Study in Poland

Are you curious to know about the education in Poland? Are you willing to pursue your higher education in Poland? If yes, then all the details regarding the country, its education systems, universities, lifestyle, etc are mentioned below.

Poland Overview

Poland is located in Central Europe and is officially known as ‘Republic of Poland’. The country is covering the area of around 312,696 sq Kilometers and is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions. Poland is on 6th position by population in the member state of the European Union. The population is around 38.5million and the climate is temperate most of the time.
The capital of Poland is ‘Warsaw’ which is the largest city in the country. Other main cities are Poznan, Krakow, Wroclaw, Szczecin, and Gdansk.
It is having the 8th largest economy in the European Union and is considered as a developed market with a very dynamic economy and regional powers. The Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest in Central Europe. The country also has high living standards, safety, life quality, economic and educational freedom and it provides free education in universities, social security through state funds and universal health care systems are for all the citizens.
The central of Poland and some part of North is occupying the North European Plain. Another part which is above these lowlands is having 4 hilly districts of moraines and moraines-dammed lakes named as the Greater Polish Lake District, the Pomeranian Lake District, the Masurian Lake District and the Kashubian Lake District. Among all these 4 districts, the Masurian Lake District is the largest one covering most of the north-eastern part of Poland.

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About Poland

Poland has both public as well as private universities. Higher education in public universities is free. The education system is the same in both types of universities and students can obtain3 types of degrees- Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and doctorate degree. These degrees are available in various fields excluding psychology, medicine, pharmacy, law, dentistry, veterinary medicine, etc which is having 2 stage systems including the master’s and doctor.
The education system of Poland secured 10th rank by International Student Assessment in the year 2012 in the whole world.
Poland is becoming a choice for students because of the increasing prestige of universities, English language courses, rich cultural legacy, low living cost and beautiful scenery. Some famous names like the first female noble laureate Marie Curie, Director Roman Polanski, Astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and composer Frederic Chopin are the alumni of Poland Universities.
Below are the top universities in Poland-

University of Warsaw-

It is one of the largest and prestigious universities of Poland. It is offering more than 20 courses with the teaching in the English language. Economics, political science, and business are in trend. This university has created 5 Nobel laureates including Joseph Rotblat- a Physicist, Menachem- the former prime minister of Israel.
The university was established in the year 1816 in the main city Warsaw. It is a state-funded university and holding 6th position in the EECA ranking. Currently, it has the strength of around 54800 students studying in different 21 departments.

AGH University of Science and Technology-

In 1919, it was established as the University of Mining and changed to the current name- AGH University of Science and Technology in the year 1949.
The curriculum of the university has included 59 fields with around 200 specializations and 18 faculties. The science and technology-based research is conducted in different disciplines of science that too at the world level in this university. The motto of this university is “Labore create, labori et scientiae servio” means “Created in labor, I serve labor and science”.

Jagiellonian University-

It was founded in the year 1364 and is the oldest university in Poland. It is a public higher education institute with self-governed management. Its main center is located in Krakow and it has 15 faculties like law, medicine, humanities, natural and social science, etc.
You can find various medieval manuscripts and collection of underground political literature in the library of this university which is one among the largest libraries of Poland.
It has secured 14th rank in the EECA ranking and having around 38500 students currently studying in the university campus.
Another feature, that is an implementation of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is also done in this university in all courses which enables the problem free linking of studies with the studies of other European countries.

Warsaw University of Technology-

It is one of the largest technical institutions situated in Central Europe, founded in the year 1899. It is a public university and offering various research and doctoral level programs. It has secured 19th rank in QS EECA University Ranking among the universities in Europe and Central Asia.
The main fields are automatic control, biomedical engineering, geoinformatics, robotics, etc. The university has Polish teaching but there are some undergraduate and postgraduate courses teaching in English. It has around 35000 students and 2000 academic teachers.

University of Wroclaw-

It is a public university established in the year 1702. It is a historic university founded by Leopold l. It is on 52nd position in the EECA ranking. It has the strength of around 40000 students and 1300 doctoral students in 10 different faculties. It is the largest university in the area of Lower Silesia.
The university teaches many programs in English and many in the Polish language. It also participates in many international exchange programs like ISEP, Erasmus, CEEPUS, etc.
It has opened a new unit “Academic Incubator of Entrepreneurship” with an aim to support the students in starting their own businesses by offering organizing conferences, entrepreneurial advice, seminars, etc at free of cost.

Quick Facts

  1. The capital of the country is Warsaw which is also the largest city in Poland.

  2. It’s official language is Polish and the recognized regional language is Kashubian.

  3. There is only one main ethnic group in Poland and that is Polish.

  4. The area is around 312,696 sq kilometers and the population is 38,433,600.

  5. The currency of the country is ‘Polish zloty (PLN)’ which is equivalent to around 18.68 INR.

  6. The calling code for Poland is +48.

  7. The ISO 3166 code is PL and the internet TLD is .pl.

  8. Poland is in connection with seven countries by sharing borders and these are Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Germany and the Czech Republic.

  9. The national symbol of Poland is “White-Tailed Eagle”.

  10. The polish people prefer “Name Day” then even one’s birthday.

  11. The country has 12 noble prizes in its account, among which 4 are for peace and 5 are for literature.

  12. ’Rysy’ is the highest point in Poland situated in the Tatra Mountains at a height of 2499 meters.

  13. One-third part of the country is covered with forest, 50% of the land is getting used for farming and it has 9300 lakes, 23 national parks and 1 desert.

  14. Poland has one TV channel completely dedicated to the Pope which shows that Roman Catholicism is very popular there.

  15. Poland is a well educated country.

Admission Process in Poland

The admission process for Poland Universities follows the similar steps as for other foreign universities.
The very first thing is to choose the course you want to pursue from Poland. Management degrees, Economics programs, engineering courses, International business, etc are the top courses available in the universities of Poland.
After selecting the course, you need to choose for the suitable university for yourself. The details about top universities of Poland are mentioned in this article.
Once both the things are finalized, you need to prepare the documents for application purpose. For this, you need to access the webpage of that particular university and follow the instructions mentioned there for admission.
Below is the list of required documents for admission-
  • A matriculation certificate or any other equivalent document.

  • An English language proficiency certificate with valid scores is required. For this, you need to prepare and then appear in tests like TOEFL, IELTS, C1 Advanced, etc.

  • Applicant’s CV mentioning all the academic details about school and profession (if applicable).

  • An undergraduate diploma or an official duplicate issued by the University of your own country.

  • An academic reference and one professional reference is applicable.

  • Copy of applicant’s ID proof.

  • 4 recent passport size photographs.

  • A completely filled out, printed and then signed the application form for admission.

  • A medical certificate which should not be older than 3 months from the date of application.

  • Admission fee payment receipt of any other equivalent proof.

After collecting all the documents, you can proceed to submit your application. In most of the universities in Poland, each year is divided into 2 semesters and each semester is of 15 weeks. The course starts at the beginning of October and the first semester ends in mid-February. Then the second semester starts which ends in June. From July till September, students have summer vacations.
For fresh admissions, EU students need to apply latest by 15th September and the Non-EU students need to apply before 15th August.
The universities start checking the application after the closing of applications and if you match their requirements, you will receive an official acceptance letter soon.
Now you are ready to apply for the Student Visa at the earliest.

Student Visa Application Process

Student visa is always an important thing when you plan to study abroad. In the case of Poland, students from European Union countries do not require any student visa but the students from outside the European Union will need to apply for the same before arriving in Poland. It is advised to contact the Polish consulate or embassy of your own country before processing your application as you will to know the exact requirements.
Apart from student visa, all the students studying in Poland need to apply for temporary residence permit to legalize their stay in Poland. It must be done immediately after arriving in Poland and your university will help you in the same.

Bellow mentioned is the steps to be followed to get a student visa-
  • Find your consulate-It is very first step because you will get the complete and exact information from the Poland consulate of your own region as there are some exceptions and variations depending upon the countries and courses..

  • Purpose of visiting Poland-This is very important to decide because the process and requirements vary depending upon the purpose but in this case, it is specified that you are willing to go to Poland for study purpose only.

  • Selection and approval from the university in Poland-Once the purpose is finalized, one needs to select the university in Poland from where he or she wants to pursue the studies. Then you need to apply for the same and after approval from their side, you will receive an official letter of acceptance which is the compulsory requirement for the student visa for Poland.

  • Document collection-After receiving the official letter from Polish university, you should start collecting the documents to initiate the student visa application. All the details of documents are mentioned later in the same article. It is advised to prepare 2 sets of all the documents.

  • Student Visa Application online-Once all the documents are bunched up, you are ready to fill the student visa form online. Please read all the instructions carefully for filling up the form and once filled, you must cross check the form. You will need to fill your personal and academic details in the form. Please note that this application form should be filled earlier than 3 months from the planned departure to Poland.

  • Print the application-Now you can print the filled up the student visa application form and the application confirmation. You need to sign on the space specified before submitting the application.

  • Visa fee payment-Before going for the application submission to the consulate, you also need to pay the Visa application fee. You can check on the website of your consulate to know about the ways in which you can pay the fee. It varies from one to another consulate and included different ways like cash payment, demand draft, etc. After making the payment please take the receipt carefully as you need to enclose that also with your application.

  • Schedule meeting with Consulate-Now you can book an appointment with the consulate as early as possible and submit your application. Please enclose all the supporting documents and verify them during the meeting only.

  • Track the status-One can check the status of student visa application online. The consulate usually keeps their site updates with the details of visas ready for collection.

When your visa is ready, please collect it and start your journey to Poland. Please make sure that you plan to leave Poland as soon as your visa validity gets over. In such case, you need to follow the same process again in your own country to come back to Poland.
If you do not want to leave Poland, you need to apply for Temporary residence permit in Poland. It is not very easy and even takes months for approval. So it is advised to apply for the same well before the expiry of your visa.

Work in Poland while studying

Students are allowed to work while pursuing their studies in Poland. But they must have a valid enrolment in a full-time course in education institute of Poland. Apart from this, they also need to have a valid residence permit. They can work for 20 hours per week during studies and 3 months full time during holidays.
Students enrolled in Poland universities having residence permit need to get any additional work permit. They can get the employment letter from their employer and can work.
Fresh graduates who have completed their graduation from University in Poland only can also work there very easily. They also do not need any permit for the same. Their employer is supposed to perform the required formalities.

Lifestyle

The life in Poland is very beautiful and sweeter than many other more advanced countries.
More details can be obtained from below-

People of Poland-

The citizens are social and welcoming. The culture and lifestyle are like they prefer to sit in the park than to visit a mall. Polish people are closer to their families and three generations of a family are living in the same house in most of the cases. They do not go out for food and prefers homemade food. Hospitality is a very important part of their traditions and in spite of the languages barrier, they do not hesitate to initiate the conversation eve with foreigners.
They also give importance to their religious festivals.

Cuisine-

An essential part of the traditional cuisine is “Bigos” which is the local “sauerkraut”. Another dish is “Kotlet schabowy” which is a pork fillet with potatoes and cabbage, carp and cheesecakes. Homemade alcoholic beverages are also in trends and the Pole hosts prefer to offer the same to accompany your dinner. These include vodka, beer, wine, etc.

Music-

The Polish music is famous and is having the Christian and Slavic origin. Although western and international music is common in major cities, Polish music is very popular in the countryside. Different regions of the country have different forms of folk music and is very diversifies. Every music has its own dance style also.
Nowadays, people are more inspired by international and western musicians and even the regular festivals are enjoyed with pop, jazz, hip hop, etc.

Beliefs and festivals-

Poland celebrates many international festivals which are based on cinema, music, etc. But Polish are still very much attached to the ancient culture, traditions and religious festivals. The religious festivals like All Saints Day, Christmas, Assumption, etc celebrated with holidays in Poland. As the most of the pollution on Poland in Christian, Christmas, and Easter are celebrated with great energy which lasts for around 2-3 days every year.

Transport

Poland has very good networking of public buses and rails. One may not need a personal car even after living here for many years. All the small towns also have good rail and bus connections. Big cities also have trams. You may complain about the roads but you will not face traffic issues in Poland.
For using public transport, you just need to understand the schedules and rule; buy tickets and then start traveling. In Poland, you can face a ticket checker anywhere in the station like underground the metro stations and they may enter the buses randomly.


Sports

Sports are not so popular in Poland. Soccer is the only game in trend and people prefer walking for their fitness. One may finds gyms but still people prefer bike riding and walking to stay fit. These people also love playing chess.

Cost of Living for Students

It cannot be defined by fix numbers and the cost of living in any country and affected by different factors like the location you choose to stay, the members you have in your family, your lifestyle, etc.
Poland is considered as a cheaper and more affordable country in comparison to other European countries. The big cities are more expensive than the rural areas and one may save money accordingly.

Accommodation cost-Accommodation is affordable in Poland with some exceptions like apartments near to the cities are very expensive. Those who feel comfortable to commute and choose to stay a bit further can get better and affordable deals to stay even for apartments with larger spaces. If we compare the rates, Warsaw is the most expensive city and a medium sized flat will cost you around 2800 PLN per month whereas the Bydgoszcz is the cheapest city which will cost you around 1267 PLN per month as rent of a medium size flat.
Apart from rent, you also need to pay for your utilities separately. It includes electricity bills, water, heating, garbage, etc. For a medium size flat, it cost around 620 PLN per month. It may vary depending upon the city, personal usage and council tax. Internet cost you 45 PLN for a month.
Foreigners may need to get English speaking real estate agents to help them in getting accommodation but they may charge to bog amount as their service is expensive.

Food and GroceriesFood is quite cheap in Poland and in comparison to the countries like UK, US, and France it is around 50% cheaper in Poland. Although then average edibles are cheap but some exception is there including cheese which is quite expensive. Meat is available at the lowest price in Poland than in the whole European Union.
Eating out is also cheaper than in most of the other Eastern European cities. Buying groceries and other Polish local products are much affordable but imported products are quite expensive to buy.
Local Alcohol like beer, wine, vodka are also reasonable and you can also enjoy the bar and pub at affordable rates but again imported drinks will be expensive.
Here you can get an idea about regular edibles like Milk costs 2-3 PLN per liter, eggs are 4.80-8.40 PLN per dozen, Apple are at the price of 2-4 PLN per kg, Bananas at 3.50-5PLN per kg, water is 1.50-3 PLN per 1.5Liter and vegetables like potato, tomato and Onion are available at 1-8 PLN per kg.

TransportPublic transport facility is very good in Poland and people hardly use personal vehicles for commuting. It is comparatively cheaper and affordable. Students and senior citizens can get discount passes for long-term ticketing in Public Transport. As Poland is situated in central Europe and the air travel is available at low cost, it is easy to explore other European countries from Poland.
The monthly pass for public transport will cost you around 89-100 PLN and the taxi will charge you around 2-2.80 PLN per kilometer.

Education cost in PolandLike many other European countries, public education is free of cost in Poland. But still it is not preferred by parents, especially the parents from other countries as the medium of teaching is Polish in these schools and educational institutes.
Thus parents send their children to international schools which are mostly situated in big cities like Warsaw and Krakow. These fees f these schools are quite high can even disturb your budget if not planned properly. Apart from school fee, you will also pay for school trips, textbooks, uniforms, etc.

Documents for University Admissions in Poland

The documents required for the student visa for Poland may vary depending upon the country you belong to but the main basic requirements are as mentioned below-
  1. A completely filled and signed Poland Student Visa Application Form is the very important document.

  2. A valid passport is required with the validity of at least 3 months from the date of your planned departure.

  3. Then you need an Official acceptance letter from the university you have applied in Poland to pursue your studies.

  4. A summarized CV mentioning all your academic and personal details is also required for the student visa.

  5. Copies of your school certificates and diplomas need to be enclosed.

  6. Language proficiency certificate as an evidence that you are well versed with the language in which you wish to study.

  7. The proof that you are capable to bear all your living expenses during your stay in Poland is again an import requirement.

  8. One passport size photo with the white background is required.

  9. A valid health insurance certificate need to be enclosed. It is required because healthcare in Poland is not free.

  10. Visa application fee, which can be paid in cash or by postal order.

  11. Your travel documents or transport documents like air tickets, etc are also required.

  12. A proof of accommodation in Poland need to be enclosed only if it is applicable or required.

Education in Poland

The compulsory education starts at the age of 6 years with “0” class or reception class. After that, the children enter the primary level education at the age of seven. Primary school is for 8 years and at the end, kids have to appear in an examination. After this, the junior high school is also compulsory and is having 3 years time span. At the end of this junior high school, they again have to appear in an exam compulsorily.
After this, there are various options for the upper secondary schooling. The very common is “Lieum”- a three years course and a “Technikum”- a four years course. Both of these courses end with a maturity exam. After the completion of this course, students can continue their studies by pursuing upper education which is again available in different forms including Bachelor, Master and then Ph.D.
The complete education takes uninterrupted 22 years of schooling as per the education system of Poland.
Primary School-It is compulsory education and starts at the age of 7 years. Earlier it was for 6 years but then it got extended for 8 years. The initial 3 years cycle is known as “integrated” during which a single teacher handles all the subjects or most of the subjects. The later 5 years includes subject-based teaching. At the end of the primary schooling, students need to appear in a mandatory national competency examination. “Primary School-Leaving Certificate” is awarded to all who qualifies this exam.
Junior High School-It is for 3 years and covers the lower secondary education. It ends with the general basic education. At this level, students study Polish language, civic education, history, mathematics, 2 foreign languages, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geography, biology, technology, fine arts, music, physical education, information technology, ethics, and religion. The students get evaluated depending upon their continuous results and the exam in science, humanities and foreign languages.

Upper Secondary EducationIt is the last part of compulsory education after which students can even enter the labor market or can go for tertiary education. Upper secondary education has different forms including a general form which can be pursued in general secondary schools. It is for 3 years and after passing the same students can pass “Matura”. Another form is “Vocational and Technical education” which is mainly offered by technical schools and basic vocational schools. It has 4 years duration and ends with Matura. The main aim of this education is to teach about trades and occupations including mechanic, accountant, electronics specialist, salesperson, etc.
One more option is there and that is a Basic vocational school which provides vocational training for 2 years and grants certificate of competence in different fields like cook, gardener, shop-assistant, hairdresser, baker, mechanic, etc.
These graduates from general vocational schools may pass the Matura only after completing an extra-curriculum of 2 years in general secondary school or 3 years in technical school.

Tertiary EducationBologna scheme is followed by Poland and the tertiary level education has 2 cycles- the first three years are bachelor’s degree and the later 2 years are master’s degree courses. There are some exceptional master’s courses which are granted after a long cycle lasting for 4 to 6 years like pharmacy which takes 5 years, the medicine which takes 6 years, etc.

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