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Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange Visits UNC-Chapel Hill

June 12, 2019
UNC Global

On May 31, 2019, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosted two representatives from the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA)—Lukasz Wojdyga, director general, and Katarzyna Aleksy, head of the Institutional Programmes Department.

The visit was intended for Wojdyga and Aleksy to learn more about UNC-Chapel Hill, especially language and study abroad offerings related to Poland, and to share resources and support that NAWA can provide. The Study Abroad Office in the College of Arts and Sciences offers two programs in Poland for undergraduate students through API Abroad, an international education provider. Law students can also participate in a summer program in Poland. The college’s Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures (GSLL) currently offers instruction in three levels of Polish, and a master’s in Russian, Eurasian and East European studies is offered through the Curriculum in Global Studies and administered by the Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies. The center also supports Polish studies at Carolina and visiting scholars from Poland through its UNC-Visegrad Studies program, launched in 2016.

Participating from UNC-Chapel Hill were Heather Ward, associate dean for study abroad and exchanges in the College of Arts and Sciences; Lynn Neddo, continental Europe programs director for the college’s Study Abroad Office; Melissa McMurray, international liaison officer for UNC Global; Adnan Džumhur, associate director of the Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies; Eric Downing, professor and interim chair of GSLL; and Stanislav Shvabrin, assistant professor in GSLL.

NAWA was established in 2017 to support academic mobility for Polish higher education. Wojdyga and Aleksy shared information about the resources NAWA can provide, including for study abroad to Poland, for mobility of researchers and faculty, for partnership development with Polish universities and for programming and events related to Poland. Downing was very interested in NAWA’s Teachers Programme—which provides funding for Polish instructors at universities outside of Poland—as a new tenure-track faculty member will join the GSLL department this fall to grow the department’s major in Central European studies.

“UNC-Chapel Hill has invested considerably in Polish Studies, both in curriculum and programming, and we see that in faculty representation across departments, strong enrollment in Polish language classes and the many events on campus focused on Poland,” says Džumhur. “NAWA’s programs present a unique opportunity to build on that foundation and explore long-term partnerships with Polish universities.”

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