Culture & Integration Events

Meetings with Polish Culture: Tuesday Night Film Screenings


Every Tuesday, beginning at 18:00, CASH organizes film nights at ul. Grodzka 64 room 207. Film nights are a part of a series of events that CASH organizes dubbed Meetings with Polish Culture. We watch a different film by a Polish director or a film that touches on the subject matter of our curriculum. We invite students of Jagiellonian University to engage Polish cinema from various genres and with different cinematic sytles: ranging from avant-garde, art-house cinema, to popular culture. Come and watch very interesting, curious, alluring, beautiful, dystopian, funny, gripping, and thought-provoking films and meet new people. All films are screened in the orignial language with English subtitles. After each film we invite you to discussions relating to the main and crucial topics surrounding the movie screened.

The following is the exemplary schedule of films:

  • Schindler's List by Steven Spielberg
  • Europa, Europa by Agnieszka Holland
  • The Pianist by Roman Polański
  • Kanał (The Sewer) by Andrzej Wajda
  • Człowiek z marmuru (Man of Marble) by Andrzej Wajda
  • Seksmisja (Sex Mission) by Juliusz Machulski
  • Bez Końca (No End) by Krzysztof Kieślowski
  • Człowiek z żelaza (Man of Iron) by Andrzej Wajda
  • Trois couleurs: blanc (Three Colors: White) by Krzysztof Kieślowski


Meetings with Polish Culture: A Highlander Dance through the Mountain Regions of Poland: Orawa, Spisz, and Podhale


For the second weekend of October CASH, the International Student's Office, and the Erasmus Student Network UJ invited all international students of Jagiellonian University along on a 'Highlander Dance through the Mountain Regions of Poland.' This trip to the mountain regions of Orawa, Spisz, and Podhale was organized around the ideas of integration and of engaging the unique Polish highland folk culture. The weekend trip was intended to bring Orientation Week to a most fitting conclusion and all the students, after a week full of orientation and integration events in Kraków, were well prepared to trek outside the city with new friends and to learn about the distinctive highland culture through sightseeing, song, and dance.

The trip began with all 97 of us meeting very early Saturday morning and making our way south to begin our journey and 'Dance.' We made our first stop in the village of Zubrzyca Górna and visited the Orawa Ethnographic Park to come to understand the daily living habits and routines that have existed for centuries, and in some parts still exist today, of the highlanders of the Orawa region. Luck was with us in the morning as the sun shone brightly and the air was surprisingly warmer than usual. Because of this, we had quite a breathtaking view of the stunning Babia Góra mountain (1795 m).

Afterward, we departed for the village of Dębno to pay a visit to the 15th century St. Michael Archangel wooden church. Waiting for us was the jovial local parish priest who was more than delighted to meet with us to present this very old church. After a very witty welcome and introduction, the local parish priest explained to us the history and art of the church and he was very pleased with the questions that were posed to him. Because of the very interesting and intelligent questions asked of the priest, he remarked that there was no doubt that the group was comprised of students of Jagiellonian University.

Upon leaving Dębno, we set forth toward the village of Niedzica to tour the 14th century castle located in a beautifully picturesque area on the edge of Czorsztyn lake. It was in this castle, owned at various times by different noble families of Magyar, Slovkian, and Polish ethnolinguistic descent, that the Highland Robber of highland robbers, Janosik (the Slovakian, not Polish, Robin Hood), was imprisoned and escaped from to return to his beloved Maryna. We also learned that baldness is also caused by pushing princesses out of castle windows. For the explanation to this legend, you must visit this aesthetically pleasing castle.

Night was already falling, and unfortunately so was the rain, when we left Niedzica for Zakopane at the foot of the majestic Tatra mountains. There can be no doubt that the Tatra mountains have an incredible effect on the heart's mind and eyes, and when we arrived the clouds had cleared, the moon shone vividly, and we were welcomed to Zakopane by an intense silhouette of Giewont mountain.

After dinner, we were on our way to the highlander integration party at Ciotka (aunt) Bułeckula's inn (karczma), decorated in the time-honoured highlander way. Already waiting to greet us were the folk orchestra along with folk dancers from the Cracow Student Highland Folk Song and Dance Ensemble 'Skalni,' all dressed in traditional folk costume. Ciotka, also known as Podhale's Aunt and the Queen of Podhale, opened the party with an authentic highlander warm welcome and reminding each person in the group that she was now everyone's aunt and to please address her as 'ciocia.'

After Ciotka took her leave, Mr. Michał Łazarczyk took over party leader duties and in a very clever and humorous manner explained to the group all of the fun activities planned for the party: learning habitual highlander songs and dances; games involving highlander 'skiing,' learning the 'tricks' of the highlander blacksmith trade, being trained to tell the difference between highlander cheese (oscypek) and other varieties of cheese, coming to understand the discrepancy between regular tea and highlander tea; contests to choose the female highland dancer and the male highland Robber of the evening, among many other games and contests.

The orchestra played well into Sunday morning and the merriment did not end until well after the first morning light had presented itself. Needless to say, an incredibly fun time was had by all at the integration party.

On Sunday, after breakfast, our very friendly tour guides, Piotrek Krzan and Joanna, led us on a tour of Gubałówka mountain and the town of Zakopane. We believe that the students were very interested in the story of the Zakopane style of architecture, and there are none more knowledgeable regarding the topic of highlander art than Piotrek. Upon completion of our tour, there was free time to explore Zakopane individually. Those who were hungry made their way to the famous folk restaurants on Krupówki street: apparently the most popular choice was pig's shin (golonko) done in highlander style. Others looked for folk souvenirs while still others sat down in a café to sip on highlander tea.

We were very tired as we returned to Kraków, however there was no hesitation among anyone in claiming that a remarkable and unique weekend had been spent in the Polish mountain regions. To the last, our weekend trip was an engaging experience in highland culture and brought Orientation Week to a fantastic finale.

We would like to thank and extend a firm handshake to everyone from ISO and ESN UJ that helped us in organizing the trip and who took part. An enthusiastic wish of 'Najlepszego' to the highlander folk orchestra and folk dancers.

Text by Joanna Dziadowiec and Matthew Samulewski.

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