Study in Poland
Location and Geography
Poland is situated at the very heart of Central Europe sharing borders with Russia in the north; Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine in the east; the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the south and Germany in the west.
Europe is not a homogeneous place. Along with countries like Germany, where awareness of climate change and willingness to act are very high, there is also Poland, one of the most industrialized countries in the EU and the biggest of the new Member States. With its decades of reliance on coal, Poland is at the forefront of vigorous opposition to progressive climate policies. At the same time, it is one of very few European countries growing quickly despite the Euro zone and global economic and financial crises.
History and Population
Great (north) Poland was founded in 966 by Mieszko I, who belonged to the Piast dynasty. The tribes of southern Poland then formed Little Poland. In 1047, both Great Poland and Little Poland united under the rule of Casimir I the Restorer. Poland merged with Lithuania by royal marriage in 1386. The Polish-Lithuanian state reached the peak of its power between the 14th and 16th centuries, scoring military successes against the (Germanic) Knights of the Teutonic Order, the Russians, and the Ottoman Turks.
Lack of a strong monarchy enabled Russia, Prussia, and Austria to carry out a first partition of the country in 1772, a second in 1792, and a third in 1795. For more than a century thereafter, there was no Polish state, just Austrian, Prussian, and Russian sectors, but the Poles never ceased their efforts to regain their independence. The Polish people revolted against foreign dominance throughout the 19th century. Poland was formally reconstituted in Nov. 1918, with Marshal Josef Pilsudski as chief of state. In 1919, Ignace Paderewski, the famous pianist and patriot, became the first prime minister. In 1926, Pilsudski seized complete power in a coup and ruled dictatorially until his death on May 12, 1935.
Despite a ten-year nonaggression pact signed in 1934, Hitler attacked Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. Soviet troops invaded from the east on Sept. 17, and on Sept. 28, a German-Soviet agreement divided Poland between the USSR and Germany. Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz formed a government-in-exile in France, which moved to London after France’s defeat in 1940. All of Poland was occupied by Germany after the Nazi attack on the USSR in June 1941. Nazi Germany’s occupation policy in Poland was designed to eradicate Polish culture through mass executions and to exterminate the country’s large Jewish minority.
The Polish government-in-exile was replaced with the Communist-dominated Polish Committee of National Liberation by the Soviet Union in 1944. Moving to Lublin after that city’s liberation, it proclaimed itself the Provisional Government of Poland. Some former members of the Polish government in London joined with the Lublin government to form the Polish Government of National Unity, which Britain and the U.S. recognized. On Aug. 2, 1945, in Berlin, President Harry S. Truman, Joseph Stalin, and Prime Minister Clement Attlee of Britain established a new de facto western frontier for Poland along the Oder and Neisse rivers. (The border was finally agreed to by West Germany in a nonaggression pact signed on Dec. 7, 1970.) On Aug. 16, 1945, the USSR and Poland signed a treaty delimiting the Soviet-Polish border. Under these agreements, Poland was shifted westward. In the east, it lost 69,860 sq mi (180,934 sq km); in the west, it gained (subject to final peace conference approval) 38,986 sq mi (100,973 sq km). The population of the Republic of Poland was at only 1 million around the year 1000. This figure doubled by 1370 and gave Poland a population density of 8.6 people per square km. The country was affected comparatively little by the Black Death than the rest of Western Europe, which is why its population didn’t fall as much and continued to rise. By 1490, Poland’s population had jumped up to about 8 million inhabitants. Urbanization in the country further increased the population due to the innumerous migrations. By 1815, there were 11 million Poles in the territory; but due to the 3 partitions after 1772, the population was distributed among different countries.
However, the population still struggled to revive. Even after the millions of deaths in the Second World War, the census held in 1946 indicated a total population of 23,930,000. Out of this, 32% of the people were living in cities and towns and in urban areas, whereas 68% of the people were living in the countryside. The population further grew until recently, when it finally started decreasing because of a negative growth rate.
Society and Culture
The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate thousand-year history Its unique character developed as a result of its geography at the confluence of various European regions. With origins in the culture of the Early Slavs over time Polish culture has been profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic, Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the many other ethnic groups and minorities living in Poland. The people of Poland have traditionally been seen as hospitable to artists from abroad and eager to follow cultural and artistic trends popular in other countries. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity. These factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art, with all its complex nuances. Nowadays, Poland is a highly developed country; however, it retains its tradition.
The Economy of Poland is the sixth-largest in the EU, and the largest among the ex-communist members of the European Union. Before the late-2000s recession its economy grew a yearly growth rate of over 6.0% .
The Netherlands has two constitutions: one for Europe and a federal constitution that applies to the whole of the Netherlands. There is no traditional separation of powers in the Dutch system of government. The Queen and cabinet of the parliament share legislative power. All legislation has to pass through the parliament; the Raad van State (States General) and the Social-Economic Council advise the government on most socio-economic legislation. Twelve provinces form the administrative layer between the national government and the local municipalities.
While the cost of living in the Netherlands is among the lowest in Europe, actual living costs depend on lifestyle and on the city/town of residence. As in most countries, the big cities are more expensive than rural areas. The average total cost of living per month is estimated to be in the range of €750–€1,000, including accommodation €280–€600, food €240, books/stationery €70 and other €270. Bicycles are an extremely popular and cheap form of transport in the Netherlands. Students may be able to obtain discounts on some purchases if they have an international student card.
Costs will also vary according to the type of accommodation, transport, and each student’s financial situation. Types of accommodation available include on-campus; staying with a family or renting/sharing a flat. Higher education tuition fees range from €6,500–€32,000 per year for non-EU international students depending on the course and level of study.
The right to education and the freedom of teaching in Poland are safeguarded by the Constitution of the Republic of Poland n The basic legislative act which regulates the functioning of the education system for youths and adults is the Education System Act of September 7 th , 1991 amended in 1995, 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2003. n The most important legislative acts for the higher education sector are: the Act of September 12 th , 1990 on Higher Education with subsequent amendments; the Act of June 26 th, 1997 on Higher Vocational Schools with further amendments
Studies in Poland cost 2000 Euro yearly as a minimum, but it’s necessary to check out the price of the course of your choice, as it may by higher, depending on particular university’s decision. Scholarships are available for students with proven Polish origin. For graduate students the amount is 850 PLN, for postgraduate students 1270 PLN a month. All students from Belarus who are subject to political repression may participate in Kalinowski Scholarship Fund, offering 1270 PLN a month. The scholarship application must be posted to local Polish consulate before coming to Poland. Polish consulates provide all the necessary information.
Information Specific to International Students
Poland represents a multi-year programme promoting Polish higher education and attracting international students to Poland. The programme officially initiated by the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland and the “Perspektywy” Education Foundation in May 2005 consists of information and promotion activities. It also encourages Polish universities to increase number of studies offered in English and other international languages.
The Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland (CRASP) is a voluntary association of rectors representing Polish institutions of higher education with the right to award doctor’s (Ph.D.) degrees (or equivalent) in at least one scientific discipline. CRASP was founded on 7 June 1997 by rectors of universities, technical universities, institutions of agriculture, pedagogy, economics, medicine, and fine arts. Currently, CRASP has 107 members and 4 associated members. The Conference of Rectors of Public Vocational Schools (KRePSZ) has the status of an associated conference.
CRASP safeguards traditional academic values, including the constitutional principle of higher education institutions autonomy which guarantees the right of these institutions to present their positions on all issues of interest to the academic community. The Conference is governed by the Statutes adopted on 24 September 2005 and amended on 14 November 2005 and then on 13 October 2006 by the Plenary Assembly of CRASP. The aims of CRASP are: to inspire and co-ordinate the co-operation of the academic schools in Poland; to undertake activities leading to establishment of an integrated system of national education and to the development of the system of higher education; to represent the interests of higher education and science, and the common interests of its member schools, including the selection of their representatives to international associations of rectors or universities.