Kimberly Morren in Poland

Study programme at WUR: Nutrition and Health
Study period exchange: 21/2/2018 until 4/7/2018
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?

Everyone around me who already went on a study exchange really recommended it to me and said it was one of the most amazing experiences in their life. This was one of the main reasons why I decided to go on study exchange. Next to that, I was really curious to study in an international environment and to meet different people with very different cultural backgrounds. And of course it is nice to live in another country and explore this country and its culture.

3. Accessibility to reach destination

Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination?

The flights from the Netherlands to Warsaw are very cheap. For both of my flights I didn’t pay more than 30 Euro. I booked my flights one month before I left. I flew from Eindhoven, because this is overall cheaper than Amsterdam. Warsaw has 2 airports, Chopin and Modlin. Modlin is a little out of the city but the taxis and Uber are really cheap in Poland.

4. University and studying

Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?

I mainly followed courses that had something with agriculture or nutrition, like Food and nutrition Policy, organic agriculture and environmental aspects of food and nutrition. But I also took some more social courses like Team integration and Food sociology. I really liked this mix of courses and the offer of courses they had at SGGW.

How is the study formalized?

Overall almost everything is via email, to enrol you just contact the Erasmus coordinator at SGGW, and also the registration for courses etc. is via the Erasmus coordinator. Of course you could also visit this coordinator at the old campus. When you had problems or questions his office was always open which was very nice.

What is the culture of the university?

As I said before, some of the teachers can’t speak English very well which makes it hard sometimes to follow the lecture. There was engagement with local students, the ESN section at SGGW is really good and organizes a lot of events that also a lot of Polish students attend. They also have a really good mentor buddy system which is really nice in the first weeks you are in another country. Overall, the middle-aged and older people in Poland can’t really speak English, they are a bit cold but when you speak a few word Polish they are way more friendly, so I recommend everybody who goes to Poland to learn some Polish. Of course the younger generation speaks more English but still they rather not do it because they are insecure about their English speaking qualities.

What does the university offer the student additionally?

The university has a little gym, but actually no one use this because it is really small and has a lot of old equipment. However, there were a lot of gyms close to the university. You could just buy a membership that was really cheap and use this gyms and all the wellness. These gyms where really clean and modern. Furthermore, in every building there was catering where you could buy a hot meal and some snacks, this was really cheap. Also, there were a few small supermarkets on the campus. The laundry was not really nice, with 2 dorms we shared 2 laundry machines and one dryer. You had to sign up at the reception for this laundry and then pay €1,25 for one laundry.


What are the possibilities for housing? 

I would really recommend to live in the dorms! Maybe the comfort is not as good as in the Netherlands, but it makes it really easy to get to know people. And because almost everyone of Erasmus is in the dorms it is really cosy and it is easy to hang out with people.

The University provides a double or triple room for every exchange period. You can choose to live here as I did or find your own room in the city center. The double rooms are 90 euros per month and the triple rooms 85. I lived in a double room together with one of my friends from Wageningen, we shared our bathroom with 8 other students, both exchange and Polish. There is one toilet, one shower and two sinks for 10 students.

What is the culture of the country like? 

The locals are a bit more stiff and not very welcoming to people who don’t speak their language. The cuisine is a bit like German cuisine, lots of dishes with potatoes and meat and one of the things they eat most are Dumplings, sour cabbage and pickles. Overall I didn’t really liked the traditional polish cuisine but because Warsaw is such a big city they also have a lot of international restaurants that serve really good food for cheap prices. Lastly, there are a lot of vegan options in Warsaw, since it is kind of a hipster city with a lot of vegan/vegetarian restaurants.

Could you give a general price indication of the place of residence compared to living in Wageningen?

As I said before, the double rooms are 90 Euro per month and the triple rooms 85. Compared to Wageningen this is of course very cheap. You have a little less comfort because the rooms are quite small and you have of course less privacy but overall the rooms are nice and cheap.

Could you give some information about public transport infrastructure? 

Public transport is really cheap in Warsaw. For students it is 40 Euro for 3 months. Also the taxi prices and Uber is really cheap, we always took a taxi going home from a party. This was never more than 2 Euro per person. I didn’t have to travel to university because I slept in the dorms at the campus as most people do. But I think most people travel to university by Metro and bus.

6. Free time

What are must-sees in the area?

I preferred to travel by car, that we rented. Or train is also a good option, this is quite fast and very comfortable. The things you must see in Poland are: Krakow, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Zakopane and the Masurian Lakes. Poland has a lot of good places to travel to and travelling in Poland is also very cheap.

Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time?

I think overall the whole of Poland is not really a destination that a lot of people choose, but I would definitely recommend to go to Gdanks and Zakopane. These areas are a little bit less touristic but really beautiful.