Have you ever wanted to travel abroad, but also wanted to get credits towards your degree at the same time? Well, Eugenia Sojka from the University of Silesia might be the person you have been looking for.
Earlier this month, Sojka held an information session in the Abbotsford campus’s Global Lounge to share information about her home university in Katowice, Poland. Sojka is the director of the Canadian Studies Centre and Institute of English Cultures and Literatures at the university, and is hoping to drum up some students to attend the University of Silesia in upcoming semesters as part of a partnership with UFV. (The University of Silesia is one of more than 50 universities UFV has partnerships with in the study abroad program. These partnerships traverse the globe, from Australia all the way to the United Arab Emirates.)
For some, the thought of studying abroad can easily bring dreaded dollar signs to mind, but within the partnership program student fees are paid to UFV, and are the same as if the student was staying here in the Fraser Valley. In terms of Silesia, Sojka noted that living costs are not too high either, with housing only costing about $200/month on average to rent.
In her presentation, Sojka ran down the need-to-know points about the university: its location, regional attractions, and study options: the university offers quite a few English courses, while other courses can be done in English as a directed study. Most of these English offerings are found within Sojka’s fields at the Canadian Studies Centre and English Cultures and Literatures.
However, Sojka noted that if you were to have a strong itch to fully immerse yourself in Polish culture, there are intensive Polish language courses through the School of Polish Language and Culture at the university. Sojka mentioned these have traditionally been quite successful.
“They have a special program and we know that it works,” Sojka said. “Students come from various places all over the world, and after one year they are able to pursue their studies in Polish … it’s quite magical.”
In terms of regional attractions, local art galleries and sporting or concert venues were brought up, as well as various student groups and associations at the university. However, Sojka’s main points revolved around the ease of accessibility to the rest of Europe from the university.
“Once you are in Europe it’s very inexpensive [to travel],” she said, mentioning that she once caught a flight to Milan, Italy for only eight dollars, and that she had to pay “more to get to the airport” than for her flight. In conjunction with this, she pointed out that Krakow is only 65 kilometres away (about a 40-minute drive), and is a major hub for transport in Europe, while also being a must-see city.