Poland is a fascinating country that serves as the geographical and cultural crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe. Located at the center of the Northern European plain, Poland has been a nation of survivors since the foundation of the first Polish state more than 1000 years ago. Through its turbulent history its people have managed to maintain their identity, and today, the country enjoys a crucial position as the largest of the former Eastern European states and one of the most populous members of the European Union
Poland is a member of the European Union. It joined the Schengen Area in 2007. As a result passport checks are abolished on Poland’s borders to Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Lithuania. It practically means that persons admitted to the Schengen Area can travel hassle-free between the countries of the Schengen Area without internal land and sea border controls, from Portugal to Poland and from Greece to Finland.
Since 2007/2008 academic year Polish higher education system has been divided to three stages, which are: Bachelor (Licencjat, Inżynier), Master (Magister), and Doctor (Doktor). This system applies to all fields of education except Law, Pharmacy, Psychology, Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry, which are still based on two-stage system (Master and Doctor).
Italy has around 97 universities, which are divided into several categories:
Obtained following the completion of 3-3,5 year-long vocational/technical college studies
Obtained following the completion of 3,5-4 year-long college studies in technical sciences, agriculture and economy.
Equivalent degrees: Master of Art, Master Engineer, Master Engineer Architect, qualified physician, dental surgeon or veterinarian. Granted following the completion of 5-6 year long uniform university studies. The MSc may also be obtained following the completion of 2-2, 5 years-long supplementary master’s degree studies which may be taken by persons with a college diploma.
A degree awarded to those who pass doctoral exam and successfully defend dissertation. To qualify for the academic degree of doctor one must hold a master or equivalent degree.
The requirements depend on a specific university decision, and should be verified on a website of the University of your Choice. Usually it’s necessary to fill an application form, and enclose the transcript of secondary school (or college/university) results as well as the evidence of English proficiency (usually TOEFL results). Some universities require letters of recommendation, personal essays and other documents, listed on their websites. Art schools, as well as some physical education departments, and few other ones, organize additional aptitude tests.
All the regulations regarding the validation of diplomas, and a list of countries which have signed an agreement of mutual recognition of diplomas with Poland, are available on the webpage of the Bureau for Academic Recognition and International Exchange (www.buwiwm.edu.pl).
The academic year is divided into two parts: the fall semester (October-mid February), and the spring semester (mid-February-June). Each of them ends with the examination period. Teaching is given in the form of lectures, classes, seminars, laboratory classes and discussion groups.
To complete a semester successfully a student must receive passing notes for all examinations. The most common grading scale comprises the following marks: very good (5), good plus (4,5), good (4), satisfactory plus (3,5), satisfactory (3), failing (2). Under the European Credit Transfer System a certain number of credits are allocated to a given subject independently of marks received on exams.
In order to apply for selected study program commencing in October for fall semester and February for spring semester, a candidate should contact the admission office of the selected University directly by e-mail (phone/fax) or through one of its foreign recruitment offices.
In case a candidate requires a visa to stay and study on the territory of European Union, he or she should apply for selected program adequately earlier, so that decision concerning visa issuance is made before the fall/ spring semester begins.
Students can live in dormitories or they can hire private apartments. Many of them rent rooms in bigger apartments.
Many Polish universities have their own dormitories, which are usually the cheapest accommodation for students. Standard of the dormitories are various, so it is better to check them before the final decision. It’s appropriate to check costs of a particular student house. The cost of accommodation in a dormitory ranges around EUR 60-80 monthly for a shared room and between EUR 100-150 for a single room.
Many foreign students hire apartments/share them with colleagues or rent a room in a bigger apartment. Costs of the room depends on a city. Average monthly rent of the room ranges EUR 150 and 200. Cost of the apartment rent depends on a city, its location and size. Average monthly rent of the small one-room flat is around EUR 300/350 in Warsaw.
Please, take a note: Some landlords may require a deposit of a similar amount.
Poland is a country where cost of living is lower than in other countries. Students should remember that average costs are different in each city.
Shopping centres are available in every bigger town in Poland. Mostly, they are open 6 days a week, often from 8.00 to 21.00.
Local shops where you can buy food and fresh products are mostly open from Monday to Friday usually from 7.00 or 8.00 to 18.00 and on Saturday to 14.00 in other cities than Warsaw. They are usually closed on Sundays.
Bazaars are very popular in Poland. You can buy fresh fruits and vegetables there, as well as many other items. Bazaars are most frequently open from Monday to Saturday, and are often located at large housing estates.
In the cheapest places you can eat a one-course meal for EUR 2-4, in restaurants of a higher standard you will pay EUR 12 or more for a three-course meal.
Cinema tickets will set you back by EUR 3-7. Theatre, opera or concert tickets are more expensive: about EUR 7-23. Night life is the most expensive in the capital and in large cities. The entry into a club costs 2.50- 30; you will pay PLN 7-13 for 0.5l of beer and PLN 15-30 for a cocktail.