Poland Study Abroad Country Profile

Poland Overview

Poland is situated in a crucial location at the center of Europe. Like many other European countries, Poland has a strong creative tradition and has produced some of the most important minds in scientific history. Its old cities and breathtaking natural areas provide scenic views and picturesque backdrops for historical buildings and old castles. Poland is the largest of the former Eastern European states, and it is perhaps most famous for being the birthplace of the former Soviet bloc’s first officially recognized independent mass political movement. Today, Poland is a strong, stable country with a democratic government, particularly since its accession to the European Union in May 2004.

Cultural Highlights

Culturally, modern Poland reflects 1,000 years of history. Poland is at the confluence of Western and Eastern Europe, and its culture is largely influenced by both regions. Poland has long been viewed as open to artists from other countries and cultures and, as a result, Polish art is very versatile and nuanced.

Poland’s architecture is a good example of this mixing of influences, though many of Poland’s architectural monuments have not fared well historically. Despite this, Poland is home to a number of castles, churches, and stately buildings, many of which have been magnificently restored. Polish art has traditionally reflected styles prevalent elsewhere in Europe while retaining a unique identity – many of Poland’s most notable artists created works in many easily recognizable styles painted by other famous European artists, from realism to cubism. Poland also has long literary and poetic traditions, with two Nobel prizes in literature. Distinct Polish foods like kielbasa and pierogi are a big draw in the gastronomic realm and are very much apart of the Polish cultural identity.

Popular Fields of Study

Overall, Poland’s educational system is ranked quite high. Poland was ranked third worldwide for educational well-being by UNICEF, and Poland’s institutions of higher education provide nurturing environments and a variety of hands-on, experiential opportunities for Poland study abroad students. Research is a highly valued aspect of Polish higher education, and there are a variety of academic disciplines that are catered to here.

Students interested in literature can study the work of Poland’s Noble Prize winners and other European authors. Poland is actually a growing destination for students interested in environmental anything – environmental science, botany, forestry, and geology, as well as alternative energy. History and politics are also two popular fields of study here – not surprising given Poland’s location and its past.

Why Study Abroad in Poland?

Poland has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Poland.

1. Institutional Diversity

Poland has over 100 institutions of higher education, from traditional universities to engineering schools, agricultural academies, and academies of economics. There is something for every discipline.

2. Emphasis on Research

The higher education system in Poland stresses hands-on research experiences. This can be a great opportunity for students interested in gaining international research experience.

3. Warsaw

The capital city and the capital of Polish higher education, Warsaw features many cultural and historical sites and attractions to enhance your experience.

4. National Parks

Poland has 24 national parks spread around the country, showcasing its many unique landscapes from the Baltic coast to the southern border in the Tatra Mountains. Take a long weekend to enjoy some of Poland’s scenic natural areas.

5. The Environment

Students interested in environment related disciplines from geology to ecology will find something that suites their interests in Poland. Poland’s many natural areas and unique ecosystems provide fantastic backdrops for a hands-on research experience.

6. Performing Arts

Poland has more than a dozen theaters and three major opera companies to help immerse you in the Polish creative tradition.

7. Outdoor Activities

Though its natural landscapes are beautiful on their own, outdoors enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to really appreciate their surroundings. Skiing is a popular activity in the Tatras mountains, particularly in the range between the Alps and the Caucasus. For many Poland study abroad students the beaches along the Baltic Sea provide a popular weekend destination.

8. Friendly People

Whether or not you are interested in developing Polish language skills, people in Poland are friendly and happy to help you, whether you are practicing your Polish or simply asking for directions.

9. Malsurian Lake District

Consisting of over 1,000 lakes, this region of Poland is a great destination for weekends and is popular with anglers, canoers, and others.

10. Polish Food

Like many of its counterparts, Polish food is starchy and filling. Take advantage of the variety of traditional and modernized dishes available – food is an important part of Polish culture.

Poland Study Abroad Statistics

Poland Country Ranking: 31

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 0.35%
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 858
  • Total US Students 2007/08: 926
  • Yearly 2006/07 Trend: +7.3%
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