Global Prep — 2018
Jul 4-7, 2018 -> Jul 20-23, 2018 Application deadline: April 1, 2018
As an increasingly popular tourist destination, Poland has become especially open to foreign visitors. Many people, especially those in their teens and twenties, speak excellent English and enjoy interacting with Americans. On this Global Prep program, you’ll get a taste of the country’s enthusiastic hospitality as you learn about the diversity of Poland’s cultural customs, tastes, and perspectives. To experience the many sides of Polish life, you’ll tour the cities of Krakow and Warsaw and then venture out into the countryside to appreciate nature. You’ll also have the chance to engage with local culture by taking language lessons and making your own clay pottery. As you and your friends explore Poland’s undiscovered charms, you just might fall in love with the country’s fairy-tale architecture and welcoming atmosphere.
Your journey will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet the other members of your group. Then you’ll travel together with your Group Leader to Krakow. You’ll be welcomed by AFS Staff or Volunteers at the airport and then brought to your arrival orientation for some basic cultural tips. You’ll have time to settle in before wandering through Krakow’s picturesque streets, popping in and out of pottery shops and sleek modern stores along the way.
As you explore Krakow with your group, you’re bound to find a city alive with history and lots of delicious foods to taste. To gain insight into Krakow’s past, you’ll see the Jewish quarter and one-time ghetto. You and your group will learn about Poland’s role in World War II by taking a trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau, which will provide unparalleled insight into a troubled period in world history. You’ll also get to know Krakow’s unique history by touring the old communist section of the city and going for a drive in colorful vintage cars.
The next stop on your journey will be Warsaw, where you’ll see some of the city’s lush gardens, ornate palaces, and interactive museums like the Copernicus Science Center. You and your group will also get to visit the beautiful Old Town that was meticulously rebuilt brick by brick after World War II. In between exploring these historic gems and modern wonders, you’ll learn some Polish in conversational language classes.
During your first week in Poland, your home base will be a charming high school campus located just outside of Krakow. You’ll stay in a private dorm with your Global Prep group, taking part in campus activities with students from around the world. You can expect to share a bedroom with one to three students of the same gender. After taking the train to Warsaw, you and your group will settle into a hostel in the heart of the city, from which you can explore grandiose churches and modern shopping centers catering to every interest from vegan food to traditional costumes. Finally, during your time in Mazury, you’ll stay with your group in a spacious bed and breakfast, which is located next to a bustling lake-side town and scenic hiking trails.
After your adventures in Krakow and Warsaw, you’ll take the train to the Mazury Lake District in the north of the country. There you’ll experience a completely different facet of Polish culture in a calm small town. You and your group will get to craft your own traditional pottery, go sailing, take bike rides, and explore the lakes and forests of Poland—complete with a visit to the territory of the European Bison! At the end of your trip, you can take a breath and chill out surrounded by nature, fresh air, and charming old homes.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.