Security Studies Offers Study Abroad Program to Poland

Study Abroad

The Department of Security Studies will host its first Study Abroad Program in Poland this summer.

The Department of Security Studies will offer its first Study Abroad program in Poland to explore state internal security, state-sponsored terror, and peacetime and wartime insurgency. The course is approved to count as a three hour honor contract.

“I think Poland provides excellent contexts for homeland security studies from state terror, to counterinsurgency and liberation movements, to population migration, to border security, to crisis management and critical infrastructure protection,” said Assistant Professor Magdalena Denham of the Department of Security Studies, who will lead the program.

Comparative Homeland Security: Poland (SCST 4377/CRIJ 4377) will expose undergraduate students to comparative issues in homeland security through an immersion in the social, political, organizational and cultural contexts of the country. The trip is scheduled for May 22-June 5, but there are two mandatory classes at Sam Houston State University on May 11th and 18th. The cost of the trip is $2,200, which includes lodging, all meals, transportation in the country of destination, and activities such as museum visits, castles, or national parks. The fee does not include tuition or airfare to Poland.

Like the United States, Poland is a border country located within the Schengen Zone, where 26 European counties have abolished borders between their nations; the European border security agency called Frontex has its headquarters in Warsaw. Moreover, Poland also sits on the longest stretch of the defensive border from the east and with countries like Russia. Students will get acquainted and visit border security in the Schengen Zone and experience firsthand challenges related to displacement or migrations.

Moreover, students will witness the legacy of the state-sponsored terror by visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the German Nazi concentration camps where more than 1.1 million men, women and children lost their lives during World War II. Program participants will examine counterinsurgency in war and peace at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, which is dedicated to residents who fought and died for an independent Poland and free capital in 1944, and the Gdansk Museum of the Solidarity Movement, commemorating the 1980 shipyard strike that helped wrangle Poland from communist control.

Finally, the group will see how Poland addresses civil security and crisis management with a visit to the Crisis Management Center in Warsaw and the National Police Academy. Students will be engaged with students from the University of Warsaw and will participate in guest lectures. Sam Houston State University recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Warsaw to provide shared conferences as well as future faculty and student exchanges.

Applications are being accepted now; the trip will be limited to 15 students. An orientation for accepted students will occur in the Spring. For more information about this Study Abroad opportunity, contact Denham at (936) 294-4748 or at

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