Study programme at WUR: Nutrition and Health
Study period exchange: 18/02/2019 until 30/06/2019
Country (exchange): Poland
City (exchange): Warsaw
University (exchange): Warsaw University of Life Sciences
2. Motivation for exchange
Why did you choose to go on study exchange?
To gain more experience abroad, to experience living in a bigger city, to meet people from all sorts of cultures, to have the opportunity to travel more.
What is the reason you chose for this country/university?
Located in central Europe which makes it easy for traveling. The courses at WULS were also in my interests. They offered a lot of different courses so I was able to take courses outside of nutrition as well. Also, Poland is really cheap (eg. Dorms cost 100 euro per month).
3. Accessibility to reach destination
Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination?
Flying to Chopin airport is the easiest (only 6km from the university) and there is a direct bus (bus 148) from the airport to the university.
4. University and studying
Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?
How is the study formalized?
All courses are quite easy. For every course there is one lecture every week. Almost none of the courses you need to do an exam for, just presentations. They make you work in groups that consist of multiple nationalities. All professors are very interested in the differences in countries. Class size is small (7-30 people), mostly only Erasmus students. Workload is small. You need to attend most lectures to pass the class. Only in the end of the semester there are the presentations. No work to do at home after class. Lectures are in small classrooms, usually with the professor just lecturing without any engagement.
Also important to know that you can change your subjects completely once you arrive, and since every lecture of a certain course is given on a specific day of the week, you can plan your own schedule. For me, I was free on Monday and Friday every week.
What is the culture of the university?
Teachers are very approachable and like to know about your country and your opinion on Poland. Furthermore, there is basically interaction with local students, except for maybe 2 courses total. You get a Polish student as mentor when you arrive, who some people keep in contact with but otherwise Polish students and Erasmus students are very separated (even when living in the same dorms).
What does the university offer the student additionally?
On campus there are about 5 canteens/café’s in which you can get meals and coffee. There is a swimming pool on the campus but rules are quite strict I believe. There is a small gym in the dorms but no one really goes there. Instead most people buy a student card which gives you access to a lot of different gyms in the city. There is a laundry room in every dorm, which costs like 2 euro every time (with drying). You have to register for this though, and most of the time a week or more in advance.
What are the possibilities for housing?
Most Erasmus students lives in the dorms. I could also really recommend this. Before arriving you get to choose your preference of who you want to live with, if you want to live in a 2 or 3 person dorm etc. Dorm rooms are very small, bathroom is shared with 10 and kitchen with the whole floor. However, I got lucky and was placed in the dorm and floor where most Erasmus students lived so it was always so much fun. As mentioned, dorm rent was only 100 euros per month. Most ESN activities are also located in the dorms just like pre-drinks and parties.
You can also live in the centre via other organizations but this is way more expensive (think normal Wageningen rent) and quite far from campus (about 30 minutes by bus).
What is the culture of the country like?
Warsaw is a very modern city. Most restaurants have vegetarian options and there are lot of vegan café’s here. The Polish cuisine is not the best in my opinion but nice to try regardless. People in the service industry (waitresses/cashiers/receptionists) are not very kind, basically never smile and when they are a bit older, they don’t speak English. However, you get used to this and younger people are super kind.
Also, student discounts in Poland are only given to Polish students, not international, unless you have a Polish student card.
Could you give a general price indication of the place of residence compared to living in Wageningen?
Specifically, I pay 400 zlotys per month here, which is roughly 95 euros. 3-person dorms are even cheaper.
Could you give some information about public transport infrastructure?
Most people buy a 3-month subscription which gives you unlimited traveling by bus/metro/tram in Warsaw. This cost like 30 euros I believe. You can download this onto your Polish student card. When traveling by train domestically, you get a 50% discount as a Polish student. Uber here is very cheap. It’s used a lot when coming home from the clubs since campus is quite far out of the city. Mostly it’s about 5 euros, split by 4 people of course.
Public transport is great here. Google maps is very up to date with the public transport.
I use the public transport a lot, especially bus and metro.
6. Free time
What are must-sees in the area?
Definitely Gdansk and Krakow, both easily reached by train (retour ticket is about 10-15 euros). I would also recommend visiting Lublin, Poznan and Wroclaw which are great cities. Zakopane near the Tatra mountains is very beautiful if you like nature. Bratislava/Vienna, Budapest, Berlin, Lviv are also easily reached by train. It takes a long time though, usually the whole day to get there. But it is not that expensive, 40 euro for retour.
Kiev is great to visit as well, I went by plane.
Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time?
Gyms are nice here as well. There’s so many great restaurants so you’ll have no trouble finding it. Charlotte, Orzo, Manekin are awesome. Polish restaurant Zapiecek is very good.
Would you ask Suzan more about her exchange?
You can send her a mail: Suzan.email@example.com