T5092 – John Paul II in his Polish Context

Lublin, Czestochowa, Krakow, Warsaw
Faculty: Paul Wojda and Aga Michalak
01/03/19 – 01/30/19

This course examines the life, thought, and ongoing significance of Karol Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II against the background of the history, culture, and politics of his native Poland.

Academic Overview
John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła) was the first Slavic Pope in the history of the Catholic Church and the first non-Italian to occupy that office in more than 450 years. His long pontificate (1978-2005) witnessed profound changes within the Catholic Church, global Christianity, and world affairs (e.g., the collapse of the Soviet Union), in all of which this son of Poland played an important if not decisive role. This course will examine the origins, development, and legacy of Wojtyła’s thought in the context of the history, culture, and politics of his native Poland. Students will attend lectures at the Catholic University of Lublin (where Wojtyła taught), delivered by that university’s faculty (in some cases, people who knew and worked with Wojtyła). In addition to visits to sites in and around Lublin, there will be excursions to Cracow (where John Paul II served as Archbishop), Częstochowa, and Wadowice (his birthplace).

Program Fee/Cost
Program fee includes: Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, continental breakfast, twenty two mid-day meals and ten dinners. (subject to change).

Students from the University of St. Thomas must have taken THEO101 and PHIL115.

Required Readings
Selections from the philosophical, theological, and literary writings of Pope John Paul II supplemented by occasional readings from secondary sources.

Reflection papers (5% and 10%):                     15%
Reflection Journal:                                           20%
Poetry recitation:                                             10%
Final paper                                                      25%
Final (oral) examination                                    20%   
Participation (including language study)             10%

Faculty Directors
Paul J. Wojda, University of St. Thomas, (651) 962-5385, e-mail: PJWojda@StThomas.edu

Description of Faculty Directors

Professor Wojda, Associate Professor in the Theology Department at the University of St. Thomas, has a B.A. in Government/Political Theory and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Ethics/Moral Theology. He studied abroad as an undergraduate in Austria and has taken UST students to Poland and Ukraine for four previous J-term courses.


Aga Michalak is the Interim Director of Enrollment at HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs). She holds a B.S. in Biology, an M.A. in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education, and an M.B.A. Born in Gdańsk, she spent her childhood in the Tricity at the cusp of Poland’s social, political, and economic change. Immigrating then to the US, she first made her home in Chicago. Following these intercultural experiences and study in Costa Rica and Spain, Aga began working in the field of education abroad, dedicating ten years to DePaul University’s Study Abroad Program and five to University of St. Thomas’ Office of Study Abroad. She is looking forward to serving as an Assistant Program Director on this course while introducing students to Polish culture and people through its unique topic.

Application Procedures & Deadline
· Select the How to Apply link to start your online application.
· All applications received by your home institutions priority deadline will be sent to the faculty immediately. Applications will be taken after that deadline for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1, 2018.

Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2018

For more information on course content, contact Paul Wojda
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.


Travel Packet

Travel ePacket (Link)

Click the image at left to access the course Travel Packet. The ePacket contains important information about traveling abroad, including your itinerary, frequently asked questions, participant letter and culturegram.

Preliminary Itinerary will be posted by October 16.
Final Itinerary will be posted by December 7.


The Orientation process includes 3 components:
– an online self-study and quiz on the UMAIE student handbook.
– an online orientation webinar conducted by your faculty director(s)
– an on-site orientation upon arrival.

You are REQUIRED to participate in and complete all 3 steps within the deadlines specified below. Failure to do so may result in your removal from the course.

Student Handbook and Online Quiz

2018 Student Manual (PDF)

We have put together this handbook to provide you with helpful information for planning and spending your time abroad. The handbook is also your primary study guide to pass your online quiz. There are excellent tips in this handbook, and it is organized in a way we hope will be user-friendly and straightforward.

Please carefully read the UMAIE student handbook and complete the quiz on the UMAIE student handbook by October 20, 2018.


quiz_thumbYou can access the online quiz through your online application by logging in to your school’s study abroad website. Complete the 2019 UMAIE Participant Quiz under Assessments on your online application portal.


 Orientation Webinar

The online orientation webinar for this course is on:

Monday, November 5, 2018 – 7:00pm-8:30pm

Your participation is required. Please review the sign-in instructions below and make yourself available to participate on this date.

Click the webinar icon below to access the launch and sign-in screen for Zoom.

Instructions (PDF)

Instructions (PDF)

Webinar Link (Zoom)


(Alternate Access to Webinar)

Jerry Stenger is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: T5092: John Paul II in his Polish Context – Wojda/Michalak
Time: Nov 5, 2018 7:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://stthomas.zoom.us/j/279789612
Or Telephone:
    Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
        US: +1 646 876 9923  or +1 669 900 6833  or +1 877 369 0926 (Toll Free) or +1 877 853 5247  (Toll Free)
    Meeting ID: 279 789 612
    International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/cww1bNVsq

Participants are required to bring their Student ID card with them on the course to qualify for reduced student entrances at many sites. Without your ID, you could be responsible to pay any difference in entrance fees.