political developments in Central Europe after the enlargements of NATO (1999 and 2004) and the enlargement of the European Union (2004) as well as the current political situation in this part of Europe (e.g. in the context of the internal problems of the EU, migration crises, the threats to democracy, the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism in Europe, etc.).

Great attention will also be paid to analysis of political systems of Central European countries as they represent so called parliamentary regime – quite opposite to the presidential one established in the US constitution.

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Polish Cuisine

Fall (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)
Spring (Nutrition; 200-level; 1 credit)

Description not available at this time.

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Polish Culture, Heritage and History

Fall (History; 200-level; 3 credits)
Spring (History; 200-level; 3 credits)

The course introduces students to most important events, processes and historical figures in Polish history presenting it not only through facts but also using material evidence such as works of fine art and architecture as well as poetry and literature. History of Poland is presented in the broader context of European history with special emphasis placed on its links and parallels with the experiences of other Central and Eastern European countries.

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Polish Language for Daily Communication I

Fall (Other Foreign Language; 100-level; 3 credits)
Spring (Other Foreign Language; 100-level; 3 credits)

This course is designed to introduce you to the Polish language and to provide skills for basic communication, basic grammar and cultural aspect. The instructor supervises model conversations as well as real conversational situations connected with the daily life like: family, hobbies, restaurants, doctor’s visit, Kraków sightseeing etc. describing the reality of life in Poland. This course is also suitable for students who come from families of Polish roots.

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Polish Language for Daily Communication II

Spring (Other Foreign Language; 100-level; 3 credits)

This course is designed to improve your Polish language and to provide skills for more fluent communication, knowledge of grammar and cultural aspect. The instructor supervises model conversations as well as real conversational situations connected with the daily life like: family, hobbies, restaurants, doctor’s visit, Kraków sightseeing etc. describing the reality of life in Poland. This course is also suitable for students who come from families of Polish roots.

The course teaches in the spirit of communication. Grammar and vocabulary are not an end in itself. Their primary motivation is to gain the ability to communicate effectively in Polish.

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The Holocaust: Twentieth-Century Jewish Studies

Fall (History, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (History, Sociology; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course covers the history of Jewish communities in Central Europe since the 12th century. However, it focuses mainly on 20th century events: the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the evolution of succession states and the condition of Jews in each of them, the spread of fascism in Europe and the post-war situation. We will also focus on particular aspects of modern Jewish thought and post-Holocaust theology, the relationship between Judaism and Christianity after the Holocaust and historical aspects of Jewish Poland and Central European Jewry. We will also delve into the "Philosophy of Judaism", and reflect on such luminaries as the American religious thinker Abraham Jehoschua Heschel, philosophers of traditional Judaism, like Buber, Rosenzweig as well as Karl Marx and the French philosopher Jacques Derrida.

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World War II: Kraków under the Swastika

Fall (History; 400-level; 3 credits)

The course examines the history of Krakow under the Nazi regime (1939-1945). Students will read and learn about the wartime experience of Krakow's inhabitants, important political and social change, as well as the transformed infrastructure of the city.

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