YORK, Pa. (WHTM) — York College of Pennsylvania Nursing students will now have the opportunity to take their education abroad to Poland.

Students in Dr. Klaudia Cwiekala-Lewis’ Community Health course have the opportunity to learn firsthand how the healthcare system in Poland works, thanks to their professor’s connections.

In Jan. 2023, four students, along with Cwiekala-Lewis and Director of Faculty Development and Global Initiatives Holly Sypniewski, traveled to Poland to visit the State University of Applied Sciences in Konin (SUAS). York signed a formal student exchange agreement with the university back in 2021.

“In the spring of 2022, we created an online global experience that allowed our students to ‘meet’ with the Polish students to create a case study,” Poland born Cwiekala-Lewis said. “Each group then presented the case study to the other group. The ultimate goal of sharing case studies is to learn how patient care is approached in different countries, as well as to learn about global diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, malaria, Ebola, and others from nurses that are fighting them on the front lines.”

The students learned about the healthcare system in Poland, saw different levels of care (acute to hospital/wellness center), and went to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Visitors from SUAS will come to York in spring. After the visit, Cwiekala-Lewis is looking at upcoming scheduling for students.

“We are looking at scheduling a trip for York students in May, after finals, so that it does not interfere with curricular requirements,” she said. “The trip would count as clinical days for students in the Community Health course, which is also helpful with regard to scheduling.”

The trip to Poland will be available to students in the College’s RN to BSN online program, where Cwiekala-Lewis teaches the same offering. The program may even be available to graduate nursing students.

In addition, Sypniewski participated in the trip to explore the potential for programs other than Nursing to collaborate with SAUS.

“International programs are work-intensive,” said Cwiekala-Lewis. “It’s like when you are looking for a hotel, and you have the option to choose between one with a pool or one without. Many people may not use study abroad but knowing that the option is available makes York College more marketable.”