Why study in Poland

Why Poland ..?

Poland is a fascinating country that serves as the geographical and cultural crossroads of Eastern and Western Europe. Located at the center of the Northern European plain, Poland has been a nation of survivors since the foundation of the first Polish state more than 1000 years ago. Through its turbulent history its people have managed to maintain their identity, and today, the country enjoys a crucial position as the largest of the former Eastern European states and one of the most populous members of the European Union.

Poland is a member of the European Union. It joined the Schengen Area in 2007. As a result passport checks are abolished on Poland’s borders to Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Lithuania. It practically means that persons admitted to the Schengen Area can travel hassle-free between the countries of the Schengen Area without internal land and sea border controls, from Portugal to Poland and from Greece to Finland.

Thanks to its location, Poland occupies a special place in the European Union. Poland’s border on the river Bug became the EU’s eastern border. In the wider geographical and geopolitical sense Poland occupies a central position. More and more foreign investment from Western Europe is to be shifted to Poland, as well as from the US and Asia. Poland’s geographic location facilitates the logistics activities and forecasts indicate an increase in the number of immigrants to the country.

Polish institutions of higher education participate in international student exchange programs and engage in bilateral agreements and individual exchange programs pursued by particular schools. All these initiatives enhance the development of relations between Polish and foreign institutions of higher education. The number of Polish institutions of higher education awarded an Erasmus University Charter approach 200 and the mobility of Polish students grows rapidly.

Poland’s education market has been the most dynamically developing one in Europe during the last twelve years. The number of higher education institutions has increased five-fold while the number of students quadrupled. Each year almost half a million young people begin their education at universities and colleges.

Polish academic traditions reach back to the 14th century, some of Europe’s oldest universities can be found here. The Jagiellonian University of Cracow was established in 1364. Nicholas Copernicus and Marie Skłodowska-Curie are among great names of Polish scientists known and admired worldwide.

Polish universities offer high-quality studies and are an integral part of the European education space. All leading universities offer programmes thought in English, these include medicine, engineering, humanities, business and finance. Poland takes active part in the Bolonia Process. Thanks to the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) students can be fully mobile, and continue education in other countries.

Poland in short

  • Official name:  Republic of Poland /Rzeczpospolita Polska (short form: Poland/ Polska)
  • Government type: republic
  • Location: Central Europe
  • Border countries: Belarus 416 km, Czech Republic 790 km, Germany 467 km, Lithuania 103 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Slovakia 541 km, Ukraine 529 km
  • Language: Polish
  • Capital city: Warsaw
  • Major cities: Gdańsk, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław
  • Population: around 38 mln inhabitants
  • Total area: 312 685 sq km (304 465 sq m – land, 8220 sq m – water)
  • Climate: temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
  • Local time: GMT + 1 hr
  • Member of the European Union: Since 2004
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 89,8%, Eastern Orthodox 1,3%, Protestant 0,3%, other 0,3%, unspecified 8,3%
  • Monetary unit: zloty (PLN)
  • Actual exchange rates: www.nbp.pl

General Information about Poland

GEOGRAPHY

Poland is located in the very centre of Europe. With the total area of 312,679 km² (120,728 sq mi) it’s the seventh biggest country on the continent. Polish population is over 38,5 million people. The capital city is Warsaw (around 2 million inhabitants). Poland borders 7 countries: Germany on the west, Czech Republic and Slovakia on the south, Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania on the east, and Russia on the north.
Most of the country is located on lowlands. On the south there are upland areas with two major mountain chains – the Carpathians (Karpaty) and the Sudetes (Sudety). The Baltic sea coastline on the north measures 770 km. The longest river, Vistula (Wisła) is 1,047 km (678 miles) long.

The highest point of Poland is the peak of Rysy, 2,499 meters (8, 199 ft) in elevation. The lowest point in Poland is at 2 meters (7 ft) below sea level, located in the Vistula Delta.

The climate is moderate. The average summer temperature ranges from 20 °C (68 °F) to 30 °C (86 °F). Winters are cold – the average ranges from 3 °C (37,4 °F) in the northwest to –8 °C (17,6 °F) in the northeast.

HISTORY

First Polish state was recognized in second half of Xth century, when the Piast dynasty connected a few territories ruled by local Slavic tribes. In 966 Poland was baptized, and in 1025 the first king- Bolesław Chrobry – was enthroned. In the twelfth century Poland was divided to a few smaller states. The reunification took place in 1320. In 1385 Poland and Lithuania formed a commonwealth. The common Polish-Lithuanian state (named the Republic of Both Nations) became one of the biggest and strongest countries in Europe. The crisis emerged in the half of XVIIth century with the Swedish invasion, which caused a serious social and economical damage. Between 1772 and 1795 Poland went through a series of wars, ending with partitioning the country between Russia, Prussia, and Austria. The independence was lost for 123 years.

In 1918 Poland regained its sovereignty as a parliamentary republic. The borders were formed after three years of wars against Germany, Soviet Russia, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and Ukrainian forces. In 1926 Józef Piłsudski, the most popular leader and World War hero, organized a coup, transforming the country to presidential republic.

In September 1939 Poland was attacked by joint German (1 IX) and Soviet (17 IX) forces. Until 1945 the country was occupied. Over 6 000 000 people (half of them Polish Jews) perished. Polish troops fought against Germany on numerous fronts of World War II.

Between 1945 and 1989 Poland was ruled by communist governments installed by Soviet Union under the name of People’s Republic of Poland. The country had some social and economical achievements, but human rights were abused and many civil liberties suspended. In 1989 the independent trade union „Solidarność” under the leadership of Lech Wałęsa has overthrown the regime. Poland built the democratic institutions and joined the international organizations: NATO in 1999 and European Union in 2004.

POLITICAL SYSTEM

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.

ECONOMY

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.

Weather in Poland

Poland is placed in a moderate zone with mixed continental and oceanic climate influences. The average annually temperature is about 6-8 degrees Celsius while the rainfall is estimated at 700 mm.
The weather in Poland is also characterised by transitional periods between the four seasons of the year.The weather in Poland is rather unpredictable and varied. Spring is often changeable. There are rather moderate temperatures. The summertime can be really hot, even 35 °C.  Autumn is usually sunny, but  November is frequently very wet and can be cold.
Winters can be really cold, with the chance of snow from November till March. The temperatures from December to late February usually fluctuate around 0 °C to -10°C.  In the mountains snow usually covers slopes in the period.

Poland in Short

  • Border countries: Belarus 416 km, Czech Republic 790 km, Germany 467 km, Lithuania 103 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Slovakia 541 km, Ukraine 529 km
  • Language: Polish
  • Capital city: Warsaw
  • Official name: Republic of Poland /Rzeczpospolita Polska (short form: Poland/ Polska)
  • Independence: 11 November 1918 (republic proclaimed)
  • Government type: republic
  • Location: Central Europe
  • Border countries: Belarus 416 km, Czech Republic 790 km, Germany 467 km, Lithuania 103 km, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast) 210 km, Slovakia 541 km, Ukraine 529 km
  • Language: Polish
  • Capital city: Warsaw
  • Major cities: Gdańsk, Kraków, Łódź, Poznań, Wrocław
  • Population: around 38 000 000
  • Total area: 312 685 sq km (304 465 sq m – land, 8220 sq m – water)
  • Climate: temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers
  • Local time: GMT + 1 hr
  • Member of the European Union: Since 2004
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 89,8%, Eastern Orthodox 1,3%, Protestant 0,3%, other 0,3%, unspecified 8,3%
  • Monetary unit: zloty (PLN)
  • Currency exchange rates: www.nbp.pl

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