Europe has a lot to offer from an academic point of view. It is a cradle of higher education, there are whole cities built and organised around prestigious universities, and finally, it offers huge cultural diversity. Therefore, if you choose to study in Europe, it is worth the extra effort to select not only a high-ranking university but also a nice place to live, with friendly people, interesting history and a vibrant society. This is why Culture.pl wants to present to you eight reasons to study in Poland.
1. High Quality Universities
Poland has more than 450 HEIs (Higher Education institutions). The best three of them are widely recognised as regional academic centres. There are also highly specialised universities which enable the formation of outstanding experts from a wide spectrum of fields. The annual ranking of Polish universities gave the top three places to the following institutions:
University of Warsaw
3 Notable Alumni: Fryderyk Chopin, Julian Tuwim, Witold Gombrowicz
(Polish: Uniwersytet Warszawski, often called just UW) The largest university in Poland, established in 1816. The university offers some 37 different fields of study, and over 100 specializations in humanities, as well as in natural sciences. Its main campus neighbours the Old Town while some of the faculties are scattered over other beautiful districts of the city.
Jagiellonian University in Krakow
3 Notable Alumni: Krzysztof Zanussi, Stanisław Lem, Wisława Szymborska (Nobel Prize winner)
(Polish: Uniwersytet Jagielloński, often called just UJ) Founded in 1364 by Casimir III the Great in Kazimierz (a district of Kraków since 1791), UJ is the oldest university in Poland, the second oldest university in Central Europe (after Charles University in Prague) and one of the oldest universities in the world. The right place to study law or literature, but also one of the only places in Poland where you can take up film studies.
To learn more about Jagiellonian University most recognizable alumni - Wisława Szymborska, click here
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Notable Alumni: Jan A. P. Kaczmarek (Oscar winner) and the mathematicians who broke the Enigma encrypting machine code.
(Polish: Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu) The youngest of the big three, this university is located in the city of Poznań (western Poland). Founded in 1919, it remains the third power in the Polish academic universe. It is best known for its faculties of Law and History.
Beside those venerable universities, Poland has to offer a selection of world renowned schools with more specialised approaches. To name but a few:
Lodz Film School – one of the oldest film schools in the world. Alma mater of all the classics of Polish cinema: Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polański, Jerzy Skolimowski, Zbigniew Rybczyński and many others. Łódź Film School was a centre of what is called the Polish Film School.
College of Europe Natolin (Warsaw) – Campus in Natolin is the only campus of Bruges’ College of Europe located abroad, and the most prestigious choice for those who dream of becoming high-level EU officials.
Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology – A very innovative and up-to-date university that offers unconventional programmes blending art, design and management with new media and information technology.
The Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw - the oldest and largest music school in Poland, and one of the largest in Europe. To date, it remains an important point on the map of the classical music world and is a destination for thousands of students from all over the globe. The patron of the University - Fryderyk Chopin is not only best recognizable Polish classical composer but also an imporatant revolutionist of European classical music.
Studying in Poland is cheaper than doing so in other parts of Europe. Tuition fees start from less than 1500 EUR per year and rarely go higher than 3000 EUR. Compared to the average fees of private universities in France, Germany, the UK or Scandinavia, this might be a big saving at the start of your studies. For example, according to studyineurope.eu, Northern European countries ask students to pay approximately 10 000 EUR per year while in France tuition fees range from 2000 to 7000 EUR.
But where the real economising comes into play is in the cost of living. A shared flat in the city centre for 100-150 EUR or a room in a student dormitory for 100 EUR? No problem. What’s more, a monthly public transport ticket costs only 25 EUR per month, and during the warmer half of the year you can use public bikes which are almost free of charge. After a few weeks in Poland, you’ll certainly learn how to get a cinema ticket for 3 EUR or a tasty lunch for less than 5 EUR. Poland is the promised land for the thrifty.
3. Vibrant Student and Cultural Life
As we all know, being a student is much more than only studying. It is only as important as the other components of higher education: partying, sports, music festivals, film festivals, hanging out with friends, going out of town for the weekends, etc. This is why you’ll never regret choosing Poland. Thanks to our rapid economic growth in the last two decades, the cultural offerings of Poland are comparable to any other European country, but with its own character.
Poland is visited each summer by the world's biggest pop music stars. Young Poles are true lovers of alternative culture so they attend in droves festivals like Open’er (jokingly called the Polish Coachella, awarded Best Major European Festival of the 2009) or OFF Festival (chosen as the best medium-sized music festival in Europe 2011). Every year, each university organizes its own carnival called Juwenalia. During Juwenalia, all classes are cancelled so that everybody has time to party. There are plenty of things to watch/listen to/get involved in every day in the biggest cities, so you will find no time for boredom.
4. Poland is a Part of the Socrates–Erasmus Programme
Since 1998, Poland has been part of the Socrates–Erasmus programme and today more than 300 Polish HEIs participate. In 2013 alone, around 10,000 students from all over Europe came to Poland, mostly choosing universities in Warsaw, Poznań, Kraków, Wrocław and Łódź. The other good news is that if your country is in the Socrates–Erasmus network, you most probably won’t need a visa to come to Poland.
5. Scholarships for Non-EU Students
If your country does not belong to the Socrates-Erasmus network, there are still a handful of opportunities. Each year, a considerable number of scholarships for non-EU foreign students are launched. Most of them are dedicated to students from Eastern European Partnership countries: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, but almost everybody can find a scholarship for which he or she is eligible. The best way to find out is to contact the Polish embassy in your country, as they usually coordinate bilateral student exchange programmes.
6. Affordable and Delicious Cuisine
Polish cuisine is mostly known for its comforting and fulfilling dishes like pierogi and kiełbasa. For the health conscious, it is also good to know that Poland is at the forefront of non-GMO, bio, and organic food trends. The culture of eating healthily and carefully choosing organic products is very popular nowadays in Poland. Since we have a straightforward capitalist system, this demand has produced a large supply. There are occasional fairs of organic food organised in every district of bigger cities as well as lots of restaurants for aware consumers. What’s more, the price of organic food is affordable, only slightly higher than for products available in supermarkets. No more need to pay four times the price only not to drink milk that never spoils or an evergreen apple!
Poland has a lot of original dishes to offer. One of them is 'pierogi' also known as dumplings...
7. Polish Hospitality
Extraordinary hospitality is deeply rooted in Polish culture. You can expect every casual invitation for a dinner or a supper to end up as a three-course feast. Polish grandmas will always give you seconds even if you beg her not to. Poles won't hesitate to offer you their flat for a night or two if you have problems with arranging accommodation and they always care to make your stay in Poland comfortable and interesting. As history is an important part of Polish identity almost every Pole will tell you breath-taking stories about their hometown, instantly becoming a free and attractive tour guide.
8. Polish Sense of Humour
All Poles have one thing in common – a very specific, tart sense of humour that has a very solid foundation. For many years, throughout the communist period, speaking the truth about certain things was forbidden. Censorship effectively banned any sign of political incorrectness. Poles then turned to constructing a whole linguistic system of jokes, metaphors and figurative expressions that looked innocent but in fact conveyed encrypted criticism of communist realities – usually in a very funny way. Even though communism is over, the Polish love for tricky jokes lives on. Witty comebacks are always highly appreciated and even lecturers always prepare a joke or two to appeal for their audience's sympathy and attention.
READY STUDY GO! POLAND
For additional information, visit the Polish Ministry of Education's site dedicated entirely to foreigners willing to take up their studies in Poland.
In order to browse universities and programmes in English visit: studyinpoland.pl
Author: W. Oleksiak 25.06.2014. Sources: www.go-poland.pl, studyinpoland.pl, universities' websites.