Poland is situated in the center of Europe and is among the largest and most populous countries in the region – ninth largest in Europe by area, and sixth in the European Union (EU) by population. Poland over the past decade has enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years, particularly since joining the EU in 2004; in the midst of the economic crisis of 2009, Poland was the only European nation to report economic expansion.
With a history dating back for over a thousand years, Poland’s cultural heritage is incredibly rich. This includes its longstanding traditions in the higher education sector, with the first university in Poland founded in the 14th century. Today, Poland is becoming an increasingly popular study destination, with more than 46,000 international students choosing to study there in 2014/15
It might interest you to know that Polish tertiary education lasts for three years at undergraduate (bachelor’s) level and one and a half or two years at master’s level. In order to apply, you will need to provide proof of having successfully completed the previous level of studies, along with proof of English language proficiency (unless you are a native speaker). Some programs might require that you sit an entrance exam or present a portfolio of work. You can also choose to study in Polish, in which case you’ll either need to submit proof of proficiency in the language or enroll in a year-long language course to prepare.
International Visa Application
Students who are residents of the countries within the European Union do not need a visa to study in Poland. However, upon arrival in the country, EU citizens need to apply for a temporary residence permit. International students from non-EU countries will need to obtain a student visa before arrival. On arrival, they will also need to apply for a residence permit, which will be valid for two years. For further assistance and information contact the Polish embassy in your country or visit the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
Higher education in Poland is free for Polish citizens. If you wish to benefit from this as well, you will need to sit the same entrance exams as Polish students and study a course taught in the Polish language. Otherwise, international students are required to pay tuition fees, which are typically in the range of US$2,300-4,530 per year at public universities in Poland. Fees at private universities in Poland will be slightly higher; depending on your course and the institution, the fees could be up to US$6,800 a year. Universities in Poland have recently stopped charging these fees in full up-front, in order to ensure that fees do not present too much of a barrier for international students.
Cost of Living
Costs of living in Poland are relatively low, though the amount of money you need will vary depending on your lifestyle and the city you’re based in. You will probably need at least 1,200-2,500 PLN (~US$320-670) per month to cover living costs, including accommodation. Accommodation in student halls of residence is usually cheaper at around 400-600 PLN (~US$110-160) per month, whereas a shared rented flat could cost around 1,000 to 1,600 PLN (~US$270-430) per month.
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