Today is our last day in Poland, and tomorrow we’ll be back in the States. It’s hard to think that we have been here less than a month but travelled to more than half a dozen locations across the country. Dr. Anes asked us in Gdansk what our favorite location was, and about half the group, including myself, answered Kraków. I do not think that I would want to change my answer, but now that the trip is over, it really is hard to pick a favorite place. Similarly, it’s hard to pick a favorite activity that we’ve been able to experience. While some days were very tiring, emotionally or physically, looking back on the past three weeks it all seems very worthwhile. We were able to attend lectures from amazing professors Ela Durys, Michal Bilewicz, and Stan Obirek, and experienced many locations with very knowledgeable tour guides. We even had the opportunity to meet someone recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations for helping to save a Jewish family during the Holocaust. Before getting here I was not entirely sure what to expect, but there was not a single day that I did not enjoy while being here.
I feel that I have learned a lot not only about Poland’s history, but about contemporary Poland and how it has been formed into its modern state. Much like America, there seems to be a lot to worry about for many people, but I would like to think that it will not last forever. With rising rates of nationalism and fear of outsiders, I’m glad that we are able to take part in a trip like this, and broaden our horizons a little more than they were before. I believe that anyone who is able should come visit places like Poland, where one can learn that a troubled past does not dictate a troubled future or present. I’m beyond grateful that I have been able to take part in this trip, and I can only pray that in two years, another group of students will have similar experiences. Thank you to Drs. Anes and Wright.