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Wroclaw or Krakow or Bialystok to study in Poland?


erasmustudent
15 Mar 2017 #1
Hi, I will come next year as erasmus student to Poland.
My department is International Trade and Finance.
Which city is better for going trip to europe and for staying ( dormitory ) ?
Should I choose Wraclow or Krakow or Bialystok?
Harry
15 Mar 2017 #2
Should I choose Wraclow or Krakow or Bialystok?

If you aren't white, avoid Bialystok.
Personally I'd go for Wroclaw, it's by far the nicest of the three cities. Krakow has too many tourists and is too expensive. Bialystok is a bit rough and not pretty.
mafketis 24 | 9,125
15 Mar 2017 #3
Personally I'd go for Wroclaw, it's by far the nicest of the three cities.

This is all absolutely true. It's maybe just a tad rougher than Kraków (apart from Nowa Huta) but mostly very nice. Also, the nice area in Wrocław seems larger than the nice area in Kraków (too touristy and kind of overhyped in my opinion).

Wrocław all the way!

wroclaw panorama
DominicB - | 2,709
15 Mar 2017 #4
@erasmustudent

I'm going to have to disagree with Harry here. While I love Wrocław, and lived there for eight years myself, it is not a city that is particularly known for trade or finance. Almost everything interesting in finance happens in one city: Warsaw. As for trade, three cities stand out: Poznań, Gdańsk and Białystok. Białystok is the most interesting of these because it is the center for trade not only with the Baltic States, but, more importantly, with Russia.

Yes, Wroclaw and Kraków are the most beautiful cities in Poland, but they are also the most expensive, except for Warsaw. Białystok may be a run-down provincial outpost with little charm, but the cost of living there is substantially lower. On your budget, a lot of the things that make Wrocław and Kraków such attractive cities are beyond your reach anyway. The quality of life you can afford may well turn out to be higher in Białystok than in those cities. Most of all, housing will be substantially cheaper and probably easier to find in Białystok than in Wrocław and Kraków.

The area around Białystok is very beautiful if you are into nature. There are extensive wetlands, old-growth forests and lots of lakes. Canoeing on the Czarna Hańcza River, the Augustowski Canal, and the Biebrza and Narew Rivers through wetlands of the Czerwone Bagno was one of the best vacations I have had in my life. If you are a bird-watcher, it is a dream vacation.
mafketis 24 | 9,125
15 Mar 2017 #5
it is not a city that is particularly known for trade or finance

The student is on Erasmus, my contact with Erasmus students in Poland (and talking to Erasmus students coming back to Poland) is that actually doing things useful for their studies is _very_ low on the list of priorities of most of them. It's a valuable experience but not necessarily in purely academic/professional terms (nor is it meant to be).

For what the Erasmus program actually is (as opposed to what it is on paper or what some people think it should be) Wrocław is by far the best choice.

Białystok would be for the adventurous (or foolhardy) or those who know some Polish already (and are white)

Kraków would be for the conventionally minded with lots of money.

Wrocław is the most interesting with relatively easy connections to Germany and Czech Republic and Poznań (and even Kraków, worth a visit if not a semester).
jon357 63 | 15,677
15 Mar 2017 #6
I agree. Wroclaw is the nicest - it has a sort of Mitteleuropa feeling and is also popular with students. Kraków is stuffed with tourists but has a good nightlife etc however it isn't as friendly as Wroclaw. I like Bialystok however it's a much smaller place and as people have said, it does have a problem with racism.
DominicB - | 2,709
15 Mar 2017 #7
my contact with Erasmus students in Poland

I hosted three Erasmus students when I lived in Wrocław. To say that they were very serious about their projects in Poland would be an understatement. Obsessed is more like it.

Also, you seem to imply that the cost of living in Wrocław is lower than in Kraków. I have not found that to be the case. In any case, the OPs money is going to go a lot further in Białystok than in Wrocław, and their lifestyle will consequently be a bit more comfortable.

Nor did I find Białystok anywhere near as "dangerous" as you seem to imply. It's a Polish city like any other in terms of safety. It might not be a pretty city, but it is not the Wild Wild East. It's more attractive than Katowice or Łódź. Avoid drunken people, and avoid alcohol yourself, and you'll be fine. In Poland, violence is almost always caused by drunks.
jon357 63 | 15,677
15 Mar 2017 #8
It might not be a pretty city,

It's pretty in its way, but still a much smaller place than Wroclaw with much less to do and somewhat more old-fashioned in attitudes. I go there a lot and it reminds me of stepping back to the 80s.
DominicB - | 2,709
15 Mar 2017 #9
with much less to do

Many of those things to do are beyond a student's budget in Wrocław and Kraków. Wrocław is by far the best city in Poland to live in if you have abundant cash and can take advantage of all the city has to offer. Much better than Warsaw, or even Kraków, in my opinion. But if I were on a smaller, fixed budget, I would consider the eastern cities, Rzeszów, Lublin and Białystok, where my money would go much further than in Wrocław. So even though Białystok may have less to do in general, it may actually have more to do on a tight student budget.

I was often in Białystok, too, and though I found it a bit provincial and backward, it was nowhere near as backward as you describe. If you want to feel what the eighties were like, go to Minsk, or, better yet, Grodno. Now that is like going back in a time machine. Really, the only things that I noticed in Białystok were the architecture (or lack thereof), the more visible religiosity, and the presence of old women selling things on the sidewalks. But Wrocław has its share of all of the above, so it's mainly a difference of degree.
jon357 63 | 15,677
15 Mar 2017 #10
beyond a student's budget

There are still plenty of activities and plenty of nightlife in Wroclaw that is geared to a student's budget. In fact there are thousands of students there.

I would consider the eastern cities, Rzeszów, Lublin and Białystok

These are places people are more likely to come from rather than go to.

bit provincial and backward

It's more the attitude there, even of educated people. I wouldn't mind living there myself (and have a weekend dzialka very near) however a younger person, particularly a student, would almost certainly be happier in a city with a large student population.
OP erasmustudent
15 Mar 2017 #11
Fellas, thank you for responds.
I can't choose Wroclaw or Krakow. Bialystok will be my 3rd prefer I guess.
I'm from Turkey.
I want to see around and other Europe countries, cities of course but I think I'll stay at dormitory at Poland, will it be a problem in Krakow or Wroclaw?

I heard Krakow would be nicer because it's a big city, more activities as you said that but I am afraid of expensiveness.

Krakow wants B2 English degree and acceps just 1 student per department and I can go to Krakow.
Wroclaw and Bialystok wants B1 degree and accepts 2 student per deparment.
DominicB - | 2,709
15 Mar 2017 #12
a student, would almost certainly be happier in a city with a large student population

As a student, I would almost certainly be happier in a place where my money went a lot further. And it's going to go about 50% further in Białystok than in Wrocław or Kraków.

I used to study in San Diego, a city with LOTS to do, but spent my weekends in Baja and Sonora, where my dollar went ten times as far at the time. You could get a whole lobster dinner with a pina colada in Ensenada for the price of a burrito and a cup of horchata in San Diego. At the time, Ensenada was a sleepy navy port with "little to do" compared to San Diego. But on my budget, there was A LOT more to do that I could afford.

So it comes down to how much money the OP can budget. If they have 1000 PLN at their disposal, then Białystok is the only option. Life in Wrocław or Kraków would be all but impossible. If they have 4000 PLN to spend, then Wrocław may well be the better option.
jon357 63 | 15,677
15 Mar 2017 #13
Life in Wrocław or Kraków would be all but impossible

Plenty of students in those cities have less than that, and as I said, there is plenty that is geared to students.

4000 PLN to spend

That is higher than the median salary for a working person.
OP erasmustudent
15 Mar 2017 #14
DominicB

Would it be better choice Wroclaw rather than Krakow?
DominicB - | 2,709
15 Mar 2017 #15
There's plenty of stuff that is geared to students in Białystok, too. There's 45,000 students in the city. 20% of the population. The OP will have little trouble finding things to do, especially considering that their money goes much further. They're not going to exhaust what the city has to offer by the end of an Erasmus stay.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,489
15 Mar 2017 #16
I heard Krakow would be nicer because it's a big city, more activities as you said that but I am afraid of expensiveness.

It's not so much about being expensive as simply not being as good a town for students.

In your case, Wrocław is by far and foremost the best option. There's a lot of international students here, it's not terribly expensive (shared rooms in dormitories are about 500PLN/month in a good location), and there are plenty of cheap places to socialise in, as well as plenty of cheap/free activities in English.

Don't even bother considering anywhere else.
DominicB - | 2,709
15 Mar 2017 #17
@erasmustudent

As far as cost goes, they are about the same. Neither has much going on as far as finance or trade are concerned, though. If I had enough money, I would pick Wrocław over Kraków. Like I said above, I lived there for eight years myself and loved it. And, like I said above, if money were a problem, I would pick Białystok over either.
jon357 63 | 15,677
15 Mar 2017 #18
Would it be better choice Wroclaw rather than Krakow?

I think so. Both are student cities however Kraków is also very very touristy whereas Wroclaw is less so and the student scene is more visible. It has a reputation for being a good place for students.

there are plenty of cheap places to socialise in, as well as plenty of cheap/free activities in English.

This is spot on.

I'm a long way off student age myself however I know all three places well and Wroclaw is a better option than Kraków. Forget smaller places in the east - great for a quiet weekend away however they tend to be places that younger people come from rather than go to.
OP erasmustudent
15 Mar 2017 #19
@DominicB @delphiandomine

Can we change the topic as : Wroclaw, Krakow and Sczcecin? I don't want Byalstok definitely.
Also which city more improves my language?
mafketis 24 | 9,125
16 Mar 2017 #20
lso which city more improves my language?

Polish? Any of them

English? None of them. You'll get better at face to face communication with other non-native speakers but that will actually cripple your ability to handle English in more formal situations (I've seen it happen, the simplied, often wrong, forms that develop in young people who use English with other non-native speakers are very difficult to change and they sound ignorant and uneducated to native speakers).

Going to a non-English speaking country to improve your English is not a good idea.
OP erasmustudent
16 Mar 2017 #21
Going to a non-English speaking country to improve your English is not a good idea.

Understood, maybe I learn Polish, right?

I still can't decide the city Krakow,Wroclaw and Szczecin.
Honestly Wroclaw is forward for me because it is a student city, but "Krakow is the best city in Poland" I am hearing it quite offen.

DominicB

mafketis 24 | 9,125
16 Mar 2017 #22
"Krakow is the best city in Poland" I am hearing it quite offen.

Hype for tourists. I've been to both and if I had to choose where to live for a semester I'd choose Wrocław in a heartbeat.

Szczecin is a mixed bag, I didn't much like it when I was there but some people do... there's no old town square which makes it a little... unreal.
DominicB - | 2,709
16 Mar 2017 #23
Also which city more improves my language?

I think you're misunderstanding something here.

The primary and default language of education and life in general in Poland is Polish. Most academics, especially those over thirty years old, cannot speak English at all. Many have only a rudimentary reading ability restricted to topics only in their field of interest. Younger people may have learned English in school, but only a minority can speak it with any degree of fluency, a very small minority can speak it well, and very few indeed can write in English. Outside of the university, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who speaks English, aside from a few waiters in the city center, perhaps, or a few workers for international companies. As a non-Polish-speaker, you are going to be very much an outsider, just as someone who does not speak Turkish would be an outsider in Turkey.

If learning English is a priority for you, then the only real options are the UK and Ireland. Otherwise, as Maketis points out, you might become better at communicating with other non-native speakers, but will develop a lot of strange and bad habits that will be difficult to get rid of. Poland is no better than Turkey in that respect.

By the way, Polish is not similar to English at all. Nor are you going to learn any Polish beyond "Hello", "Please" and "Thank you" and a small number of disjointed words during your stay. It takes years of very hard work to learn Polish.
DominicB - | 2,709
16 Mar 2017 #24
Understood, maybe I learn Polish, right?

Maybe not. That isn't going to happen. You have demonstrated no serious motivation to do so. And if there's one thing your going to need while learning Polish, it's motivation. Lots and lots of motivation.

There's something bothering me here, or a few things.

I'm not seeing any evidence that you know anything at all about Poland other than its position on a map.

I'm not seeing any evidence that you have a concrete plan of what you intend to do while in Poland.

I'm not seeing any evidence that you have researched the universities in Poland to decide which would offer the best circumstances to carry out your plan, if you have one.

I'm not seeing any evidence that you have reached out to any Polish academics working on your specific area of interest.

You seem to be more concerned about choosing a city, not the best university department to further your education.

In short, I'm not seeing any evidence that you are an attractive candidate for an Erasmus scholarship.

Why do you want to come to Poland, and what do you plan on doing there? It would help if you shared this information with us, we can provide you with useful information.
Ziemowit 13 | 4,223
16 Mar 2017 #25
I'm not seeing any evidence that you know ...

I'm not seeing any evidence that you have a concrete plan...

I'm not seeing any evidence that you have researched ...

I'm not seeing any evidence that you have reached out to ...

I am seeing some evidence that he is making fun of you on the PF.
mafketis 24 | 9,125
16 Mar 2017 #26
I'm not seeing any evidence

He sounds to me like a typical current Erasmus student. What century was it when you hosted yours?

At present Erasmus seems more like an intergration mechanism to mix students from different countries than a serious educational program. I imageine there are a few workaholics that treat it as a framework for advanced research but that's probably a small minority.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Students now.... aren't like they used to be.

The Erasmus students that seem to get the most from the program now are those that go to a place that speaks a language they are studying fairly seriously. I once knew a couple of Turkish guys who were studying Polish in Turkey and it was doing wonders for them.
DominicB - | 2,709
16 Mar 2017 #27
What century was it when you hosted yours?

Less than ten years ago. One German and two Czechs, two engineers and a botanist, all of whom spoke Polish. And all of whom were the workaholic type, with serious, carefully-planned projects to carry out, both science-wise and language wise.

It would surprise me that there was such a shortage of serious candidates that the selection committee would have to resort to clueless bunglers who just want to take a nice extended vacation.
mafketis 24 | 9,125
16 Mar 2017 #28
all of whom spoke Polish

ah ha! The other shoe drops. For most fields a serious scholar coming to Poland is not going to find much to do because... the programs are in English and mostly not so good (just like other English programs in Poland).

They might be able to find an individual scholar or two they can work with but then they don't need Erasmus as much.
jon357 63 | 15,677
16 Mar 2017 #29
For an Erasmus year, Poland is a great choice. There's certainly plenty in Warsaw and the whole point of the Erasmus scheme is to broaden horizons and get experience of living elsewhere in Europe.
OP erasmustudent
16 Mar 2017 #30
Sorry I am currently bussy this times, I've exams next week, I'm studying for them. I forgot mentioning Univercities.
Of course, university is vital for me.
My opitons are : Wroclaw University of Economics - Agh University of Science and Technology in Krakow - University of Szczecin.
So many people said that, the universities in Poland similiar to each other.

I want this Erasmus program for studying abroad, knowing European Culture, seeing Europe and Poland.


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