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Nestled in Central Europe bordered by Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Kaliningrad Oblast, multicultural Poland presents itself like no other. One of the last Communist bloc countries now turning towards modern Europe, the dark days of Polish history are matched only by the beauty of her current self.
Experience the welcoming Polish people, eat up the hearty cuisine (it's not just your grandmothers pirogues anymore!), and get outside to experience one of Poland's natural wonders! From the Lake District, to the Tatra National Park, to the preserved old cities, travel easily and affordably from one landmark to the next.
This fascinating capital captivates any and all study abroad students. A walk through Warsaw includes the old Jewish Ghettos, a former Gestapo prison, the Warsaw Citadel, and the Monument of the Ghetto Heroes, just some of the many relics to Warsaw's sometimes tragic past.
Known as the "phoenix city" because of how many times it has had to rebuild itself, today Warsaw is an important global tourist destination, known for giving its name to the Warsaw Confederation, the Warsaw Pact, the Duchy of Warsaw, the Warsaw Convention, the Treaty of Warsaw, the Warsaw Uprising and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Warsaw is home to four major universities and over 62 smaller schools of higher education with an overall student population of 500,000.
Krakow was named the official European Capital of Culture for the year 2000 and for good reason. Long known as the "new" Prague, students are able to enjoy cultural attractions such as the Main Market Square with St. Mary's Basilica or the Czartoryski Museum, which features works by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. The student population of the city numbers almost 100,000 that fires a lively nightlife scene that burns brightly in the atmospheric cellar bars away from the tourists above.
Jagiellonian University: Study at the oldest university in Poland. The university is divided into 15 faculties, including:
The Cracow University of Economics (CUE): With an enrollment of about 20,000 students, this is the largest school of economics in Poland, and the third biggest university in Krakow. It has four faculties:
Student Government, the Independent Students Association, AIESEC (International Association of Economics and Commerce Students), the University Club of the Academic Sport Association, Dominanta Choir and many more are all active student clubs on campus.
Wroclaw is quickly establishing itself as one of Poland's brightest spots for culture. In the Market Square, chance upon an impromptu concert or street-performers entertaining the crowds with fire-juggling, break-dancing, or folk music. Take in the scene best enjoyed with a cold beer from the comfort of the square's bars and cafes. The city also hosts more than it's fair share of festivals, including the internationally renowned Wratislavia Cantans, the Jazz on the Oder Festival and the cultural marathon that is Wroclaw Non-Stop. Wroclaw is one of the leading academic centers of Poland with over 120,000 students enrolled in the city's thirteen major schools.
All students studying in Poland are required to have a residence visa. Visa regulations and fees change often. Please contact the embassy or consulate general with jurisdiction over your permanent address in order to verify this information before submitting your documents and fees. For Consular information, please go to: Poland Embassy Website
The Polish academic year runs in two semesters; the first semester runs from approximately late September to late January, with a one month winter break. The Spring semester runs from February/March until the end of June. Exams are taken over a period of a few weeks at the end of the semester depending on faculty.
Join up with the international students clubs on your campus and fill up both your days and nights! Stroll along the shores of the Odra River in Wroclaw or hike through any number of Poland's outdoor parks, mountains or trails in the vicinity of Krakow and Warsaw. Take weekend trips to surrounding cites like Gdansk, home of the namesake Dansk chinaware, or Lodz, where you can see Roman Polanski's star on the Lodz walk of fame!
Lying on the border of European "vodka" and "beer culture," it is not hard to find a comfy and cheap pub or restaurant to cozy up and relax in after a long day anywhere in Poland. Most cities with a plethora of students will offer an abundance of pubs and cafe's that throw student parties during the week with cheap food and drink specials. Grab a study buddy and practice your Polish like a local!
Alissa is currently Program Officer at the ISEP Network. She studied abroad for a year at the Karls-Eberhardt University in Tubingen, Germany and now helps other students live the dream! Find her on Facebook.
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