With its rich history, dynamic culture, and quality educational institutions, Poland has tons of benefits for international students. Unbeknownst to many, Poland boasts a diverse range of affordable English language degrees and Master’s programs. Besides, with a relatively lower cost of living than many European nations, particularly those in the West, Poland is ideal for international students on a budget.
Read on to learn why Poland is a great destination for international students who want to learn more about Central European culture, and expose themselves to diverse study and work opportunities — all while on a budget!
#1: Relatively affordable university tuition fees
Expect to pay a yearly school fee of €1,500 and €5,000 if you are pursuing your Bachelor’s degree. For instance, if you pursue your degree full-time at the University of Warsaw, you only need to set aside a tuition budget of €1,500 to €5,000 yearly for courses.
The good news is that some tuition-free options are available at the University of Warsaw! If you study at the Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan (UAM), expect to pay only €500 to €1,000 if you are a non-EU student! Bear in mind that, although some universities like the University of Warsaw, permit school fees to be paid in installments, others might require a one-time payment for the total sum once you enroll as a student.
Meanwhile, average school fees in Poland range from €2,000 to €6,000 annually for Master’s level programs. Although the cost of tuition in Poland can depend on your course and institution, the school fees are relatively more affordable than in many Western European countries like the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland. In contrast, a Master’s level course at the University of Oxford in the UK could cost a student £24,450 – £29,160 yearly! In most cases, EU and non-EU students pay the same tuition fees when studying at Polish institutions of higher learning.
Notably, in universities like Jagiellonian University, if you fail a module for one semester as a full-time student, the tuition fees for that same course will be higher in the following academic year.
#2: Affordable living costs
The typical monthly living cost for an international student in Poland would range between €350 to 550 (including accommodation, travel and food) depending on the city he or she lives in. Student dormitories can be rented from €80 per month, while renting a room in an apartment can begin from €150 monthly. To provide you a clearer idea of costs of living in Poland, a typical cup of coffee can cost as little as €1.10, while a standard bowl of tomato soup at a bar mleczny (a milk bar or a cheap food outlet) can cost around €3. Entry to art galleries and museums is usually free for students as well.
#3: Job opportunities for current international students
Poland offers many job opportunities for international students, even as they pursue their studies. According to Polish law, non-Polish students can look for employment and work up to 40 hours weekly as long as they are full-time students. Note that while many students work and study simultaneously, many opt to work part-time at around 20 hours weekly, due to study demands. Students who are not EU nationals must also have a valid residency permit before looking for work in Poland.
All students, including those who are in Poland for the first time, those enrolled in the first year of a university program, and those who are enrolled full-time in a language school, have the right to work.
#4: Poland has a wide range of study options
As Poland has over 400 universities and a student body of around 1.5 million, based on figures from Euro Medicity, you can look forward to studying a broad range of subjects ranging from design to business management. Furthermore, many Polish business schools are internationally accredited, thus enabling students the option to find work in multinational companies after graduation. Besides, hundreds of prestigious scholarships programs are available for humanities students.
#5: Work opportunities in Poland or in the EU after graduation
Students who are full-time graduates of Polish institutions of higher learning can look forward to finding work in Poland or in the EU upon graduation. You can stay in Poland for up to 12 months after you complete your degree, with your residence hinging on the expiry date of your student visa. As long as your visa is still valid, you can remain in Poland and work full-time. To extend your stay beyond that point, you would have to secure a job and get your employer to arrange a work permit for you.
#6: Student-friendly infrastructure
Not only do Polish universities have quality infrastructure (including student accommodation, classrooms with multimedia resources and state-of-the-art labs) for students, Polish cities are also student-friendly, enabling students to benefit from city bicycle networks, car-sharing systems and public transport. According to American College Magazine’s 2016 list of the top 10 student-friendly cities in Europe, Poland’s Lublin featured as one of them! As many Polish cities and towns are accessible by train, bicycle, bus or car to nature reserves, forests, mountains and lakes such as the Biebrzański National Park, Mazury Lake District,Tatra Mountains, as well as the Błędów Desert (Central Europe’s only desert), students can take a breather from their studies and work and enjoy Poland’s natural beauty -at almost no costs (besides transportation)!
Poland might not have been a country featuring in your list of possible destinations to study abroad in. Yet, if you would like to study abroad in an exciting European country while on a lean budget, perhaps it’s time you give Poland a try!