Kent State students prepare for educational spring break in Poland

Megan Ferguson

Twenty-four Kent State students will be studying abroad in Poland over spring break for a class called ‘Perception and Remembrance: The Holocaust in Literature, Film, Theater, and Public Display.’

“You get to see humankind from a whole new perspective,” Alyssa Mazey, assistant director of international programs and education abroad, said. 

Mazey will chaperon the trip alongside Chaya Kessler, director of the Jewish studies program, who also teaches the class.

On this trip, students will not only learn about the Holocaust but also the Jewish life and culture in Poland.

Although junior psychology major Jessica Kotik said her family isn’t Jewish, they were still affected by the Holocaust. Kotik wanted to learn more about where her family came from, which she said made her decision to study abroad in Poland easy.

Kotik has studied abroad before, and she said she wanted to go abroad one more time before graduation.

While the trip is centered around the Jewish culture, only two out of the 24 students that are going are Jewish, and Kessler said students do not need to be a Jewish studies minor to go on the trip.

The estimated total cost for an in-state student is $3,700, but Kessler said there are scholarships available to assist students.

Students traveling abroad will meet with a Holocaust survivor and a righteous gentile whose family hid 15 Jews during the Holocaust.

Julia Mandel, an English graduate student, will also be attending the trip. She is Jewish and said she is excited to learn more about her heritage.

Mandel said she knows this trip will be emotional and topics will sometimes be hard to hear about, but she felt that “sometimes the hardest things to do in life are the most important.”

Kessler said it is up to people today to keep the story of the Holocaust alive. “It’s not just a Jewish story, it’s a human story,” she said. 

Megan Ferguson is the religion reporter, contact her at [email protected].