01Jan2018Back to Photo Gallery
Cultural Tour to Poland 2018
Appreciating the Polish Culture - Warsaw & Kraków
Poland, or Polska in Polish, is a nation rich in history and the land of many a legend. Prosperous and proud, it has been overrun throughout much of its history, and most recently by the Nazis in the first part of the last century and then by Soviet-imposed Communism for much of the latter. As with so many other countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Poland has survived its past depredations and political legacies to rebuild itself anew. Its capital, Warsaw, has been nicknamed ‘The Phoenix City’ which serves as a symbol for the country’s rebirth, the Phoenix being that mythical creature which rose from the ashes to be reborn.
Although Warsaw was almost completely destroyed during World War II, it recovered and has since developed into a unique, modern yet historical city. The second city, Kraków, was once the capital of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland; Kraków Old Town, or Stare Miasto, boasts many stunningly impressive historical sites of medieval origin.
During a 10-day trip in early January this year, a group of students and academic staff members from Centennial College ventured to this country. On what was an unforgettable excursion, they visited Auschwitz, the former concentration/ extermination camp, built by the occupying Nazis to accommodate Jews and other hapless prisoners in the Second World War. Auschwitz and similar camps in the region serve as chilling reminders of the horrors of war, the constant fear and threat of death, and the darkest sides of humanity.
The group also called on three local universities to engage in ‘civic diplomacy’ with local students. In the context of China's 'Belt and Road' initiative, Poland is seen as the “gateway to Europe”. as an important partner in the development of the future Eurasian economy. The students talked about their different cultures and historical backgrounds, enjoying a range of activities and sharing enough to sow the seeds of future friendship and co-operation.
The trip to Poland offered valuable insights into a different culture and into a country that has played and continues to play a vital role in the furtherance of the European project.