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Poznan University of Economics or University of Warsaw ?

3 Jun 2015 #1
Which University is a Better option to study ?
DominicB - | 2,709
3 Jun 2015 #2
That depends on a lot of things: how old you are, where you are from (citizenship and residency), what exactly you want to study, what you want to do after you finish your studies, how you plan to finance your studies, and why you want to study in Poland.

As a general answer, there is little reason for foreigners to study in Poland. There is little, if any, financial aid available to foreigners, extremely few, if any, employment opportunities for foreign students, and English language programs are generally of low quality and dubious reputation and utility outside of Poland.
jon357 72 | 21,387
3 Jun 2015 #3
It also depends on what he or she likes doing while not studying and which city has an atmosphere that suits - the OP gives no clues.
DominicB - | 2,709
3 Jun 2015 #4
Another factor is the cost of entertainment, which is generally lower in Poznan than in Warsaw.
slavicradio1992 2 | 13
7 Mar 2017 #5

University of Warsaw -- Reputable?

I am interested in the English courses. Is all that is needed for acceptance is money to pay? Can I go there for my first year and transfer to an American university? Furthermore, if I decide to stay, is this University's program reputable for four year undergraduate studies that an American law school would accept?
Atch 20 | 3,922
7 Mar 2017 #6
Hi Slavic. You're back! I thought you were going to study political science and economics in the USA? The University of Warsaw is certainly reputable but that doesn't necessarily mean that the degree you choose will be ok for law school. The only way to determine whether the degree obtained in Poland would be acceptable for American law school is to contact the law schools you're interested in and ask them. It may not be easy to get a definite answer from them however. Institutes of higher education usually decide these things on a case by case basis, unless they have an arrangement in place with other education authorities/individual 'partner' colleges, so they usually ask to see a detailed syllabus for the degree you've studied in order to determine the level of the content. So unless they've had applicants in the recent past who've done the same degree as the one you're considering, then they won't be able to give you a definite answer. The same thing goes for the transfer business.

Another thing you'll find when you start dealing with any official stuff in Poland is that though things have improved there, it can still be difficult to obtain information that is easy to get in more 'Western' countries and the process of accessing information can be slow. However it's worth contacting Warsaw University and asking them whether any students from the English language medium degrees have transferred back to American colleges during their studies. You'll probably need to phone them as Polish offices of all kinds are notoriously bad at responding to emails and you won't get a definite answer straight away. It will take a bit of chasing up. Now in Ireland, where I'm from, you can actually get to talk to a Prof from the course you're interested in, they're extremely approachable but that's not generally the case in Poland unless the college has an open day. However it's often the best way to quickly access really useful information.

As to getting accepted, it really depends on the number of applicants they get but even if your grades are a bit borderline, they will probably squeeze you in if they can, because as other posters previously mentioned, they really do want the money.
DominicB - | 2,709
7 Mar 2017 #7

Here's the lowdown on these English courses. The universities run these courses as a means to generate cash. That is practically their entire interest in running these courses. They have little commitment to providing a solid education and learning environment for the students they accept, and provide very little support for the money they take. They target two courses at two populations of students:

1) rich kids who just want to get a degree from anywhere as a rite of passage and don't have the grades to get into real studies. To them, the quality of the degree does not matter in their future career, and they are not looking for serious, demanding students. They are mostly slackers, party goers and playboys who have enough money to live the highlife because they are not really concerned about grades, and they don't have to worry about passing because they have enough money to essentially buy their degree. They don't have to worry about the value of their degree, either, as they are mostly trust-funders, heirs or rich Arabs.

2) Desperate, naive and gullible students from generally poor countries who cannot afford studying at a better university. Some of these are serious students, but soon find out that the quality of the courses is low and the degree they earn is not worth very much, whether in Poland or abroad. Most of these students eventually quit, either because they aren't interested wasting their time with studies that lead nowhere, or, sadly, because they can no longer afford it. There is a bit of a scam here, because the universities, in their marketing materials, vastly underestimate the cost of living in Poland, overstate the value of their degrees, and assure students that part-time jobs are easily available, when it is practically impossible for foreign students to find jobs in Poland, either during or after their studies. These kids basically get ripped off, having nothing to show for their parents' investment or for the precious time they have spent.

Because of this, the universities are not very discriminating about the quality of students they accept. It's not far from the truth that all that you need to get in is the ability to fog a mirror and cold, hard cash.

It is EXTREMELY difficult for a real Polish student taking a serious Polish-language course at a good Polish university to get their coursework recognized by a good American university. For those taking these English-language courses, it is impossible. The same thing applies for admissions to graduate and professional schools. American schools know about the low quality of courses at these universities. It's not like you are going to be able to bluff your way in.

As I told you before, you should examine affordable options in the US. Community colleges and state universities are the best option. State schools, especially. You can get a top-notch education for very little tuition, depending on your state of residence. Even good community colleges have agreements with better schools that make transferring a lot easier. The quality of education is also higher than in an English-language program at a Polish university, and you will be able to find financial aid or be able to earn as you learn.

And do yourself a favor and study something with lots of advanced applied mathematics. A student in a demanding math-and-science field is going to be accepted to a good law school sooner than a student in international relations or political science. And there is little point in going to a second or third rate law school, as you read in the article I linked to in a previous post. It's worth considering taking a year to buff up your math skills so that you can get into a good science course, and to learn some good study habits.

If there is any demand for lawyers anymore, it is for patent attorneys and intellectual property lawyers with backgrounds in technology, science and engineering. The demand and job prospects for other lawyers are decreasing. Far too many are graduating as it is for the number of jobs available, most of whom will never work a day in their lives as lawyers.
Atch 20 | 3,922
7 Mar 2017 #8
Ok, I managed to find this information for you in terms of equivalence which gives you some idea of credit transfer between Poland and America:

"Ultimately, it is the student's home institution that decides how the credits and grades earned at the Jagiellonian University will be entered into their home institution's records. Many US colleges, for example, consider 2 ECTS points to be 1 US 'credit hour'.

Some North American institutions use the following equivalences for grades:

2.0 = F
3.0 = C
3.5 = C+
4.0 = B
4.5 = B+
5.0 = A

Please consult your home institution before assuming that they will follow any specific system of interpretation or equivalence."

You need to familiarise yourself with the European Credit Transfer stystem (ECT) and the Polish grading system.

Here's a link to the full explanation:


are determined by the number of hours required to complete each module/course in a study year. Your Polish transcripts will give ECTs which an American college can then convert into the American equivalent. Roughly a three year undergraduate program will give you 180 Ects if I remember correctly.

Here's the American system explained and it has a section on converting ECTS into American credits with an online calculator:

This is about transferring to an American college from Europe. It has a transfer profile section where you can search colleges in America for their requirements. Your choice of law school might be on there:
DominicB - | 2,709
7 Mar 2017 #9

Those rules would apply to Polish students Polish-language courses at Polish state universities. And they are not rules, because the admitting university can choose to ignore them, and usually do, especially in the case of students in English-language programs applying to serious American universities.

None of my Polish students were ever able to have any of their work in Poland recognized at an American university. In fact, one of my students didn't even have his semester at another American university recognized when he transferred to a better university, and had to start from the beginning.

It's best to assume that none of your studies in Poland will be recognized except with PRIOR approval of the admitting university in the States. Getting recognition after the fact is daunting, at best, and often downright impossible. Good universities in the US manipulate their curricula and course descriptions specifically to make transferring credits extremely difficult in the best of cases. That is why, if you choose to go to a community college or feeder school, you should choose one that has a favorable agreement with the university you eventually want to transfer to.

Get competent academic counseling in the US, preferably from the university you plan on graduating from, and also the professional school you plan to attend. You're not going to find anything useful on the internet, because these things are university-specific, and, as Atch said, usually handled on a case-by-case basis.
mafketis 35 | 10,718
7 Mar 2017 #10
None ...beginning.

Those in charge of making those decisions at universities have every incentive to recognize as little as possible. I mentioned here before someone whose entire degree (at a state landgrant university) was not recognized by another state landgrant university.... (their masters degree was recognized as a BA)

It works a little better for work, I think. A Polish friend had most of her Polish degree (from commie times) recognized and had to do very little to be able to work in the same field in the US.
Atch 20 | 3,922
7 Mar 2017 #11
PRIOR approval of the admitting university in the States.

Yes Uncle Dom, that's what I done diddly said, diddle I? :))

The only way to determine whether the degree obtained in Poland would be acceptable for American law school is to contact the law schools you're interested in and ask them.

they usually ask to see a detailed syllabus

Which of course the OP won't be able to provide. Even if she'd completed the degree the university probably wouldn't or couldn't give her that information. I think foreigners have absolutely no idea how unhelpful Polish bureacrats can be. So really she can't know until she's potentially wasted three or four years of her life with a degree that will be of no use to her.

I just linked to those equivalency things to give Slavic some idea of how the system works but yes, the bottom line is that there's no way of knowing until you do it for real. Also you're undoubtedly right that an English language progam will be of very basic quality. Your profiling of the students attending those courses is spot on.

State schools, especially. You can get a top-notch education for very little tuition, depending on your state of residence.

Once again you speak the truth oh Wise One.
slavicradio1992 2 | 13
7 Mar 2017 #12
Well, you're probably wondering why I retreated back to the forums. My parents blew a gasket when I told them the plan was not a good idea. I have gotten acceptance letters from numerous great American universities who were my Polish "back-up plan", so I tried to ease in the idea of just staying in the States. Nevertheless, the whole "let's toss our child to Poland for a cultural and cheap college experience" dream was still burning within them. Even after I showed them what everyone said, they still refused to believe me. As immigrants they scoffed at the idea that the "Harvard of Poland" was essentially junk. So the post above were the questions they asked. My Mom has asked for me to at least go for one year, to have the experience of our home country. I am at a tough place. Personally, I just want to head to NYC for a "new life".
DominicB - | 2,709
7 Mar 2017 #13

The University of Warsaw is OK, and even pretty good in some STEM fields. That is, for the full-time problems taught in Polish. The programs taught in English are a whole different story, and are a bit of a scam, I'm afraid. Of course they blew a gasket when you said you wanted to go to NYC. The cost of living there is exorbitant. The one thing you and your parents have probably not looked at is the possibility of getting financial aid, and low tuition or no tuition options like the one I mentioned above. But if they are intent on basically flushing their money down the toilet, there is little we can do to stop them. Too bad they they are flushing some of the best years of your life down that toilet, too. Some people have to learn the hard way.
7 Mar 2017 #14
As immigrants they scoffed at the idea that the "Harvard of Poland" was essentially junk.

Warsaw university is one of the top 500 universities in the world, but only the courses taught in Polish.

My Mom has asked for me to at least go for one year, to have the experience of our home country.

Why don't you offer to volunteer for a year in Poland? You could do that before or after college (after college you have skills but you'd need to get into the workplace to use them before they expire).
Atch 20 | 3,922
7 Mar 2017 #15
Sorry but something doesn't add up here. Last week you were saying that studying in Poland had always been yourdream, now it's your parents' dream. Last week you were worrying that your 'very average grades' (your own words) wouldn't be good enough to get you into a Polish university but yet you have received numerous offers from great American universities - which your parents won't let you just sounds weird.
slavicradio1992 2 | 13
7 Mar 2017 #16
I have to be honest, Poland was the idea of my parents. Disappointing them breaks my heart. For me personally, it is between Chicago AND New York. My dream is NYC, but being native to Illinois, the first option will be cheaper. I really do love my city, but sometimes all of us here wish to leave the Midwest. Nevertheless, the Chicago school is a bang for your buck, and is a good stepping stone to law school someday. My average grades are indeed how I said they are, but my essay was ( not to be pompous ) brilliant. The challenge now is breaking the news.
Atch 20 | 3,922
7 Mar 2017 #17
Maybe if you go to college in Chicago you could get some kind of summer internship in New York as a kind of compromise? I suppose everybody is chasing them but it's always worth a try.
DominicB - | 2,709
7 Mar 2017 #18

Your parents dollar will go a lot further in Chicago than in NYC, and life there is a lot more pleasant than in NYC. I lived there for five years myself, and loved it so much that I am going on vacation there this summer with two of my students.

Another question is, if your parents dream has been for you to live and study in Poland, why didn't they teach you the language? I take it you cannot speak and write Polish at a level that would enable you to apply for a Polish-language course in Poland. But then, you probably don't have the grades to get into one. Competition for the good Polish-language programs is pretty fierce, and the standards are rather high, and the courses are pretty rigorous.
slavicradio1992 2 | 13
7 Mar 2017 #19
That's a good idea Atch! Out of curiosity, are there any universities you'd recommend to me ( given all the information you know about me ) in Europe if my parents are set on pushing me abroad ?

Well, Dominic, I can speak and read Polish fluently with flying colors, the problem is just writing long essays. That right there is my biggest issue. I have two languages swirling in my head and it can be horrendously difficult to concretely put my ideas on paper.
Atch 20 | 3,922
8 Mar 2017 #20
The problem with other European universities Slavic is that you're up against the same issue of language. You're restricted to choosing study programs offered in English and I couldn't comment on the quality of those, wouldn't have a clue. Your only other option is the UK or Ireland as those are obviously English speaking countries but the cost of living there is very high for an American student, that's presuming you could get accepted.Your GPA is just about the minimum required and your ACTs are probably below the minimum.

Your dilemma seems to be that somehow you and your parents have formed a picture over a period of time that you could save money by studying in Poland and at the same time gain a certain European gloss (a bit like the old finishing school concept) so now you're finding it hard to let go of that idea. Sounds to me like your parents have that typically Polish trait - stubborn! Look, it's like this. Either you take a year out and go abroad purely for the cultural experience or you start your studies at home in the USA and if your parents really want the cultural thing for you, you might be able to do an exchange year with a European uni during your degree. The bottom line is that you shouldn't be compromising the quality of your education. You should let go of the old dream and set yourself some new goals and dreams :) Achievable ones....the most sensible thing to do is to take one of those offers from a good American college or if money is really a serious problem preventing you from accepting them, explore the cheaper or no cost options that Dominic suggested. You're just starting out in life and this is just the beginning of your real education. Sometimes in life we can't get what we want by the quickest route, we have to take a more roundabout way, but as long as we get where we want to go in a reasonable length of time then that's ok. I know people seem to be a bit snobby about community colleges but they're a good starting point so don't dismiss them completely.

Regarding your fluency in Polish, if you have two languages swirling in your head and that impedes your ability to communicate complex ideas, then you're not fluent. You're heading towards fluency but not quite there yet. The reason you can't write long essays is because you've never really persevered with it. If you enrolled in a degree through the Polish language it would be demanding at first, but within a year you'd probably be completely fluent. I suspect that you enjoy writing in English and have developed a certain style over the years but you can't achieve that quality and style in Polish which you find frustrating but don't dismiss your ability to do a competent essay po Polsku. The sad fact is that wihere degree studies are concerned it's not so much about your talents as a writer but often more about serving back to the examiner the same stuff that's been dished up on the course you've studied. You don't really need to be brilliant or outstanding or especially original, you just need to give them what they want and include all the key points that you're supposed to have absorbed.

Well anyway, let us know how it goes with your parents and good luck with everything. Stay strong!
DominicB - | 2,709
8 Mar 2017 #21
Well, Dominic, I can speak and read Polish fluently with flying colors, the problem is just writing long essays.

Wish you had said that earlier, because it changes everything. It may be that your parents idea is not as harebrained as I first though, just that they are going about it a bit wrong.

First, the bad news. With your current grades and your current level of Polish, it is probably going to be very difficult to get into a serious Polish-language program at a top-notch Polish university like the University of Wrocław. And, if by some stroke of luck you did get accepted, it would be difficult to keep up even if you worked your butt off. The drop-out rate at Polish universities is extremely high, with about half of the students quitting after the first year, and only a third going on to finish their degree. Frankly, I don't have much confidence in you making the cut until you learn some better study habits and improve your Polish, and that's going to take time. But I do have confidence that you can do it if you apply yourself and work hard.

Now, the good news. Warsaw is an expensive place to live, and, in my opinion, not a very pleasant city. The pleasant cities are Kraków, Wrocław and Toruń. The cost of living is slightly lower in these cities than in Warsaw, and the quality of life is, again, in my opinion, a lot higher. You could consider spending a year in one of these cities studying "General Studies" with the primary aim of improving your work habits and Polish, and learning about life in Poland. It would be a "throw away" year as far as academic credit is concerned, but it will give you a chance to work hard and make up for any deficiencies you have. My guess is that, if you excel, you will be a much more attractive candidate to a serious Polish-language academic program, in Warsaw or elsewhere. And that you would be able to handle the coursework they throw your way.

There is another possibility, though, that would make this all a lot easier on your parents budget. That is to study at the branch of Uniwersytet Śląski in Cieszyn. The university is a serious state university, like the ones I mentioned above. It is much smaller, and, in contrast to most Polish universities is situated on a compact campus just outside one of the loveliest little towns in Poland. Cieszyn is located right on the Czech border, and has a charming Polish half and a vibrant Czech half. It may be a little isolated from the rest of Poland, but it is only ten or fifteen miles away from a very large and exciting Czech city, Ostrawa. You could always catch the bus to visit Kraków, too. It's just a couple of hours away. And there is an express train to Warsaw, the Wisła express, from the next Polish town, Goleszów, which is within biking, and even walking distance from the campus.

Living in Cieszyn is going to cost about half what it does in Warsaw. It ain't NYC, but it is a culturally vibrant pair of small towns that have a lot to offer. And with Ostrawa within pi$$ing distance, and easy access to Kraków and Warsaw, you are not going to get bored before the year is up. Personally, I love Cieszyn, and spent at least two vacations a year there during my 12 years in Poland, and one year, I took four vacations there.

It has all the advantages of small town living, low cost and easy to get around, with none of the disadvantages, isolation and backwardness. The population is cosmopolitan and well educated on both sides of the border, and there is none of that peasant mentality you usually find in small towns.

I think taking a year in Cieszyn to do some acculturation and preparatory studies is more like what your parents would appreciate. It's much more realistic than enrolling in an low-quality English-language course, and it's a lot cheaper than Warsaw, Kraków and Wrocław, without having to sacrifice quality of life. In short, it is a better investment considering your present circumstances. Even if you do return to the States and do not get any academic credit recognized, which will probably be the case, it won't be a wasted year as you will return with better study habits and a better grasp of Polish, and the experience of living in "real" Poland instead of "fake" Warsaw. Talk this over with your parents.

Until then, read Polish voraciously to build your vocabulary, increase your reading speed and comprehension, and improve your sense of style.

The contact info for the university in Cieszyn is:

Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach
Wydział Etnologii i Nauk o Edukacji w Cieszynie
ul. Bielska 62
43-400 Cieszyn

tel. 338546103

Best get moving on that now, as it will take some time to talk to the right people about putting together an appropriate one-year study plan for you.

Good luck!
DominicB - | 2,709
8 Mar 2017 #22
Oh, one more thing, the university in Cieszyn has very nice dorms right next to the study halls. I have stayed in them myself and was quite impressed, A lot nicer, cheaper and more convenient than you would find in the bigger cities, where the universities don't have campuses, and things are spread out throughout the city.
Atch 20 | 3,922
8 Mar 2017 #23
Warsaw is an expensive place to live

a lot easier on your parents budget

The original plan was for her to live with her Babcia in Warsaw. That would cut out the rent expenses which is the major part of the budget for most people. I imagine her parents would then contribute a certain amount each month to Granny for additional food bills etc. Also perhaps Slavic's parents feel that living with Granny would ensure that their daughter behaves herself, no wild partying etc under Granny's watchful eye!

a better grasp of Polish, and the experience of living in "real" Poland instead of "fake" Warsaw.

If she lives with her Babcia she'll be talking Polish all the time I imagine and I'm sure she'll see quite a bit of the extended family and get a taste of real Polish family life.

So I'm not sure that the options you suggest, though excellent, have any added attraction for her parents. It will be interesting to see what their reaction is.

it would be difficult to keep up even if you worked your butt off.

That's an excellent point. Slavic, I'm not sure if you're aware but the college contact hours/lectures in full time degrees are very high in Poland. It's pretty much five days a week and can be a full forty hours a week.
slavicradio1992 2 | 13
9 Mar 2017 #24
Wow guys !! I am in awe. You sure love to write! Awesome answers once again. Read every word. I'll think over all of this and talk to my parents. I'll try to keep you updated. Next few weeks are going to be very hectic. Thank you for your advice !
slavicradio1992 2 | 13
28 Apr 2017 #25
Hello ! Just a quick update. I'm attending college in Chicago ! How exciting. I'm also double minoring ! One of those minors being Slavic literature. So thrilled.

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