Life in Poland
Because of Poland’s central location, you could say it connects the eastern and western parts of Europe, both geographically and culturally. A former communist state, Poland has been recognized in recent years as one of Europe’s most resilient economies, continuing to enjoy growth even while the rest of the region suffered the effects of the 2008-9 financial crisis.
Modern-day Poland offers a wide range of sites and activities, catering to lovers of both natural landscapes and city life. Highlights include beautiful beaches beside the Baltic Sea, the Masurian Lake District, the Tatra Mountains, picturesque villages and of course the country’s many vibrant cities.
Of course it also doesn’t hurt that the cost of life in Poland is relatively low in comparison to most European countries. The local people are also known for their hospitality and friendly nature, so they will no doubt help you get settled.
Student Cities to Study in Poland
The capital of Poland, Warsaw is also the country’s largest city. It is situated close to the center of the country, on both sides of the river Vistula, and has a distinctive character and spirit. The city was almost completely destroyed during World War II, leading to a large-scale reconstruction project which aimed to recreate much of the original architecture.
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Its Old Town district, beside the river banks and popular among tourists, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated as “an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.”
Aside from its historic center, Warsaw also has a growing collection of skyscrapers, ranging from the residential Złota 44, completed in 2012, to the art deco-inspired Palace of Culture and Science, which dates back to 1955.
There are lots of universities and colleges to choose from in Warsaw, including Poland’s highest-ranked institution, the University of Warsaw, and Warsaw University of Technology, which also features in the QS World University Rankings. The city was a new entry in the QS Best Student Cities 2016, and is ranked 52nd as of the 2017 version.
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The second largest city in Poland, Krakow is located in the southern part of the country. It served as the Polish capital for five centuries, up to 1569, and remains a major economic, academic and cultural hub. One of the most popular destinations for visitors to Poland, it captivates people from around the world with its splendid historic architecture – which, in contrast to Warsaw, survived WWII largely intact.
The city is in some respects an open-air museum of Polish heritage, from Europe’s largest medieval town square and the magnificent gothic Wawel Castle, to art nouveau-style bohemian cafés in which the country’s great artists and thinkers have gathered over the years.
There are about 20 universities and colleges in Krakow, of which just under half are publicly funded, including the oldest and second highest-ranked university in Poland, Jagiellonian University.
The third largest city in Poland, Łódź is in the center of Poland, about 130km to the south-west of Warsaw. An important industrial center, particularly during the textiles boom of the 19th century, it’s sometimes nicknamed the “Polish Manchester”, in comparison to the UK’s textiles hub. Today, Łódź has lost its former industrial buzz, but continues to be an attractive business center, due to its central location, good connections and proximity to the capital.
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Attractions enjoyed by visitors and residents include a good selection of galleries and entertainment venues, and one of the longest commercial high streets in the world. The city is also home to a good selection of higher education institutions, including Lodz University, ranked in the top 100 of the latest QS EECA University Rankings.