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From left, David Ames, Matthew Parkhurst, Candice Myruski and Allison
Rice, participating in a panel at the History Meeting House in Warsaw.
1:30 p.m., May 15, 2013--University of Delaware students can do
anything they put their minds to, as demonstrated by graduate student
Allison Rice, who developed and led a 10-day study abroad trip to Poland over spring break.
She and eight fellow graduate students from the School of Public Policy and Administrations
public administration, historic preservation and urban affairs and
public policy programs examined post-World War II cultural
revitalization and architectural preservation in Warsaw and Krak??w.
We studied memorials, both Polish and Jewish, to discover how these
towns remember a very negative past, how they rebuilt and how they dealt
with the Communist aspects and identity that no longer exist, Rice
Beginning in Old Town, Warsaw, the students studied the infusion of
modern architecture, built upon medieval foundations. During World War
II, German troops invaded Poland, creating numerous Jewish ghettos and
systematically leveling heavily cultured areas in an attempt to
extinguish Polish nationalism and Jewish culture.
Post-war reconstruction efforts, especially in Old Town, were rapid,
with some buildings erected in a day and many based off pre-war
photographs due to limited architectural documentation.
One of the main motivating factors for me was to see so many
different buildings and architectural styles, because it is something we
dont get to see in the U.S., which is a relatively new country, said
Candice Myruski, graduate student in historic preservation. But Im
Polish, she added, so it was interesting to study my family
The students conducted research while abroad, and as historic
preservation student Alex Tarantino explained, pre-war Warsaw was a hub
for Jewish culture. But you wouldnt know it, she said, because the
systematic murder of the Jews in Poland during the war left little
evidence their culture ever existed, particularly in Krak??w.
At the time, much of Krak??w was left standing because the Nazis
wanted to use the city as a headquarters. Some buildings were remodeled
while others went untouched by the war, giving the town a medieval
The group toured Jewish memorials in Warsaw and the few commemorative
monuments in Krak??w, including the Nowy Plac Zgody (New Concordia
Square) memorial, which features dozens of empty chairs in the Podgorze
square to represent those who were killed and never returned home. In
addition, a wall, over six-feet high, on one side of a Jewish cemetery
was erected from pieces of broken tombstones.
Other sites the group visited included the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps.
Urban affairs and public policy
student Matthew Parkhurst found the bitter-cold weather and unguided
walk within Birkenau to be a deeply moving experience, allowing for
quiet thought and remembrance, as did other UD students as they walked
through both camps, witnessing piles of possessions from Holocaust
In addition to tours, the study abroad group spoke with locals and
attended lectures on the history and legends of Krak??w, historic
preservation public policies, cultural development and tourism at the
Center for European Studies at Jagiellonian University and the
International Culture Center.
Allison put together a really great program of different lectures.
We heard from people who live in Krak??w and know about the preservation
history, Myruski said.
As an undergraduate, Rice studied abroad in Poland for a year. It
was really important experience for me, and I wanted to study abroad
again, she said. However, none of the study abroad programs fit my
With the guidance of her adviser, David Ames, director of UDs Center for Historic Architecture and Design
and co-director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, Rice
organized the entire trip over 18 months, coordinating with contacts in
Poland she made as an undergraduate.
Allison did a great job organizing this trip. She explored it and
wrote a proposal, and I supported her. The topic she chose proved to be
amazing, because the cities were treated almost completely opposite. The
biggest learning experience was just being there. It is a completely
different environment, Ames said.
The University of Delaware study abroad program began in 1923 when
eight UD students sailed to France for a year of culturally immersive
education. The Institute for Global Studies (IGS) is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the study abroad program through a variety of programs.
UD is a national leader in study abroad, ranking third among doctoral
institutions in student participation, at nearly 35 percent.
Article by Sarah E. Meadows
Originally published by UDaily
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