and DANIELLE SUGAI, Guest Writer

IMG_1990Many students dream of traveling to a foreign country during their college career. For a group of UM-Dearborn students, that dream became a reality this summer.

On May 28, Professor Ann Muller and Professor Jamie Wraight took a group of thirteen UM-D students to Poland for a month. The trip integrated classes, historical site visits, as well as a variety of cultural experiences.

Professor Muller was excited to teach the students in a place rich with history.

“It was inspiring as well as challenging to teach in these cities,” Muller said. “My expectations and plan as to what students should learn did not always align with their sense of history.”

English major Taylorann Lenze was moved by the beautiful displays left by loved ones in Poland’s cemeteries.

“There’d be flowers, gardens and wreaths, and mainly just gorgeous candles that would have a colored glass outside and then a candle inside,” Lenze said. “And it was so warm and beautiful… It felt more loving and more joyful. It was really beautiful; it just struck me.”

One main focus of the trip was the former concentration camp, Auschwitz. Students who visited this site found it to be quite an emotional experience.

“It was really frustrating for me because it felt like some sort of weird tourism place,” Lenze said. “Like people taking selfies at a former concentration camp.”

Visiting the historical and cultural sites of Poland allowed students on the trip to immerse themselves in Polish traditions and culture.

Ryan Blome, another student on the trip, found differences between the United States and Poland intriguing.

“Poland is still very classical in the traditional sense,” Blome said. “ They are very strong on traditions and religious beliefs. That was a big thing that stood out. It was mainly the younger generations who could more speak English,” he noted.

“Gdansk was by far my favorite city,” Blome said. “Just because of the culture it had and the architecture — the buildings, being on the coast of the Baltic Sea, visiting the largest church in Europe. I would definitely go back to Poland.”

Students of all majors and backgrounds were allowed to travel to Poland. For many of the students, this was their first study abroad trip and each student had their own unique reason for going.

“I wanted to go to experience another country, especially Poland,” Blome said. “ You don’t hear too many people going to Poland. It sounded like a great opportunity to go travel around Europe for a month. I am an English major and a German minor, so learning about Poland — learning about history in general — will help my knowledge of English and is just fascinating.”