In the recent decade following Poland’s economic boom and entry to the EU, Poland’s higher education system started to attract more and more people from all over the world. For those that venture beyond the medieval beauty of Poland’s streets and castles, studying in Poland is an excellent opportunity to experience Central European culture while also getting something you’re probably looking for anyways – a degree.
Before anything else, let’s have a look at what Poland offers for students.
The Polish Higher Education system
Higher education in Poland is divided into Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees, much like everywhere else in the world. Usually, a Bachelor’s course lasts for three years and a Master’s will last two years. However, this largely depends on your major. Some universities offer a 5-year combined Bachelor’s and Master’s degree program for certain majors, which is very common for “specialty” degrees, such as medicine, law, or engineering.
Universities in Poland
Poland offers us two types of universities – public and private. Just like anywhere else in the world, studying at a private university will be significantly more expensive. And, it may or may not get you a better quality of education.
In fact the opposite is often true. Almost all of Poland’s most prestigious universities, such as Jagiellonian University and University of Warsaw are public universities. Be extra careful with private universities; while all public universities are recognized by the Polish and EU governments, many private universities lack proper accreditation.
In addition to the most prestigious universities, there are many (public and private) specialized universities. Many of these, such as the Krakow Economic University and Silesian University of Technology offer some of the best degree programs in their field.
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So here goes, 5 reasons why you should choose Poland as your destination to study in Europe.
1. The European Union is just amazing
The beauty of the EU is that if you have a degree from an EU country, it is automatically recognized in the entire European Union. And of course, this includes Polish degrees. So your Polish degree will qualify you for jobs not only in Poland, but in 26 other countries as well!
Furthermore, thanks to the ERASMUS Program and numerous other cooperation agreements between Polish universities and other universities around the EU, studying in Poland gives you an opportunity to try out universities all over the continent. Perhaps you can spend your spring semester in Berlin, or fall semester in Barcelona. Either way, you’ll be paying Polish tuition and getting credits toward your degree.
2. High standards of Education
Polish universities offer an extremely high quality studies, and recently have been attracting students from all over Europe and the world. Jagiellonian University in Kraków and The University of Warsaw typically score the score the highest in international rankings, but they are by no means the only excellent universities in the country.
We’re not going to list all the options as there are numerous lists like that on the internet. TopUniversities has perhaps the best list of internationally ranked universities in Poland.
Possibility to get a scholarship
Polish government offers a lot of scholarships to students both from Poland and other countries. Some of those programs are aimed at young people with Polish origin and a Card of Pole, others are available also for non-EU citizens with no Polish roots, for example The Stefan Banach Scholarship Programme or the gen. Anders Programme. Different institutions and foundations are looking for students with a great potential in different fields, especially in Technology, IT, Engineering, Science. Often those scholarships focus on enhancing the socio-economic situation in developing countries by raising the quality of education of their citizens.
It’s also possible to get a scholarship without applying for any programmes. Holders of the Card of Pole can receive social scholarships if their financial situation is quite dire. Unfortunately, other foreign students living in Poland are not eligible for a social scholarship it they don’t meet the requirements stated in the Polish law.
Although foreigners without Polish background can not be granted a social scholarship, some of the universities still offer them the Rector’s scholarship for academic excellence, which is a good opportunity for those who have to pay for their studies. A scholarship depending on its kind amounts to 350 euros per month.
Possibility to study for free
Normally, students who hold the Card of Pole don’t have to pay for their studies, all they need to do is to provide all required documents to the university. For those who have no Polish roots there are a couple of ways to not pay for the studies. Some universities offer free education (1-2% of places) for students who pass a Polish language test or for those who have excellent high school grades. Another way is to pass a State certificate exam in Polish at min. C1 level, then you can apply for a tuition-free study. You can find more about the exam and its requirements here.
Cost of living in Poland
Living in Poland is not that expensive compared to other European countries. However, for non-EU citizens originating from Ukraine or Belarus, living in Poland may seem to be quite pricey. Accommodation in most Polish cities can be covered by 300-600 Euros and rooms in a dorm would cost you around 100-150 Euros a month. Cooking by yourself instead of eating out every day would always save you some money. The cost of entertainment and participation in cultural events are also much lower than the EU average. In this article you can find more detailed information about the cost of living in Kraków.
Great culture and entertainment offer
Polish culture is well known in the world, so the government tries to live up to the expectations of tourists who set off to different Polish cities every day. But Poland can offer more than just tourist destinations. Polish cultural institutions provide high quality entertainment that will suit every taste. The immense number of events, concerts, festivals take place everyday, especially in the bigger cities. You can also visit conferences, workshops to learn something new and meet like-minded people there. And of course, Poland offers thousands of restaurants, bars and pubs, where you can spend your evening in a nice atmosphere with your friends. Believe me, you’ll never die of boredom in Poland!
Polish universities offer a great number of on-campus activities from sports and dance clubs to scientific circles. Majority of the universities encourage students to join clubs and get involved not only in the academic, but also the cultural life of the university. Sometimes representing the university in some sports contests can help you get a scholarship or additional points while applying for one. Even if you don’t plan to earn money from it and just want to enjoy your hobby, you have plenty of clubs to take part in: dance and music classes, swimming pools, gyms, sports sections, arts clubs – there is definitely something to please everyone!
What are possible problems that may appear?
When you are coming to study in Poland you must be aware that the amount of courses taught in English is not that big, compared to those in Polish. Of course, you can always try to apply for you studies in Polish. That’s why bear in mind that in such a case you’ll have to learn the language. Especially, if you desire to stay in Poland afterwards, it’s recommended to know Polish. For tips on how to learn Polish quickly and easily click here.
How to enroll to the university?
The requirements depend on a university and its particular rules. Those are usually set out on the university website. In most cases it’s necessary to fill in an application form, and attach the required documents, such as: the transcript of records from high school, English/Polish language certificate, motivation letter and sometimes letters of recommendation as well. Some faculties such as Art or Physical Education may also conduct some additional tests to determine your potential.
What is the cost of tuition in Poland?
In Poland education at the public universities for full-time students who are citizens of Poland or start the studies on terms applicable to Polish citizens (e.g. those who hold a Card of Pole) is free of charge. Other foreigners have to pay tuition regardless of whether it’s a public or private university and whether it’s a full time or a part time course.
Tuition fee depends on the specific university you want to apply to and on average the price is around 1500-2500 euros per year.
Those prices are determined by the university itself, both public and private.
What is important to remember while studying in Poland?
Legalize your stay in Poland
To be able to legally stay in Poland you have to obtain a VISA or a residence permit. If you are a EU-citizen, and want to live in Poland for longer than 3 months, you have to register you stay in Poland.
If you are a non-EU citizen, you need to obtain a national VISA with the purpose of studying at a Polish consulate or embassy in your country before you arrive to Poland.
Being in Poland on legal grounds you can also apply for a Temporary or Permanent Residence Permit in the local Voivodeship Office. In order to do so you have to file required documents, such as:
– documents proving your identity,
– a document proving that you’re studying at the university,
– health insurance,
– document proving the possession of sufficient funds.
An exact list of the required documents you can find online at https://udsc.gov.pl.
Temporary Residence Card will allow you to cross the Polish border as many times as you wish. The first residence permit is issued for a period of 15 months. It can be renewed after that, but for no longer than the end of your studies.
Working as a student
In Poland it’s quite easy to find a part-time job for a student. Often students in Poland choose part-time education courses and start working. If you are a EU-citizen you are eligible to work in Poland without a work permit.
Foreign students have a right to work in Poland as long as they are studying at their institution and have a valid visa. 20 hours of work are permitted during studies as well as 3 months of full time work during holidays. If you want to work full time the whole time, you have to obtain a work permit or a declaration for 12 months for the citizens of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Georgia and Moldova.
International students are not allowed to work on a student visa basis only. Students who have a temporary residence permit based on studies are entitled to work without a work permit.
If you have more questions regarding this topic, or you want to apply for a university in Poland and don’t know what to start with, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will go out of our way to help you!