FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
- When does the recruitment for studies in Poland begin?
- When does the academic year at Polish universities start and end?
- How to apply to study in Poland?
- Do I need visa or passport?
- Do schools offer a financial aid for students from abroad?
- Is the health insurance required?
- Is the Bologna system in force in Poland?
- What is the average monthly cost of living in Poland?
- Where can I live in Poland?
- Do schools offer a financial aid for students from abroad?
- Where is the best to open a bank account?
- What kind of privileges do I have as a Polish student?
When does the recruitment for studies in Poland begin?
Each school has its own recruitment schedule. Usually registration of candidates on Bachelor studies and uniform master-level studies begin in May or June and last till July. Then the results are announced. People who are taken for studies have to submit required documents in a given time. Usually in August the complementary recruitment is run. Sometimes state schools, even in September, take candidates in the selected majors or if there are still available places. Public higher schools run the recruitment with no time limit so from May till October. Detailed information about recruitment schedule might be found on the school websites.
When does the academic year at Polish universities start and end?
An academic year in Poland starts in October and ends in June. The academic year is divided into two terms: summer and winter term. The winter term begins at the beginning of October and lasts till the mid- February with 2-weeks Christmas break. The summer term starts in mid-February and lasts till the end of June with a week break for Easter. After each semester students are to take an examination session. After summer term the exams are in June but the whole session lasts till September (retakes, exams conducted before an examination board). Summer holidays lasts from July to the end of September.
How to apply to study in Poland?
It is necessary to prepare required documents. The Matura certificate received outside Poland have to be translated into Polish legalized or has an apostille. An apostille is a kind of a certificate on the basis of which official documents (such as certificates and diplomas) issued on the territory of a one country are considered to be valid on the territory of the other country. There is no obligation to legalize the International Baccalaureate and the European Baccalaureate. The embassy has to confirm that the level of a given document corresponds to the Polish standards of education. Foreigners are subjected to the same recruitment rules as candidates from Poland.
What kind of formal requirements do I have to fulfill to study in Poland?
First of all, you have to check in what way you can cross the Polish border. If you need visa or passport remember to apply for these documents in advance. Check carefully the recruitment schedule on a given university. Beforehand prepare required documents (translated high school diploma, a registration form, passport photography, a copy of ID or passport). Please note that some schools require a Polish and/or English language proficiency certificate and medical certificate of lack of contraindication to study. Note also that each university requires different documents so the best you can do is to look for information on the school website or contact deanery for student affairs to get full, reliable information. As a foreign student you need to get health insurance as well.
Do I need visa or passport?
Poland is in the Schengen Area. To enter to the countries that belong to this zone it is required to have a valid ID. A passport is required from citizens of those countries with which Poland has not agreement on visa waiver (there is 66 countries – a link). Citizens of the other countries have to get in advance a visa that is valid up to 12 months. A student must keep on his/her mind to update the permission to stay in Poland.
To what extend do I have to know the Polish language?
In Poland there is a possibility to study in two languages: Polish and English. Not every school offers their classes in English. They are mainly for Erasmus students, but separate majors in English are paid. To study in Polish foreigners must obtain one of the requirements given below:
- To complete one-year access course to start study in the Polish language in schools chosen by minister of higher education
- To hold a language proficiency certificate from the State Commission for the Certification of Proficiency in Polish as a Foreign Language
- To obtain a confirmation from a hosting universities that their preparedness and the level of Polish language proficiency permit to study in Polish.
- Sometimes it does happen that schools (especially public ones) offer special courses for their students-to be before the beginning of the academic year or while the first year of study. It gives the opportunity to those foreigners who know Polish at a very basic level.
Is the health insurance required?
UE/EFTA citizens have to have TheEuropean Health Insurance Card(orEHIC). To get this card a student must apply for EHIC to the appropriate office in a country, attached a certificate from the Polish university or school that delegates to study. Other foreigners must purchase a commercial insurance policy that (depending on the chosen medical service) costs from about 30 to 280 zloty per month. If you have got the Polish Charter (Karta Polaka) you may go to the National Health Fund (in Poland - NFZ) and receive health benefits free of charge. The others should go to NHF to make a registration. They should have with them a passport, a certificate from school about studying and a certificate from the city hall about registration of residence with the PESEL number (the national identification number). The insurance premium to NFF is 46 zloty per month. The insurance premiums for Polish citizens and those who have the Polish Charter are paid by the universities.
Is the Bologna system in force in Poland?
Yes, it is. These are first cycle studies (undergraduate studies last 3 years or engineering studies last 3, 5 year), second-cycle studies (master level studies, 2 years) and doctoral studies. Some majors like medicine, law, psychology are implemented only as uniform-master level studies. After graduating the second cycle there is a possibility to take postgraduate studies.
Where can I live in Poland?
The vast majority of state schools in Poland have their own campuses. You are free to rent space in rooms 1, 2, 3 or 4-bed at a reasonable price. To get a place in a dormitory you must submit an application in advance in your school. For the 1st-year students the deadline is to, more or less, 20th of August while 2nd, 3rd or 5th year students submit an application at the end of the summer term.
You can also rent a flat, what usually more expensive option. Ads with flats for rent offer you may find in a local press or on websites, such as www.gumtree.pl, www.olx.pl, www.gratka.pl.
Do schools offer a financial aid for students from abroad?
Foreigners may receive Polish government scholarship on the basis of bilateral agreement. Thank to this they are exempted from tuition fees; however, there is a limited number of scholars. To receive Polish government scholarship it is important to go to the Polish diplomacy abroad. Once during studying in Poland students, who receive scholarship, may grant:
- settling-in grant for the first year, not exceeding 60% of the scholarship
- random grant of not more than 40% of the scholarship,
- Grant that is given in connection with the preparation of diploma project of not more than 40% of the scholarship
Additionally students from abroad may an allowance (paid once in emergency situations), scholarship (low-income), housing grant, mobility allowance or scholarship for outstanding academic performance. If you are Belarusian it is worth to check the Konstanty Kalinowski Scholarship Program. This program is for those people who cannot study in their own country due to political repressions.
Where is the best to open a bank account?
There are many banks in Poland that have special offers for students and people up to 26. Choosing a bank one should pay attention to the additional fees for a debit card, account management, the amount of free ATMs in the city, additional charges for transfers or withdrawals from ATMs of other banks. The full list of banks is here (link). Students most willingly chose accounts in BZ WBK and mBank due to the low costs of the account and the number of free ATMs.
What kind of privileges do I have as a Polish student?
In Poland students have got 51% discount on travelling with PKP (railway) and public transport in all cities. In many pubs, beauty shops, gyms, Xerox or restaurants there are discounts available or “happy hours” where after showing student card a student receives a discount. Some schools offer their students possibility to install Microsoft Windows, MS Office and other programs necessary for studying for free. However, this is each university an individual offer. As a member of European Union, Poland takes part in students’ exchange program LLP Erasmus. All students may benefit from it. Apart from international exchanges there is a possibility to try to study at another Polish university within the MOST program.
Under what conditions can I take a job in Poland?
As a student you don’t need a work permission if:
- you have a residence card issued for the purpose of beginning or continuing full-time studies. If you study at part-time studies or part-time evening studies (called “wieczorowe”) you need to obtain a visa with the permission to work;
- you have a residence card issued for the purpose of beginning or continuing full-time studies (than you can work without any permission in July, August and September only);
- you are directed to work practice or practices;
- you are obliged to hold practice by the university you study (you can work as a trainee max 6 months without a permission).
If you need permission, your employer-to be have to submit for it in the Voivodeship Office.
What is the average monthly cost of living in Poland?
It depends on the city in which you begin your studies. Small cities (and dormitories) are usually cheaper than the biggest cities like Warsaw, Poznan, Wrocław or Cracow. To count the average cost of living you should check the prices of renting a flat, monthly ticket for public transport, board and extra expenses for living or hobbies. Rent a double room fluctuates around 300 and 600 zl, monthly tickets for public transport for students is about 40-60 zl. Assuming that you can make a soup and scrambled eggs and dinners outside you’ll have occasionally only, so for food you should have about 300-400 zl for month. Tickets for music clubs cost approximately 20-40 zl, beer in pubs 5-8 zl. Other expenses are an individual matter.