Spanning a long Baltic Sea coastline, Poland is a treasure trove of architecture, with Gothic, Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Renaissance jewels dotting its landscape. With roots that go as far back as the first millennium and a tragic past left behind by World War II, Poland proves to be a captivating destination for people of many interests. But, one of the country’s greatest attractions is the Polish language, although the hiking opportunities and historical monuments are worth seeing along the way. Language programs in Poland are particularly attractive to those who want to study a more rarely spoken language that is still enormously useful.
Language programs in Poland are most frequently offered in urban areas. This is because the nation’s major cities feature a number of universities and language schools that provide top notch Polish language programs. With celebrated architecture, historical memorials, and rich market centers, many Polish cities provide an ideal destination for language study abroad, especially those with a desire to learn more about Polish culture.
Krakow. Traversing both banks of the Wisla River, with over 1.4 million inhabitants, Krakow is the second largest city in Poland. Believed to have been founded after the defeat of a dragon, Krakow continues to evoke an atmosphere of legend and myth, from its infamous works of art to its legendary beer cellars and gardens. The central site for the Nazi General Government during WWII, a feeling of solemnity continues to permeate the city, specifically at sites like the Oskar Schindler Factory and the Plaszow Concentration Camp. When nighttime falls, the city turns into a haven for night owls. Believed to have the highest density of bars in the world, Krakow boasts hundreds of bars located in medieval courtyards, Gothic cellars, and everywhere in between.
Warsaw. With more than 1.7 million inhabitants, Warsaw is the largest city in Poland. As the country’s capital city, it serves as an important political, economic, and cultural centre. Located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Warsaw has had a chaotic history; it has been pillaged by the Swedes, occupied by the Russians, and ravaged by Nazi Germany. But still, Warsaw has proved to be one of Europe’s greatest survivors, having rose and developed into a highly dynamic and progressive city. The dark images of yesteryear have been replaced by a mesmerizing skyline brought to life by towering skyscrapers and the majestic Palace of Culture.
Wroclaw. Wroclaw is the fourth largest city in Poland and a major cultural, tourist, industrial, banking, and manufacturing center of the country. The city was part of the Kingdom of Poland, Germany, Prussia, the Austrian Empire, Hungary, and Bohemia at varying times in history, before officially becoming part of Poland in 1945. These diverse influences of the past are still present in the unique cultural and architectural makeup of the city today. Thanks to its numerous bridges and maze of islands, Wroclaw has been tagged the “Venice of Poland”.
Language Programs in Poland
Polish is the national language of Poland, and part of the Slavic language family. As one of the official languages of the European Union, it is an important language in Eastern and Central Europe, both academically and diplomatically. Considered one of the most difficult languages to learn, it is no wonder that Polish language programs in Poland are seen as the best route to advanced fluency.
Most Polish language programs in Poland are offered in concurrence with other regular courses at a local university. By taking language courses at a Polish university, students will be able to complete required or elective courses while they are learning a new language.
Language programs are also offered exclusively at Polish language schools in Poland. Whether studying Polish as part of a degree program, developing Polish language skills to boost your professional skills, or attempting to learn a new language for fun, there are language schools in Poland for students of every kind.
The speed of language acquisition and course structure will vary based on the type of language program you choose. Intensive language courses will typically require students to only speak Polish in classes, which will fast track the learning process. Students can also choose to take Polish language lessons with a private instructor or tutor, which will ensure frequent conversational practice and be a more informal arrangement.
Costs & Affordability
It is possible to study Polish in Poland for as low as $400, or as much as $4000. Language programs in Poland provided by universities tend to be relatively affordable, especially by European standards. The cost of living in Poland is among the lowest in the European Union, but prices tend to be higher in large urban areas, especially in the capital city of Warsaw. Many language programs in Poland provide students with packaged program fees, which can often help students save money on living costs by including accommodation, some meals, and cultural activities in upfront program costs.
Accommodations & Visas
Many language programs in Poland give students the chance to stay with a local host family, and experience Polish hospitality. Host families are typically screened by program providers to ensure families can offer quality accommodation and a friendly, comfortable environment for language learners. Most language program participants will also have the option to stay in a dormitory or shared apartment, both of which will offer plenty of time for socializing with fellow language learners.
EU and EEA citizens do not need to apply for a visa prior to their arrival in Poland. However, they will need to apply for a temporary study visa after arrival. Those coming from countries that are not members of EU/EEA will have to secure a visa at the Polish consulate in their home country in order to participate in a language program in Poland.
Benefits & Challenges
Culture. Language students will love the inherent hospitality of Poles, with casual introductions that can easily turn into being acquainted with the extended family members. Although, dealing with the country’s bureaucracy can be a tad difficult, with remnants of the old communist service ethics still manifesting themselves in some governmental processes.
Communication. Navigating the country as a first timer will be easy, with the English language widely spoken in major cities, which can be both a pro and con of language study in Poland. But, venturing outside the cities or speaking with older generations will truly challenge language learners to utilize their Polish language skills.
Cost of Living. The country currently boasts one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe, and yet it still provides a rather affordable European destination for language study abroad.
Professional Development. As a highly complex language, Polish is among the most difficult languages to learn, but this only adds to its value. Learning Polish in Poland will allow you to take advantage of highly specialized, unique job opportunities in the future. Not to mention, with Poland’s ever-increasing influence in the world, Polish language skills may prove to be increasingly valuable. Additionally, learning Polish will make learning other Slavic languages easier, bringing you one step closer to learning Russian, Ukrainian, and many other important languages.