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international programs

Krakow, Poland

program description


The City

The former capital of Poland, Krakow is proud of its reputation as one of the great intellectual centers of Europe. Both the revolutionary Copernicus and the virtuous Pope John Paul II studied in the Jagiellonian’s venerable halls. Talents such as Frederick Chopin and Ignacy Paderewski, film director Roman Polanski, and writers like Nobel Laureates Czeslaw Milosz, and Isaac Bashevis Singer all found themselves influenced by Krakow’s cultured atmosphere. The main market square—Rynek Glowny— at the center of Old Town was the largest square in all of Europe when it was built throughout the sixteenth century. In 1978 this area became one of the first 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.The old Jewish quarter in the district of Kazimierz, with its 16th-century synagogues and remarkable cemeteries, is testimony to Krakow’s importance in Jewish history. A short distance from Krakow is the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Other nearby important sites include castles, Gothic cathedrals, and the stunning subterranean world of the Wieliczka Salt mines. Hikers can also wander the limestone gullies of Ojców National Park and skiers can try the slopes of nearby Zakopane.

The University

Founded in 1364, Jagiellonian University is the second oldest European institution of higher learning, and the highest ranked university in Poland. Today the university accommodates almost 46,000 students and 4,000 faculty members in an international climate. A range of English language courses is available in selected departments.

The Program

Founded in 1992, the Centre for European Studies offers a special program designed for international undergraduates taught in English. The interdisciplinary program covers the history, sociology, political science, and culture of Central and Eastern Europe in a wider continental perspective. Each lecture course requires 40 hours of classroom time and a written exam or term paper. BC students take at least four lecture courses and at least one language each semester. Instruction in elementary Russian, German, French, and Spanish is available for students whose Polish is already at an advanced level.

Orientation & Academic support

BC students receive an introduction to the country, culture, and academic program, as well as practical information about living in Krakow. Tutors offer help and academic advice, and tutorials in English may be arranged on subjects of special interest.


Students are housed in dormitories near the Centre for European Studies.


Study trips are organized in and around Krakow and elsewhere in Poland. The Centre for European Studies also organizes trips to cities in other Central and Eastern European countries.