Today Warsaw is a flourishing city that is not behind any of the world’s most famous capitals.
Warsaw internationally is mainly known as a historic city connected to WWII and it’s ghetto, and as much as it is undoubtedly important part of its history, over seventy years have passed since the war ended. Today Warsaw is a flourishing city that is not behind any of the world’s most famous capitals.
How do I know? Because there are people here from all over the world and that is what they’ve said. Here’s a collection of stories of Kozminski University’s international students; I asked each of them the same six questions:
- Why did you come to Poland?
- Why Warsaw in particular?
- Why Koźmiński University?
- What have you heard about Poland before moving here?
- What did you expect?
- What surprised you after arriving?”
Some of the answers are short, some long, but you’ll definitely be able to relate to at least one of them. Enjoy!
“In 2008 I moved to Poland to be with my girlfriend at the time, and to teach English. After a few months of being here I met Ania, at the time she needed a native speaker to help study for an English exam. I didn’t know it at the time but we were falling for each other. After a few weeks of lessons I left Poland and we didn’t speak for about a year. In between that year I went through some life changes that caused me to grow apart from the girl that got me to Poland in the first place. Shortly after we broke up Ania found me on Facebook. We started talking and after a few months we decided to give it a shot. That was in 2010, after two years of back and forth vacations and countless hours on Skype I moved to Poland to be with her and to attend school at Kozminski University.”
Tom wanted to remain anonymous, so I changed his name and added this charming photo.
“I chose this country because out of the 4 destinations that were available for my Bachelor, Poland was the one I had the most affinities with. I have always been attracted by central and eastern Europe and as I come from an international high school, I also had Polish friends back in my hometown. I felt right away very close to this country and was eager to discover its culture and its people.
I honestly had no real expectations before coming to Warsaw. I just knew I had to take things as they were coming to me. I also didn’t want to build any expectations in order not to be disappointed in case I didn’t meet them. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that supermarkets, grocery stores, shops and malls are open all days of the week until late in the evening. In France, most of the shops are closed after 8:00PM and don’t open on Sundays.
Also, food! I completely fell in love with Polish food, mostly pierogi and barszcz! I also really like the language even though it was very tough for me to learn some words in the beginning.”
Lucie is also an member of our New Media Club, check her student profile for more awesome stuff!
“I just chose Poland to have the experience of living in a far away country and KU was said to have nice education quality. All I’ve heard about Poland was that it was a nice place; plus meeting people from other countries changes your mentality towards others and you could say that through that decision you become a different person. Different in a sense of the person you could have been if you just stay in your country and the one you become when you take the risk to travel.”
“Before Poland, I was in Ukraine. I moved there on a whim, out of my own interest to explore and understand Eastern Europe/Former Soviet Union countries. After November 2013 events [Euromajdan] with growing socio-political tension, my mentor recommended me to move out of Ukraine.
The only reason why I couldn’t even consider moving to Europe was because of exorbitant tuition/living costs that came with studying in France/Germany/UK etc.
Final blow to the whole scene was on midnight of 27th/28th July 2014. Right next to my place, there was the regional headquarters of Privatbank – Ukraine’s largest bank, and somebody fired an RPG there. I was awake then, and with that explosion right next to my place, I realized it was time to pack up and leave. I called my mentor next thing in the morning – I just needed someone to talk with in times of panic – who suggested me to go to India immediately no matter what, and within a week I was in the country.
At that time, I’ve had one of my acquaintances in Warsaw and I asked her about educational institutes in there, then applied to nearly all major business schools, liked SGH and KU. Finally, I just liked KU’s more English/international student-friendly environment, and helpfulness of the staff and so I moved here.”
“First of all I started to consider Warsaw because of my older brother’s recommendation – he used to study here as well. So I did the reasearch and applied soon after.
Besides, I’ve heard about Polish culture – it was different and interesting. Also such things as the localization in the centre of Europe, Erasmus programme were very important. I’ve found out about KU; it had satisfying accreditations and ranking positions, the tuition was relatively cheap and the environment international. It also differed from China when it comes to type of studying – in China its much more book-based, here we have much more practical things – case studies etc.”
“Poland was chosen mainly by choice, as a last resort of some sorts, due to the convenience from where I was (Russia) it seemed like the option. To tell you the truth, I’d never heard much about Poland, mainly from history lessons, but I’d create my own idea of what it’d be like, and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the people would be a lot more backward (Like in Russia, mentality etc) but it’s much more western and has more of EU influence than I originally perceived. I was most surprised by the western nature of it all and the friendliness of the people.”
“I just kind of wanted to study abroad, and had already heard a great deal of good things about Poland and Warsaw before moving here, mainly from my grandmother and other relatives who are of Polish heritage. When I first heard of Kozminski University it was from a friend who was considering applying here. I joined him for a weekend in Warsaw where we visited Kozminski during an open day and then spent the rest of that weekend exploring the city, needless to say, we were convinced. Since moving to Warsaw I’ve come to appreciate all the new great friends I’ve met, the Polish cuisine and just the very warm, welcoming Polish culture in general.”
“I chose Poland because it has a lot in common with Ukraine, such as language, traditions, people. And of course, it is not far away from my country, but here I can develop my English skills. Talking about Warsaw, I chose it because it is the capital of Poland and I think I will have more opportunities for future. And KU was chosen due to high ranks, good recommendations and possibility to study marketing in English, because other universities don’t give such possibility. I heard a lot about Poland, I was here in different cities, thus I understood that I would be able to live here. Frankly speaking, sometimes some streets and building look the same as in me city Kiev. I think I was not surprised about anything, becuse everything looks common for me. Probably, I was only disappointed that not all people from the service area know English. I think that now, when a plenty of foreigners have come, it has to be a rule!”
Katya is also a member of New Media Club so make sure to visit her student profile.
“I wanted to live in the EU and Poland was close to my country, relatively cheap and it has good opportunities for career development. Especially that when I was looking for universities, most of them were in Warsaw; then I also realized that the capital gives the most job opportunities and very comfortable travelling possibilities. It was form Warsaw that I started travelling across Europe.
I haven’t frankly heard too much about Poland before I came but the risk was part of the adventure. As such, I had no expectations. I could apply to any Belarusian universities, but my parents advised me to study abroad – first of all, they had enormous experience and secondly, I wanted to obtain an European diploma – despite quite high standard of education in Belarus, when I was applying for universities the diplomas from there are not valid in the rest of the world. And Kozminski had the best accreditations and ratings among all the universities I checked, so here I am :)”
Yevgeny also wanted to remain anonymous, so yet again I changed the name and the photo.
With only nine people we have five continents united in one city (sorry, Australia). There’s a love story, seeking of adventure, a blind shot, first steps in a career. All these stories are so different and yet there are some common points in all of them. This is what makes Warsaw place both unique and so similar to countless others cities: the vast diversity of people and their experiences.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to read more of my entries, click here.
*All interviews/stories structure and grammar remained unedited due to truthfulness of opinion [editor annotation]