Departure Rapidly Approaching and a Visit to Dolny ŚląskJust two months remain in our 10-month stay in Poznan, Poland. As we ponder with mixed emotions our return to Charlotte, North Carolina, the weather has turned spectacular. It has not been a difficult winter, just a dreary one in terms of weather -- generally chilly, damp, blustery and gray with just two real "cold snaps." The greening of the trees and the blossoming of the early flowers is rapidly turning Poznan and the rest of Poland into a stunningly beautiful scene.
|We have not seen a forecast like this since September -- eight months ago!|
|Graduate students model their UNC Charlotte T-shirts. Several students had to leave a bit early and missed out on the photo.|
- Seek an appointment to an institution with which you have established a professional connection. I first visited my current host institution in 2005 as keynote speaker for a conference. That initiated dialogue, and I was awarded my first Fulbright appointment here in 2012. I continued nurturing that relationship and earned a second appointment for the 2015/16 academic year now drawing to a close. The relationship has resulted in numerous publications and presentations, and one scholar from my host institution made a return visit to my home university for a conference in 2013. My sense is that an ongoing, growing and productive academic relationship appeals to Fulbright application reviewers.
- Obtain strong letters of support (required in the application package) from people well placed to know your qualities as well as the aims of the Fulbright program. My letters came from my Provost, the former president of the U.S. Fulbright Association, and the former president of the Public Relations Society of America as well as the former chair of The Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. I firmly believe that this impressive list of endorsers set my application apart.
- Be sure to have a fairly detailed letter of invitation from your proposed host institution, and it should come from the highest levels. Mine came from the "Pro-Rector" of the university -- equivalent of a vice chancellor or vice president. It specifically described the activities in which I would engage during my appointment and argued persuasively for the value I would bring.
I have often included in my blog posts photos of concerts we've attended, and this entry is no exception. A few weeks ago, we attended a superb performance of Verdi's Requiem. With a full orchestra and chorus, plus four gifted soloists, it was a deeply moving evening. The cost, as always at the Academy of Music -- free.
|A full orchestra, full chorus and soloists perform Verdi's Requiem in the Aula Nova of the Academy of Music.|
A Visit to Dolny Śląsk
|We anchored our visit to Lower Silesia in the small village of Bolków, staying in this hotel, a former convent.|
|View from a high tower in Bolków Castle.|
|Just three kilometers from Bolków is Świny, the site of the ruins of a 16th century castle.|
|A third castle we visited in the region is Grodno Castle, built in 1193, reachable by following a 1-kilometer trail up a steep hill in the village of Zagórze Śląskie.|
|A feature of Grodno Castle is its "torture room," displaying various items that challenge the imagination.|
|This is the Cistercian Abbey in Krzeszów. The monastery was established in 1242, and the Baroque abbey was constructed in the mid-18th century. For a short video tour of the interior, click on this Dropbox link.|
|The central square in the town of Świdnica is typical of the the beautiful settings in many Polish cities.|
|This is Holy Trinity Church in Świdnica, built in the 17th century using only wood, clay, sand and straw. For a short video tour of the interior, click on this Dropbox link.|
|Approaching Książ Castle entrance.|
|One of the ornate rooms in Książ Castle.|
|The entrance to the Arado underground aircraft factory.|
|The underground facilities also provided hiding places for looted art.|
|Awaiting our tour near the entrance to one of the partially constructed underground Nazi cities.|
|Actors realistically portray Nazi officials in the underground facilities.|
|WWII Nazi re-enactors prepare for the skirmish while a film crew captures the action.|
To view a short video capturing the peak moments of the re-enactment, click on this Dropbox link. To get the full effect, hook your viewing device to several stadium speakers and turn the volume up full.
That's enough for today. I'm departing on Wednesday for three days in Opole, Poland, where I will be speaking at a medical conference. That's an unusual venue for a public relations professor, but I'll explain it in my next post, and it will make sense. In the meantime, thanks for your visit to my blog, and do widzenia!