Studies in the foreign universities became popular among Polish gentry and nobility in the first half of the 16th c. Soon, they were treated as one of the necessary elements of the basic academic curriculum. However, during the 17th c. the foreign travels were no longer taken just out of purely academic reasons but became more experience and tourist oriented. In the 17th c., Polish nobility became more interested in going abroad to observe the social, political, military and architectural concepts, rather than simply attend a university. In order to expose travelers to the multiplicity of places and help them to understand the foreign cultures, their voyages were carefully planned. The practical knowledge and experience gained during the travels was supposed to help the young Poles in building their future careers back in Poland. The article concentrates on the analysis of the curriculum instructions written by: Zbigniew Ossolinski, Krzysztof Radziwill, Aleksander Lugowski, Jakub Sobieski, Andrzej Maksymilian Fredro and Stanislaw Herakliusz Lubomirski. It seeks to understand how the objectives of Polish noblemen changed over time, especially when it came to sponsor these rather expensive foreign escapades. In the conclusion, we find that the trips were motivated mostly by parental ambitions. It was commonly believed that the knowledge and skills as well as overall exposure to Europe would help young nobles to be better prepared to serve their country. Fathers who often wanted their sons to be attractive as candidates for the public service were ready to sponsor the costly international travels. Despite the growth of hostility toward the foreign customs the international voyages continued among the Polish nobility being a permanent element of elite education and - in author's opinion - had a strong influence on the way of thinking and perception of the world by the most powerful circles of the Old Polish Society. The voyages played an important role also as the base of social ties integrating social elites of the Republic of Poland.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.