Kraków, Poland
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Kraków Courses - 2020 Summer

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 three to seven credits during the Summer session. At least one 3-credit course is required. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

Polish Language and Culture

Taught in English

Jewish Studies/Holocaust Studies

Central European Studies/Politics

Economics/International Business

To request a course syllabus:

Course Descriptions

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

Summer (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

Summer (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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Intercultural Communication

Summer (Speech Communications; 200-level; 1 credit)

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 Management: Eastern and Central Europe

Summer (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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Introduction to Polish Language

Summer (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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Modern Central European and Polish Politics

Summer (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 Economy after Transformation and EU Accession

Summer (Economics; 400-level; 3 credits)

The course is designed to apprehend students with the economic situation of Poland and the key macroeconomic problems they have been faced since the beginning of the transformation processes. Practical problems for economic decision-makers will be presented together with the applied solutions on the relevant theoretical underpinnings. The final macroeconomic policy choices will be presented as constituting an important background for the entrepreneurs (including foreign investors) making the country a relevant business opportunity.

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The Holocaust: Twentieth-Century Jewish Studies

Summer (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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