The Independent

Exchange Student Experience Can Change Lives

Aleksandra Bomba, Exchange Student

September 19, 2012

Students considering the next move in their future career should be aware of opportunities available to them that are both worldly and academic. Studying abroad is a way to build up experience with other cultures and languages while having fun at the same time. Many universities around the world offer programs for international students. A quick search of almost any Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) departmental billboard will find flyers advertising precisely that. However there is a university with whom NEIU has had a cooperative agreement with for years that NEIU students do not seem to know about. It is the University of Warsaw (UoW), ranked the best university in Poland. Cooperation between NEIU, the UoW, and Warsaw School of Economics started in 2003. The core of the program is for students to attend for one semester in the partner school overseas. Having a partnership between universities means that a semester of studying abroad counts as normal class credits. Students do not have to take a leave of absence to study abroad. Some of the course that can be studied in English at UoW are psychology, international relations, and environmental management. Those and many more are listed at www.uw.edu.pl. The first thing an NEIU student should do to apply for the program is visit Wojciech Włoch, the Coordinator of International Partnerships at NEIU at LWH, room 8A. He will help start the process and answer any questions. He says that showing a student how to get one of the most valuable experiences of they many have is a true calling. Włoch said ”I strongly recommend studying abroad. Nothing broadens peoples' horizons further. It really opens up your head.” Making a decision over such a big step in life is not easy. The Association of Polish – American Cooperation is an organization helping University of Warsaw and NEIU students in their process of studying abroad coming true. Information for all interested students can be found on their website www.apac.org. ‘It takes a long time to prepare for studying in the foreign country, I will not hide that. But it is extremely worthwhile” said Gosia, an exchange student from Poland who came for a previous semester at NEIU. Poland is an interesting country with a rich history and a wealth of noteworthy people to claim as countrymen. Nicholas Copernicus (who first concluded that the Sun is the center of Universe), John Paul II (the first non-Italian pope in the history) or Lech Wałęsa (the head of the Solidarity movement who caused the collapce of Soviet Union and whom Lech Wałęsa Hall is named after) are some examples of great people born in Poland. It is a country in the center of Europe, and that locality had a huge influence on its economy and history. While Poland has one of the hardest languages to learn, there is nothing to worry about as almost all young Polish people speak English, and Poland is a country of people  known for their great hospitality. There is nothing better for a student to invest in than broadening their horizons by going abroad. Students from NEIU have this opportunity, and Poland awaits you....

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