OSU Study Abroad in Poland

The OSU Study Abroad Program in Poland

In 2008 CONSIRT established, with the OSU Office for International Affairs, the Warsaw Summer School in the Social Sciences (full name, Central and Eastern Europe in Comparative Perspective: Assessing Social and Political Change). This OSU Study Abroad Program, run yearly through the Department of Sociology and hosted in Poland by IFiS PAN, is open to undergraduate and graduate students interested in studying the post-communist countries of Europe in cross-national and historical contexts (warsawsummerschool.wordpress.com).

The program imparts valuable skills. Students conduct independent research; train in statistics to analyze large-scale datasets; find, and apply for, research grants and awards; and gain international experience. Lectures and discussions on social and political change in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) take place on historical walking tours of Warsaw, Lodz, and Krakow and are complemented by visits to important historical spaces, such as the Warsaw Ghetto and Auschwitz, and to interactive history museums, like the Museum of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and POLIN: Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

All students experience the process of research: they design their projects, perform analyses on the POLPAN survey data, document their study in accordance with the data documentation standards of CONSIRT Labs, and write a research paper. So far, the Program taught 84 OSU students from a variety of departments – Sociology, Political Science, International Studies, Public Health, Biology, Anthropology, Pharmacology, Psychology, and Slavic and East European Studies.

During the OSU Summer Semester (May to August), students engage in: (a) Individual research and class meetings with the Summer School instructors at OSU Main Campus (May); (b) Five weeks of intensive training and research in Poland (June & July); and (c) Individual research and consultations with the program’s instructors upon return to OSU (August).

Undergraduates who successfully complete the program earn 12 credits by taking (a) SOC 3549 Statistics in Sociology (3 credit hours), (b) SOC 4998 Undergraduate Research in Sociology (6 credit hours – 3 credits toward one upper-level elective, and 3 credits for internship elective), and (c) SOC 5503 Social Change in CEE (3 credit hours, upper-level elective). In departments outside Sociology, the courses will be considered as equivalent of other similar courses if pre-approved by the appropriate department.

For graduate students, the Program covers (a) training in comparative methods in the social sciences (7850 Sociological Research Methods, 3 credits), and (b) its application to researching social and political change in CEE, subsumed by the 6999 Research for Thesis, or 8999 Research For Dissertation, 7-12 credit hours, depending on classroom contact hours in consultation sessions.

Research Dissemination: After completing the Summer School, many students participate in scientific events to share their projects with the academic community. This includes participation in the Midwest Slavic Conference, the OSU Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, the OSU Fall Undergraduate Research Forum, and CONSIRT-organized events. Some of our undergraduate students also publish their papers:

Cathcart, Taylor. 2018. “The Global Economic Crisis, Economic Distress, and Mental Health in Poland.” Journal of Undergraduate Research at Ohio State (JUROS).

Sayers, Lauren. 2017. “Justice for All? Economic Disadvantage and Trust in Poland’s Judicial System.” Journal of Undergraduate Research at Ohio State (JUROS).

Bola, Oyinda. 2016. “Is the Church a Source of Social Capital? Religiosity and the Size and Quality of Personal Networks,” pp. 191 – 202 in Social Inequality and the Life Course, Eds. K.M. Slomczynski and I. Wysmulek. Warsaw: IFiS Publishers.

Zvavich, Polina. 2014. “Lean-In in Poland: Psychological Determinants of Women’s Labor Market Success.” Journal of Undergraduate Research at Ohio State (JUROS).

Hicks, Megan (with K.M. Slomczynski, advisor). 2011. “Effects of Marital Status on Material Conditions.” Journal of Undergraduate Research at Ohio State (JUROS).