Lennart Jongen in Poland

Study programme at WUR: Soil, Water, Atmosphere
Study period exchange: 2015
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?

It fitted well in my schedule and I wanted to gain experience abroad. I also wanted to increase my social capacities.

What is the reason you chose for this country/university?

Many courses are taught in English and are only for Erasmus students. So there are sometimes lectures with only 3 students. This makes it possible to have personal contact with the teacher and you can ask him or her everything. You also have all courses for a whole semester, so no morning course or afternoon course for one period, but more the structure of a high school. The study load is lower than in Wageningen but I have learned completely different things that were useful for my master’s.
The courses and registration is all a bit of a mess, but the advantage is that the timetable is fairly flexible and if you want to pass more courses / credits than according to planning, this is not a problem. If you do not want to take extra courses, you can use this time for traveling. It is therefore very different from Wageningen.

3. Accessibility to reach destination

Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination?

The flights with Wizz Air from Eindhoven is sometimes cheap. Beware! There are two airports in Warsaw: Modlin and Warsaw Chopin. Modlin is far from the city and you still have to sit on the bus for 2 hours. Chopin is 6 km from the campus which is very close.

4. University and studying

Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?

It was advised not to do a course if you had no prior knowledge of it, but given the level, I think the average Wageningen student can handle the “challenge.”
I have been able to choose many courses in Hydrology (with many excursions). Unfortunately two hydrology courses were canceled and I no longer opted for a hydrology course, but for a course on sustainable economy and ecology (with a super fun canoe excursion).

How is the study formalized?

It is all less efficient than in Wageningen. There are many faculties and many courses taught in English. A good overview can be found on the website. Do not worry that it does not fit in with the planning because the system is not as efficient as in Wageningen, so it is very flexible. There is also an international office that you can always visit.

What is the culture of the university?

There is little contact with local students. Sometimes you almost had private lessons. Polish culture is very Christian. You are assigned a mentor and that is very nice because he will pick you up at the airport and arrange the registration of your room. This is very useful, because almost no-one speaks English at the student residences (such as dijkgraaf and Asserpark).

What does the university offer the student additionally?

There is a swimming pool with a sports hall, many Mensas where you can dine extensively for 4 Euro and a launderette and a large sports field where you can relax.


What are the possibilities for housing? 

If you want to live on campus, everything is arranged for you and you get a shared room with 2/3 people in total. This takes some time to get used to but I really enjoyed it. You can also have a private room in the city center, but this takes more effort. It can easily be done via a Facebook page just like wageingen student plaza.
I recommend to live in the dorm of the campus because most parties will be there and also the social contacts.

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?

Rent dorm: €90
Good evening food in a restaurant: €5
Shopping: very cheap
Travelling: very cheap too. Bus ticket with Polski bus to Vienna, €10

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.

Do you have general tips for preparation for study exchange in Poland?

  • Take internet cable with you (you don’t have a wifi router that you can buy later for €20)
  • Credit card is very handy
  • Don’t forget your European health insurance card
  • Do not forget a passport photo that must be on the student card and dormitory card

6. Free time

What are must-sees in the area?

I have traveled a lot and Poland is a beautiful country with many beautiful cities and nature reserves. Also go to the Tatra mountains if you like mountains and snow. Poland is also very cheap so you can travel very cheaply. Poland is also central in Europe so you can go to other countries too. The places where I have been: 8 Polish cities (including Krakow) and nature reserves, Auswitz, Vienna, Prague, Bratislava, Slovakia and Barcelona. Many people have done a tour through the Balkan countries after their study exchange, because traveling is so cheap.

Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time?

If you like to party, go to Park club: €2.50 entrance fee every Wednesday evening and unlimited free beer up to 01.00h (this is also available in other clubs on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday).