This summer, Dr. Linda Kean, Director of the School of Communication, traveled to Krosno State College in Poland for a two-week summit on migration and narration, making connections with other professors from around the world. Another focus of her visit was to learn about educational opportunities in Poland as the School of Communication develops a partnership of team-taught courses utilizing the global classroom, as well as creating a new summer study abroad program.
Kean spent her time primarily at Krosno State College in Krosno, but also visited Jagiellonian University in Krakow. These two universities, plus a site in Slovakia, have been chosen for the study abroad program in summer 2013. Both institutions offer courses and degrees of study in English and Communication, but each has its own respective atmosphere. Students who participate in the summer program will have the opportunity to compare their experiences in the United States with students from other countries and have the chance to become familiar with two diverse regions of Poland. Both undergraduate and graduate students can apply for the program.
“This program really makes sense for our undergraduate students. Instead of trying to fit study abroad into the first few years of college, or saving foundations courses for the end, there is now a global opportunity for students to take core communication classes abroad,” Kean said.
The graduate-level study offered through the study abroad program is focused on intercultural communication in the health context. Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and meet with members of the medical communities and also learn from individuals who have direct experience with the health care system in Poland. Throughout the time abroad, students will also be able to investigate how culture impacts communication in the health care setting.
One of the most interesting parts of Kean’s journey was her visit to Krakow. She traveled to Schindler’s Factory, which has since been turned into a museum documenting the five years it was used during World War II. “Visiting the museum was interesting, but I found that there was so much more to this historical city than just its occupation during WWII,” Kean said. “Krakow is over 1,000 years old. There is a square in the center of the city, with such beautiful architecture. I was really surprised at how beautiful the city truly is.”
During the Narration and Migration summit hosted by Krosno State College, , Kean’s presentation focused on the depiction of Latinos in United States media. Professors from six other countries presented as well, including faculty from Spain, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Hungary, and Poland presenting on ways in which migration is presented including literature, music, and film.
“I liked this particular program because it includes participation from diverse countries of the European Union,” Kean said. “When I was there, there were seven different countries interacting, instead of just Americans interacting with Polish natives and I learned a great deal in two weeks.”
Some of the professors Kean connected with had experienced communist rule change over to democracy. “It was interesting to learn first-hand what it was like to go through such an extreme political change,” Kean said. “I think our students will learn a lot if they choose to take advantage of this wonderful study abroad opportunity.”
Students who want to experience intercultural communication in Eastern Europe can join faculty from the School of Communication in summer 2013 as they study the ways in which various cultures create and share meaning.