And welcome to the Polish forums.
One what is the area like?
I live near Krakow, I am Irish and I think it is a wonderful city.
I don't know what kind of climate you are accustomed to but the summers are hot and the winters are cold.
Recommendations for Krakow and Myślenice and somethng else of note is an hour's drive south Recommendations for Zakopane.
How much will it cost me to stay?
I find that this very much depends on your quality of life and habits.
Rent and entertainment vary in prices depending on location and standard.
So the more information you provide the better we can answer this question.
and will it hurt me that I do not speak fluent Polish?
It is always advisable to learn even the basic polite forms of the language before you stay in any country.
Almost all young people in Krakow speak English and all the menus in restaurants and bars are in English, as Krakow is a tourist destination it has changed a lot over the past few years, regarding language.
Any advice you can give will be helpful.
It is a really beautiful city and I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy it :)
What are you going to study?