Students and one of the lecturers in front of a whiteboard

University Krakow, Poland

Blog entry 8 - Between exams and farewell parties

Sun, 26 Jun 2016 | Universität Krakau

Before I started my Erasmus semester, I studied thoroughly the appointment calendar of the University of Krakow, when were the examinations, when did the semester end and so on. Here I gradually noticed, that not all the professors follow the plan and even weeks before the actual exam, they conduct many trials.

This now not only upsets my schedule, but also means that some friends, who have already finished their exams depart soon. Even if you know each other only for a short time, the goodbye is difficult. Although it has been a short, but also an intense time together and experienced a lot together. Particularly it is difficult, when the others are already finished with their duties for the university, but you still have to write essays and study for exams. This then leads to either you sitting indoors at a desk and annoyed that you cannot see your friends on their last night in Krakow or going to the lake with the others, but the bad conscience gnawing at you because you should actually learn.

A few days ago the last great Erasmus event took place. In order to celebrate with people from all around the world for the last time, the organizers, the ESN team from the University had neatly placed the wheel and organized a chic Farewell Gala on a roof terrace, including a concert by cracking Erasmus band, a small breakfast and fantastic views of the Vistula River and Wawel Castle.

All students gave their all for the event, it was a good opportunity to see friends again and the view of the sunrise was priceless. As the sun in Krakow comes up a bit earlier and goes down at the same time as Germany, it can quickly happen that there is light outside, just as you have gone to bed.

What helps in acute pain while learning? Of course, always make plans for the time after. After the end of the semester I will take a little trip through the Baltics and would like to see the cities Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. Before that, I have a few free days in Krakow and there are a lot of things that you can do here in the summer. In addition to bicycle trips along the Vistula, it is always worth to go to the lake "Zakrzówek”, definitely not only I go there, but also many other Cracow haunt it in the summer, even if not as mentioned above, as not everyone has one hundred percent time.

Whether grilling is permitted in the domestic Balcony, doubted my roommate and I strongly. A definite yes or no, we could not get from our Polish friends till now. But since the police liked to suddenly stand before the door (just that sometimes times you laughed too loud at dinner with a few friends), we tried to be rather exclusive. Our balcony was much nicer, as it directly goes out to the courtyard, it is also on the campus of Akademia Górnizco-Hutnicza. Unlike the Jagiellonian University, the buildings are actually distributed throughout the city, in the scientific and technical university AGH all buildings and residences are centrally located on a huge campus. Amidst there is a large meadow in the summer, not only for people living there, but also for the young people from the entire Krakow frequently visit, because here anything goes - from grilling, alcohol drinking in the open, to listen to music or make up the middle of the night. No wonder this is a popular meeting place for students in Cracow, in the university that you actually study in regardless.

A never-ending-another distraction from learning, is the calendar of Krakow. It's just that there is always some exciting thing that you would like to visit, such as the last film festival, the Festival of Film Music, the Arab culture days or the long night of synagogues, which I visited. For one night all synagogues in Krakow were open for interested visitors, even those that are normally only to be used for religious purposes and not visited. In addition to free admission to the museum in the former main synagogue, there were also small exhibitions in other buildings, workshops and even a hip-hop concert.

There is already a festival to get a foretaste of the Jewish Culture Festival, which will take place in the summer for ten days and fortunately which I will at least get to visit a little. All over the city, one can observe that Krakow also already prepared for another big party:  The World Youth Day in late July, which is approaching fast and represents a huge challenge for the city.

It is both about security issues - homes along the roads through which the Pope will travel, have been investigated by the police - as well as to the organization on the whole. It is expected to attract two million pilgrims. Where all those will sleep, is unclear and it is difficult for me to imagine how a city's infrastructure with just 800,000, in the face of such a visitor volume is not to break down. The population of Krakow is clear that they do not want to be in town at that time and many have already made plans, where they would go to escape the major Church event. At the Mariacki Church on the market square gives a countdown before months, which counts the days until WYD. A bit is the same view as the countdown to the Erasmus students, because until then none of us will most likely be more here. It makes a bit sad, that since the definite countdown and when the church walks past and sees how small the number has become, in my early days here, there were still more than one hundred ...

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