Hi everyone! My name is Sophie Creager-Roberts and I am double majoring in Environment, Sustainability, & Policy and History. In the fall of 2021 I studied abroad in Poland through Syracuse’s Exploring Central Europe program. We explored themes based around identity, history, and politics in the context of Central Europe with particular emphasis on the 20th century. I was drawn to this program because it offered the unique opportunity to gain a truly comprehensive understanding of a country’s past and contemporary influences of its history.

Our professors taught a variety of uniquely interesting and engaging subjects such as Polish language, Central European history, and Polish culture through film. Additionally, I was able to pursue my interest in environmental justice through participating virtually in a course offered at Syracuse’s London Center called “Climates of Resistance.” Intersecting my two experiences, I was able to explore both passions through the ethnographic research projects we produced and published on Urban Labs (http://urbanlabsce.eu). 

What exceeded my initial expectations was our two-week signature seminar and weekend trips which took us to each region and major city of the country. Our journey took us to Gdańsk, Lublin, Kraków, Warsaw, and Berlin (a visit beyond Poland) in addition to excursions to smaller towns in Poland’s countryside where we were hosted by foundations engaged in peacebuilding and reconciliation. These trips bonded our cohort as we collectively navigated rich new spaces while also reckoning with atrocities committed in the same places.

The staff that organized and taught this program were always available to answer questions not only related to academics but were also genuinely invested in our well being. Almost half of our program ate a plant-based diet and our directors went to great lengths so that we could still experience the local cuisine despite our dietary restrictions which was a worry I had pre-departure.

Our phenomenal staff member, Anita, relayed information about activities and cultural events going on within Wrocław (vegan food festivals, museum exhibitions, comedy nights) which helped us become acquainted with the city as a whole. One of my favorite memories was when she had our cohort over to her apartment and taught us how to make pierogi from scratch.

During my three-months in Poland I took my first solo-travel trip, met incredible people from across the world, and gained invaluable knowledge about myself and Central European history. This program is unique in both the academic and personal growth it encourages, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in pursuing either!

Sophie Creager-Roberts ’24

Environment, Sustainability, & Policy and History

Exploring Central Europe: Wrocław, Poland; fall 2021