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New exchange brings first Polish cadets to UNG campus

Wiktor Zapart, left, and Artur Chrusciel participated in FROG Week at the beginning of the semester with other cadets new to UNG's Corps of Cadets.

Two cadets from the General Tadeusz Kościuszko Military Academy of Land Forces (MALF) in Poland are enrolled at the University of North Georgia (UNG) this spring and participating in the Corps of Cadets as the first cadets exchanged under a new agreement between the two institutions.

Artur Chruściel and Wiktor Zapart, both fourth-year management majors at MALF, will become officers in the Polish army upon completion of their studies.

Artur Chruściel and Wiktor Zapart
Artur Chruściel, left, and Wiktor Zapart

"We are happy to be here and we just want to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve as much as we can," Zapart said. "If you do this right, you get benefits for yourself, and for your country, of course."

The agreement, signed in 2016 at the military academy in Wroclaw, Poland, marks the first time MALF has collaborated with a U.S. university to offer professional military education through direct enrollment. The military academy cooperates with more than 30 foreign institutions, as well as universities in Turkey, Slovakia, Italy, Spain, and Cyprus.

Chruściel said they are mindful that they are ambassadors for their country in their first trip to the U.S.

"Am I going to be good? Because I am representing my country and my army," Chrusciel said. "The training is clearly similar between our nations' militaries and the tactics are very similar as well."

They will also have time for fun, with UNG-sponsored trips to Fort Benning and Atlanta. The pair also plans to visit New York City during spring break and attend the Corps of Cadets' spring military ball.

Their UNG counterparts, Morgan Greaves and Taylor Hardin, leave for Poland at the end of February. Greaves and Hardin, both pursuing majors in international affairs, will enroll in MALF courses.

Greaves, from Roswell, Georgia, has studied abroad previously, but looks forward to the challenge of a new environment.

Morgan Greaves and Taylor Hardin
UNG cadets Morgan Greaves, left, and Taylor Hardin will be studying in Poland this spring.

"As a leader you never know what situation you'll have to adapt to, and by consistently pushing yourself past what you're comfortable with, you grow," Greaves said. "I'm excited to better understand how European militaries work together and I hope the experience will positively impact my capabilities as a leader."

For Hardin, from Sandy Springs, the exchange marks the first time studying abroad.

"What I'm hoping to learn from the experience is a better understanding of an international culture and to develop my education," Hardin said.

Military exchanges allow UNG cadets to elevate their level of global and military knowledge, according to Tony Fritchle, associate director for the Center for Global Engagement at UNG.

"As a senior military college and the Military College of Georgia, we seek to partner with military academies that support UNG and Institute for Leadership and Strategic Studies strategic plans," Fritchle said. "Our primary objectives are to foster reciprocal agreements in the exchange and development of cadet global competencies, language and cultural immersion, and professional military education."

Polish army officials have similar goals for their future officers who find themselves increasingly in multinational situations, according to Maj. Marcin Bielewicz, vice dean for military affairs of MALF's Faculty of Management and a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

"The platoon leader right now is a diplomat. It's not only a commander taking care of the purely combat military tasks, but it's a kind of diplomat or negotiator," said Bielewicz, who visited UNG in October 2016 with other MALF representatives. "The officer, who actually is representing the country, also needs to possess certain skills that are not purely military, such as social, psychological and interpersonal skills."

UNG offers global opportunities for students, faculty and staff through a variety of international partnerships, exchanges and study abroad programs. Specialized global opportunities for students in the Corps of Cadets at UNG include federally funded programs such as Project Global Officer, Chinese Language Flagship and the university's Language Training Center.

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