The Republic of Poland (Rzeczpospolita Polska) is one of the largest countries in Central Europe, bordering Russia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Germany
Its northern frontier on the Baltic Sea gives it easy access to Scandinavian and North Sea ports. Poland's shape is roughly square, measuring 400-440 miles across. The capital, Warsaw, is situated in the centre of the country. Poland's surface area of 120,727 sq. miles ranks eighth in Europe.
The country lies almost entirely on the North European Plain and is a land of gentle relief, rarely rising above 350 feet except along the southern border with the Sudety and Carpathian mountain ranges. Rysy is the highest mountain peak, 8200 feet above sea level. The longest rivers which cross the country north-ward are the Vistula (667 miles in length) in the centre, and the Odra (530 miles) which flows along Poland's western border.
The population of Poland, currently 38.6 million people. The cities are mostly small or medium sized. Some 43 cities have populations of more than 100,000 inhabitants. Warsaw, the capital and Poland's largest metropolitan area, has a population of 1.7 million people
Poland belongs to the Central European time zone (GMT + 1 hour / UTC + 1 hour), except for between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October when it switches to daylight saving time. Poland is a parliamentary republic. Prime Minister and Council of Ministers led by him are the leading institutions. The President is a head of state and is elected every five years in a popular election. The Parliament is bicameral and consists of a 460-member Sejm (the lower house) and a 100-member Senat. The elections take place every four years. Sejm is elected under d'Hondt proportional representation method, with 5% election threshold, and Senat under plurality voting system with 2-4 Senators elected from each constituency.
After 1989 Poland came through a shock therapy liberal project by Leszek Balcerowicz, the then Minister of Finances. It caused serious social damages, as in other former Eastern Bloc countries, although Poland was the first of them to regain the pre-1989 GDP level. Since last 15 years Polish GDP grows rapidly, with an average rate of 5% per year. The inflation rate is low and the wages have grown. The unemployment, very high until 2004, is rapidly decreasing. Right now its level is 8,8 %. These economical factors, along with the modest living costs, make Poland an attractive location for both studying and working.
Polish university education system has a history of 650 years of educating high profile professionals. It resulted with a profit not only for Poland, but also for many countries all over the world, where the Poles brought their profesionalism and the spirit of innovation.
Today, the Polish higher education system is developing rapidly. Poland holds fourth place in Europe (after the United Kingdom, Germany and France) in terms of the number of people enrolled in higher education. The total student population at over 400 university level schools is almost 1,5 million. Each year almost half a million young people begin their education at universities and colleges. Most schools offer courses in foreign languages.
The Polish higher education system is well developed. The quality of the education provided is monitored and regularly evaluated. The main Polish institutions in charge of quality assurance in higher education are: the Polish Accreditation Committee, the General Council for Science and Higher Education and the Conference of Rectors of the Academic Schools in Poland.
There are over 5000 courses available in Poland and each of them has had to gain the Polish Accreditation Committee's approval. Among them there are a number of fields of study that have received the grade: excellent.
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.
Polish specialists of all professions are highly appreciated by the recruiters worldwide. Especially Polish doctors, engineers, architects and IT specialists are acclaimed, but other Polish graduates are also considered to be fully prepared to compete on a global job market. The quality of the system is guaranteed by State Accreditation Committee, which monitors all Polish higher education institutions. According to its control results, over 80% of the Polish universities have outstanding and good rankings.
As a top international student destination, Poland provides an enriching cultural experience to incoming students worldwide. Most of those studying in Poland have only good things to say about the historical landmarks, beautiful landscapes, city life and the great variety of social activities. Many of them consider that the opportunity to study in Poland greatly helped their self-development.
Eleven universities in Poland were nominated for international student satisfaction awards. Two Polish universities received average scores of 9.5 out of 10, and were awarded the Certificate for Outstanding International Student Satisfaction: Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan and the University of Economics in Katowice. Students also rated three more universities in Poland as "excellent": Gdansk School of Banking, the University of Warsaw and Wroclaw University of Technology. A further six Polish higher education institutions were rated "very good".
Living in Poland is like living anywhere else in Europe. I think the Poles tend to be more connected to nature as manifest by the large percentage of people in Poland who have farms or gardens. Even in Krakow, there are a number of garden houses.
I would say six months you stay inside because of winter. Three months are 50-50 and three months are ideal. Summer all business basically slow down to a snail's pace.
Try to get something done in the summer. You will notice the whole country is on vacation. Krakow, the Baltic coast Warsaw even is left for the tourists.
People are not smiling as much in Poland, I think mostly because of the weather. It is a micro climate where moisture from the Atlanta meets cold weather from the north and it is mostly damp, cloudy and cool.
Going on a decade of living here and do not need a car. Does that say something. Every small town as a good bus or rail connection and every city has trams and buses. It is very easy to get around Europe without a car. Will never have a problem. Polish people complain about Polish roads but there is less traffic here. In Krakow you can get from one end of the city to another in 1/2 hour. Try doing that in Boston, maybe you can on a Sunday, but not Monday morning rush hour.
People are not as into sports as in the USA. except for soccer every one is pretty much just walking for fitness. There are gyms of course, but people ride bikes and walk and look very thin, not as meaty as American guys for example, more intellectual. But Americans are very smart people, just more like the ancient Romans and the European like the ancient Greeks. People play chess a lot like in all Eastern European post communist countries.
Polish lifestyle and culture is close to that of other European nations, which makes it easy to build relationships and make friends.
In Polish cities you can find a vibrant range of urban life - exhibitions, concerts, talks, slow food events, film and music festivals, and so forth. Museums and galleries are plentiful.
Summer in Poland is all about being outside and there are lots of great things to do outdoors such as windsurfing, kayaking, hiking in the mountains, camping, going to the seaside and bike riding
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.
Polish cuisine is mostly known for its comforting and fulfilling dishes like pierogi and kielbasa.
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.
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 Opener (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.
|Accommodation||USD 323.09 to USD 695.41|
|Meals for Two||USD 25.04|
|Sports And Leisure||USD 45.86|
|Utilities (Water, Electricity, Internet etc.)||USD 171.89|
|Public Transport Monthly Pass||USD 24.54|