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Semester Abroad at Tischner European University, Krakow, Poland

Krakow is not a paradox, it is a true magic

by Boryana Raynova

To describe Krakow and my reflections towards it is pleasant, challenging, emotional and important task most probably because Poland and I managed to created relation which can not and should not be described in few words. Even though it will not be easy to escape from sentimentalism and subjectivism, I will try to focus on the practical parts of my stay there and leave the best of the rest to be felt, experienced and lived individually.

Firstly, Krakow never sleeps. The fact that it is full with young people thanks to huge numbers of universities makes it alive and cheerful even in the very cold and dark parts of the day – students are everywhere, anytime. However, the city is still not that crowded and full of tourists no matter that you can hear variety of different languages in the Europe’s largest medieval market square. Here you could find plenty of charming clubs playing jazz, rock, ethno, alternative or just bookshop where you could enjoy the discussion of deep philosophy and mysticism.

The paradox is that even though it is a very social place you can have your privacy. Krakow offers you quite, calm and spiritual atmosphere. Kazimierz, the Jewish district in Krakow could be qualified as one of the most particular and interesting places. Just walk around the historical synagogues and churches while having zapekanka – cheap but real good food, having a hot wine in one of the cafes, each particular with its exceptional and unique decoration.  Then take a walk by Vistula river next to the Wawel castle and explore one of the highest ranked monuments of Polish history.

As for a girl who comes from the sunny seaside of Bulgaria, the cold weather in Poland is not my type of tea but the experience to survive in the temperature of minus twenty degrees is a personal victory. However, the cold feeling of the weather is compensated with the warmness of people and their friendly, hospitable and welcoming attitude. If you are a type of person who is kind of lazy, complains, likes to give an opinion without much of experience, I believe you would feel good in Poland, especially in the company of people who share similar interests and vodka, of course J

Paradoxically, there is a high professional, accurate, loyal and supportive way of living and working. Tischner European University is an example of academic institution where those characteristics are priorities. It is a relatively young private university which uses modern and innovative teaching methods combine with the good theoretical preparation and motivated, inspirational teachers. You might not be buried  with never-ending amount of readings and writings but I can guarantee that whatever you read, you will remember it!

The academic program includes some trips to Auschwitz, Zakopane, salt mines and famous Oskar Schindler’s factory. Every way to get out of the city, have some relax around the nature, discover something new and interesting is recommended. It will put you close to the local Polish culture and traditions and I am pretty sure you will not be bored.

Krakow is not a paradox, it is a true magic. I asked myself what makes it such a heavenly place? Once you feel the spell of the city the only question which remains actually is: When are you coming back ?

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