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Monday, 19 February 2018

100 Years of the Romanian Embassy in Poland

Dearest sweethearts,

I don't get to write often about the Romanian Community in Poland but I think that today's the day in which I can start to remediate that. According to the estimations of the Romanian Embassy in Poland, the Romanian Community in Poland amounts to approximately 5000 people - out of which 2200 have permanent residence in Poland. The Romanian people living in Poland are uniformly distributed around the country but the most they can be found in the capital city (Warsaw) and it's surroundings (approximately a third), but also in the Silesian Voivodeship, S-W of Poland and Wroclaw. To that number we can also add the community of Polish immigrants that are originally from Bucovina (Romania), Romanian people that have immigrated before 1989 (and after) and people from mixed marriages - 60 people - that live now in the West of Poland (Lubuskie Voivodeship). Because of the small number, Romanian people are not recognised as an ethnical minority in Poland - take into consideration the large number of Ukrainians and you will understand the difference. 
The "Bucovina Community" from Zielona Gora organises annually the meeting of the Bucovina people. They built from their own funds and with partial support of the local authorities, the "Bucovina House" from the ethnographic park Ochla - people can gather there and there is also a museum of folk traditions from Bucovina region. The association has also their own folk dance group (all ages) and a folk music group. 
Even though there are no schools that teach Romanian language, inside the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and in the Institute of Romanitisc languages (The "Adam Mickiewicz" University in Poznan), there are classes of Romanian language - the "lektor" can teach you about Romanian literature, culture and civilisation. Also, even though there are no Romanian churches or places to worship, orthodox or neoprotestant ones, the Romanian Embassy in Poland organises in Warsaw ceremonies for the Romanian Community. They cooperate with the Warsaw Church heads and realise the ceremony with the help of 3 Polish orthodox priests that have finished the Theologic Semminary in Iasi (my hometown). In Krakow, we have the priest Marius Bucevschi, who indulges us by having the ceremony in Romanian language at least once a month - Sunday afternoon in the Mariacki Church in Krakow.  

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Poland and Romania - and their shared history!
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Friday, 16 February 2018

Wroclaw - European Best Destination 2018

Dearest sweethearts,

#DidYouKnow that Wroclaw has been awarded the title of "European Best Destination 2018" by the European Best Destinations (a Brussels based tourism organisation promoting culture and tourism in Europe). It came ahead of Bilbao (Spain), Colmar (France), Hvar (Croatia), Riga (Latvia), Milan (Italy) and even Amsterdam (Netherlands). Wroclaw slowly but surely gains quite a large audience, making baby steps but firmly placing it's flag on higher ground. In 2016 Wroclaw was the European Capital of Culture, while Krakow was the host for the World Youth Day. Poland had much to gain that year ;) not only touristic wise. In 2015 it was ranked as "The best city to live" and was mentioned as a city growing Business Center.
Wroclaw is the capital of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship and many consider it as the most beautiful and the greenest city in Poland. Wroclaw definitely shows the German influences and it's quite different than all the other bigger cities in Poland. Tourists, visitors and people living in the city love calling Wroclaw - WrocLove as it is hard not to fall in love with its beauty. It is also called the city of 1000 bridges, and it is very famous due to its small inhabitants that can be found at almost every step: it's dwarfes / gnomes - there are over 300 of them spread throughout the city! Also... #DidYouKnow that Wroclaw has the oldest restaurant in the world? And an amazing zoo established in 1865. And the most unique painting in the world: Panorama Raclawicka - it's an 140 meter long canvas showing the legendary General Tadeusz Kosciuszko's victory over the Russian forces at Raclawice in 1794. 
I have had the chance to visit Wroclaw and I would love to do it again and again. It's a city you can fall in love with at the first sight. No wonder everyone names it WrocLove; everything starting from the adorable art nouveaux train station to the multiple one-of-a-kind bridges to the small gnomes that pop up where you least expect them... all is magical and slightly German-like. It's well worth it to spend at least a day there and enjoy the sounds and the colours of this vibrant city!

Yours very sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Wroclaw
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Monday, 12 February 2018

Is Poland safe?

Dearest hearts,
Dearest travellers that think of choosing Poland as a country for their next trip,

Do so without a doubt or worry in the world! #DidYouKnow that Poland was voted as the 22nd most safest country - on a worldwide safety report provided by OECD for mid-2016. Poland is one of the 3 European countries that was not affected by organised crime attacks in the 21st century. Also, when if comes to the crime level (same period stated above) it continues dropping, especially in Krakow. According to the analysis made by New World Wealth in its 2018 Global Wealth Migration Review, looking at the movement of high net worth individuals across the world, we can see Poland listed in the top 10 safest countries for women. "Woman safety is one of the best ways to gauge a country's long term wealth growth potential, with a correlation of 92% between historic wealth growth and woman safety levels", the report says. Wealth growth is booster by strong levels of woman safety inside a country. The top 10 safest countries for women in 2017 were:
  1. Australia
  2. Malta
  3. Iceland
  4. New Zealand 
  5. Canada 
  6. Poland 
  7. Monaco
  8. Israel 
  9. USA 
  10. South Korea 
The ranking was based upon the percentage of each country's female population that has been a victim of a serious crime over the past years. "Most of the countries in our top 10 are also popular destinations for migrating High Net Worth Individuals", says the report.
The safest countries for each region were:
  • Europe: Malta, Poland, Monaco, Iceland
  • APAC: Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Japan, South Korea
  • Middle East: Israel, UAE
  • Africa: Mauritius, Botswana, Namibia
  • Americas: USA, Canada
The rate of violent crime (e.g. mugging and carjacking) in Poland is generally really low. However, petty crime (e.g. pickpocketing) is common in the larger cities. Though, to be noted, I have been living in Poland (in Krakow) for more than 6 years now and never have I once had a problem or seen anyone having these kind of issues. It is true though that on expat communities, on the Facebook groups, I have heard that youth gangs cab be a threat - especially during the football season when the 2 main teams: Cracovia and Wistula are playing. Also, some individuals have been harrased for reasons of race (when they were darker skinned), sexual orientation (towards gay couples) or people of foreign looking appearance.
When it comes to demonstrations, they do occur frequently but they have a peaceful way and the polish people demonstrate their beliefs in an orderly fashion. The demonstrations though can lead to disruptions to traffic and public tranportation. Generally the areas with the highest crime rate in Poland are the West Pomeranian, Lubusz, Lower Silesian and Silesian region. Though the crime rate is relatively high, that does not mean that these regions are not safe, it means just that you should be extra careful - have some precautions. One thing you should actually be careful of is overcharging and scamming. If you do not know the language you are a sitting duck, you are a foreigner, and if the price is not visible that means when you will ask for one, the shopkeeper might give you a different price than he might say to a local. You are safe when it comes to restaurants that have menus in English with the correct prices but in the smaller cities, off the beaten track, you are on your own ;) so learning a word or two might come in handy. So don't be afraid to come visit Poland! It has so many beautiful things to offer: amazing unique places, great food, yummy sweets and good beer/vodka and warm people that love their country dearly! Come visit Poland and let it win your heart!

Yours very much truly,
Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Poland, A Safe Heaven
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Friday, 9 February 2018

DO NOT USE "Polish Death Camps"!

Dearest sweethearts,

When the German Occupation hit Poland and the Nazis were searching for places to build their Death Camps they choose Poland, as Poland is the heart of Europe - dead Center on the map. Back when the occupation  started in 1939, the borders of Poland were very different than they are now and the closest city to the border with Germany was actually Krakow, a couple of hours away. When they looked upon what could be spared and what not, Polish government agreed that they should first allow the Nazi to take over Krakow, so the city and its inhabitants would be safe - not as much can be said about Warsaw, that put up a great fight and was torn to the ground approximately 90%, no stone being unturned. But Krakow manages to maintain its old time beauty, though it also faced horrible horrors in its wake. When the Nazis build Auschwitz - the most well known Death Camp of the Holocaust - they chose Oswiecim, a remote village, so they would do their horrible deeds without being watched. It was previously a Polish Army barracks but nowdays nobody mentions that anymore...
The purpose of the Nazis was to destroy Poland, enslave it's people and take the land - make Germany bigger and stronger in the process. They did not plan the same as they did in France or Norway where they created governments that would collaborate with the German one. By the end of the Second World War, 6 million Polish people have been murdered, including 3 million Jews (almost half of the Jews killed during the Holocaust). Tuesday, the president of Poland signed legislation making it a crime to suggest that Poland bore any responsibility for the atrocities committed by the Nazi Germany. This has infuriated certain historians and Israeli government. The law has 2 parts: 1) outlaws the phrase "Polish Death Camps" - even scholars agree the term is very misleading, considering the fact that the camps were build and controlled by Nazi Germany; 2) it is a crime - punishable by a fine or up to 3 years in prison - to accuse "the Polish nation" of complicity in the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities. 
Naftali Bennett, Israel's education minister, criticized the law: "The blood of Polish Jews cries from the ground, and no law will silence it". Poland's government decided to cancel his planned visit on Monday. On another hand, Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance Center in Jerusalem, formally recognised more than 6700 gentiles in Poland as "righteous among the nations" because they risked their lives to save the Jews - more so than ANY other country in Europe! The estimates suggest that up to 35000 Polish Jews may have been saved through their efforts. Last week the Center made an official statement saying that the term "Polish Death Camps" was without a doubt a historical misinterpretation, but they cannot agree with the Second part of the law, erasing all blame from Poland. 
I believe that the Polish state was not complicit to the horrors of the Holocaust, yet that many Polish people are to blame for the acts that they carried out. Each story has its light and dark side, it's heroes and it's foes. We do have righteous people who have saved many Jews, yet we also have Polish people that blowed covers, picked on Jewish people out of the darkness of their heart or simply by trying to protect their lives, family or their assets. They chose themselves over others, but whom are we to judge - would we have done the same, given the situation? You can't know for a fact, can't you?! #DidYouKnow that Poland was the only country where if you would have hidden a Jews and you would be found out, both the Jews, yourself and your family would be immediately executed? Also, Poland has sustained the heaviest losses during the Second World War with up to 17% of it's entire population vs. Russia - 14% and Germany - 10%. Not to mention Poland bring the only occupied country that had it's government immediately liquidated, it's army disbanded and schools and universities closed (their professors and "grey minds" being the first ones taken away and locked up/executed). 
If you will blame the individuals, the Polish people that acted against the Jews, than why would you not blame the Jews that acted against the Jews? You would then be implicitly blaming the Jewish community for the Holocaust. I know that sounds horrible and absurd, but is it not what people are doing when they say Poland is to blame? 
   
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Poland
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Monday, 5 February 2018

Things You Should Know About Fat Thursday

Hello there you lovely human beings!

Lent is coming soon, people will be trying to fast, not eating certain food, when in fact they should rather focus on fasting with their mind, refraining from evil and thinking negative thoughts about others, trying to actually make the world a better place by doing that. Well... this week, this Thursday, we will be celebrating #FatThursday - a traditional Catholic Christian feast marking the last Thursday before Lent. That means the next opportunity to feast won't be until Easter! So... That means this Thursday is dedicated to eating all you have inside the fridge, in your house, that's not proper for the fasting period. You can eat as many sweets, cakes and other meals that usually you cannot eat during Lent. In Poland, for Fat Thursday, the most popular dish are the paczki (donuts) - fist sized donuts filled with marmalade (usually rose or advokat cream) - and the faworki (angel wings) - long donut fingers served with powdered sugar on top. 
Of course you can taste these goodies all year round but if ever you are in Poland during Fat Thursday you will know it's this day! Everyone will be shopping for them, people will eat them on the streets, bakeries will be filled to the brim with them and you will see special offers even a fee days in advance. Starting 1st of February, for example, Piekarnia I Cukernia Lajkonik started to take orders in advance for the donuts. They have specially printed out forms with several types of donuts you can choose and you just need to say how many and until when you want them done. Prices range from 2,90 to 3,90 per donut. They also have special boxes of 6 donuts for 12 zloty - tried that and they were yummy! Each with a different topping and filling. 
Paczki box from Lajkonik - #smacznego 
The name of the holiday/day Is very fitting - Fat Thursday - as everyone that day just keeps munching of deep fried, sugary things... That have loads of calories... but nobody seems to mind :) Paczki are the #1 product that day - they are very much like the American donuts but without the hole inside and with a tad more heavier dough, that is usually filled with diverse creams (like the alcohol flavoured advokat), chocolate or preserves (like the yummy rose jam). Faworki are the second best, especially for the ones that want to keep it simple and have no additional fillings or toppings - they are also called Chrust or Angel Wings, made out of a dough similar to the paczki. Some regions add vodka to it... They are usually served cut into a twisted diamond shape, thread through themselves, and then they are deep fried. 
The paczki box from Lajkonik, Krakow
How to do some paczki for Fat Thursday - if you want to try to do some of these goodies yourself, you need to know this: buy loads of oil and prepare to be splashed ;))) kidding aside... the dough is made out of yeast, flour and eggs. Once you do the dough and cut it into the proper size and prepare it, the paczki are deep fried in oil or lard only for a few seconds, so that the fat does not get inside as well but just lets the crust form. They taste the best when they are warm! Actually... paczki are best if eaten within 48 hours of baking. You can store them in a paper bag or loosely cover them with a piece of cloth. Or... you can just save yourself the trouble and come to Poland and have some of these goodies this Fat Thursday!

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Faworki 
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Friday, 2 February 2018

Marijuana For Medicinal Use in Poland

Dearest friends,

#DidYouKnow that Poland has joined, last year, the group of countries that have legalised marijuana for medicinal purposes? New regulations that came in October-November last year state clearly that marijuana (cannabis from imported plants) can be processed by Polish farmacies and can be used as medicine. Pharmacists are prepared to make the drugs according to the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber (PPC). In case needed, specialist training will also be made available - considering that Poland has about 15000 pharmacies out of which 90% are authorised to make their own prescription drugs. The estimations say that around 300000 patients would quality for the medicinal marijuana treatment. The law will allow the use of cannabis on a number or ailments/diseases ranging from epilepsy to chronic pain to nausea caused by chemo or even to symptoms of multiple sclerosis. 
The monthly treatment is estimated to cost about 2000 zloty. According to the experts, one gram of marijuana will cost about 50-60 zloty. The EU members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the move - only 2 out of 443 politicians voted against the bill! Poland is the latest country to embrace medicinal cannabis, joining countries like Czech Republic, Portugal and Spain. A survey conducted in January 2017 on the public opinion in Poland about Marijuana stated that 78% of Poles believe in free access for the drug. The legislation, as I said above also, will allow prescription only cannabis based medicine to be made available at pharmacies, with ingredients sourced only from abroad. Possession of the drug for recreational use is illegal! So kids... don'tyou dare try this at home!
  
Yours sincerely,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Krakow 
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Monday, 29 January 2018

Karta Krakowska - newly planned discounts for public transport

Dearest sweethearts,
Dear expats living in Krakow,

#DidYouKnow that the Karta Krakowska will allow you to buy tickets, starting this summer, cheaper by up to 20%? The original plan was to make the discount available since May 2017 but there were delays, as you can tell, and this will be available starting summer 2018. The latest updates states this will start with the 1st of July 2018. Karta Krakowska will not only offer discounts up to 20% for the public transport, but also discounts for culture, sports and recreational activities, health, gastronomy and multiple others shops with different profiles (even boot repair or mending clothes). For the beginning though, it was announced that the discounts will be for public transport, for the MPK lines - buses and trams. The discounts will be up to 20% - for example a monthly ticket for all the lines inside Strefa I costs now 89 zloty, with the Karta Krakowska it will be available for 71 zloty. There is not much information on it but the discounts will also be available for museums and galleries, like the National Museum of Krakow - with its numerous branches.
MPK Tram stopping in the bus stop 
On the 23rd of January 2018, president Jacek Majchrowski submitted to the Krakow City Council a project on the introduction and implementation of the program called Karta Krakowska. The program is part of the promotional campaign for the city - it aims to emphasise on consolidating the inhabitants ties with the city, including by increasing the number of inhabitants (making them register their stay), increasing accessibility to public services and also increasing the income of the municipality. The estimations go so far as to say that having a single taxpayer results in an increase in revenue of 2000 zloty. The program aims to make Krakow more attractive to current and future residents. At the same time the program can contribute to the increase in the number of residents using public transport on a daily basis and decreasing the number of car owners - decreasing the pollution emitted as well.
Krakow Public Transport card
In order to have a Karta Krakowska it is enough to be registered for permanent residence in Krakow or to settle the income tax of individuals with the Tax Office as a resident of Krakow, without any income being required. The card will be issued for a period of one year, persons registered for a permanent residence in Krakow will not have to apply for an extension of the validity - they will be renewed automatically. For the persons who are not registered for permanent stay, the cards will be issued and renewed on the basis of the indicated place of residence in the annual PIT declaration. Children up to 18 years will also receive the card. Children up to 6 years will not have cards issued, but they will get discounts through their parents cards. The Karta Krakowska will be issued as a plastic document or in electronic form. The program research estimated that about 300.000 inhabitants will use this card.
Tram in front of the Dominican Church, Krakow, Poland 
Karta Krakowska will be issued at the customer service points inside the city for MPK and in some locations of the Urzad Miasta (City Office) in Krakow.  The cost associated with the implementaton of the program and issuing the cards in 2018 has been estimated at 3,3 million zloty.
   
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Krakow 
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Friday, 26 January 2018

Family Matters in Poland: New Abortion Laws

Dear hearts,

You might have observed on The Guardian or The Independent or even on BBC, that there has been quite a spotlight on Poland and the abortion law proposed in 2016. Abortion in Poland is currently illegal, except in cases of rape or when the women's life is in jeopardy, or if the foetus is damaged beyond repair (that's a bad way to put it, when you are actually talking about a human being...). In 2016, due to the proposed legislation to completely outlaw abortion, over 300.000 women went on strike and marched in the big cities throughout Poland. They protested for their loss of reproductive rights, leading the lawmakers to vote against the new law. Due to the strict rules inside Poland, Polish women often seek abortion in neighbouring countries. Currently in Poland the law states that abortion is banned except in 3 certain circumstances: a) when the women's life/health is endangered by the continuation of pregnancy; b) when the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act; c) when the fetus is seriously malformed. In order to do that, consent of a physician is required for case a) and c), while in case b) the situation must be certified by the prosecutor. Added to that one must take into consideration if the women is a minor, in that case also parental consent is needed. 
Motherhood is both a gift and a test life gives us
#DidYouKnow that until 1932 the abortion acts were banned in Poland without any exception! In 1932 the new Penal Code legalised abortion only when there were medical reasons, and for the first time in Europe, when the pregnancy resulted from a criminal act. Abortion is a controversial topic in Polish politics, and generally in Polish life. The question of an anti-Abortion amendment was one of the reasons for the split in the Law and Justice (PiS) and the creation of Prawica Rzeczypospolitej (led by Marek Jurek). In April 2016, Polish organisations proposed amended legislation to ban abortion in all cases except to save the woman's life. The bill included penalties to abortion providers with up to 5 years of imprisonment! The bill passed and was debated in Sejm, beginning 22 September 2016. The Sejm voted with majority in favour of continuing the work on the bill. If the law would have passed, the abortion law would have mirrored the restrictions present in Malta and Vatican, the 2 countries in Europe that have the hardest restrictions on abortion.
Motherhood means letting a bit of yourself go, so you may develop into something better
When it comes to the public opinion, the latest poll done on the subject of abortion (By the CBOS - Public Opinion Research Center) shows that 69% of Poles view abortion as immoral and unacceptable, 14% are ambivalent towards it and 14% view it as acceptable. Half of the Poles oppose the right to abortion but only 1 in 7 (14%) supports the complete ban. The support for abortion rights when a mother's life is in danger is almost universal: 87%. 78% believe the pregnancy should be terminated if the pregnancy threaten the future mothers health; 78% also support it if it was caused by rape or incest; 60% support it if it is known that the child would be handicapped. At the other end of the scale, about 18% think that abortions should be legal if a women does not want to have the child. 
***
When it comes to statistics, in Poland, the large number of abortions are illegal. Estimates of illegal abortions per year put the numbers between 10.000 and 150.000, compared to the number of legal abortions 1.000 - 2.000 cases per year. Take into consideration that the law demands the abortion should take place only within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Let me also remind you that the Law and Justice ruling party has a close relationship with the Catholic church. Catholic church still maintains quite a firm hold on Poland, as about 87% of the population declares themselves as of Catholic faith.  Of course the fact that abortions are illegal in Poland will not stop the women from ending their unwanted pregnancies. Be sure that they will travel to Slovakia or Germany to undergo the procedures denied in Poland. 
In Motherhood you grow the love for your child. It does not come as a thunder, it rather creeps upon you bit by bit... surrounding the two of you in light. 
I stand divided over this law...  I do not agree with the idea that the child is a child it when you hear his heart beat or when you deliver him. I don't believe in the idea that some feminists have, that "it's only a bunch of cells" until you hold it out into the light. You cannot dehumanize a developing fetus, a fetus is no less than a child developing and forming to get out in the open. How can a little girl or boy, growing in your womb, be not yet a human being with complete human rights? It's true, it cannot speak and say it's own mind, but he is there - inside of you - growing, developing, forming a connection with yourself! Women who do have abortions mostly suffer from guilt issues, from the "What if?" questions that Mark their life. I am aware of the reproductive rights: men should use condoms, women can use sterilets/pills. There is the choice of getting pregnant or not. Of course all of them are not 100% safe, but if you want to be safe and never have children there is an option for that as well... On the other side... women should have the right to say what happens to their own bodies. A pregnancy is a test for each women and forcing a women to go to term with a pregnancy that would harm her or the baby, or in the case you know for sure the baby is handicapped, in the case where you might have a single mum with low capital and no help... would you let them both struggle further on in their misery? It's a tough choice! One I wish noone would need make. 
Through Motherhood you learn a different type of Joy. Being Joyful through the eyes of your child, experiencing the world with a clean slate...
And just for the reference... according to a 2015 UN report, Poland has among the lowest access to contraceptive methods in Europe! There are less than a half of women using a modern method of contraception! If a lady wants birth control without a long wait, you must pay for an appointment in a private clinic. Not all people have this benefit, as I do - working in a corporate environment - to have both public and private sector coverage. The appointments are not cheap - max 400 zloty + around 120 zloty for a 3 month supply of pills. The new law that came to effect July 2017 is quite ironic... The emergency contraceptive pill ellaOne (the most popular after pill in Poland, that was available over the counter) now requires a prescription VS. Viagra, that has just recently been made available without prescription. Oh, isn't life fair and equal between the 2 sexes! NOT!
   
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Life
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Monday, 22 January 2018

Study in Poland: Jagiellonian University Krakow

Dearest sweethearts,

If you are from around the globe and have a craving to learn more about Poland, it's culture and ways of living, lifestyle, then why not think of semester, or even a whole Bachelor / Master degree, done in this fine land? I've always heard wonderful things about the Jagiellonian University, ever since I was in my homeland. There were exchange students coming to Iasi, as there was a linguistic Polish-Romanian department. Here is Krakow, the Jagiellonian University has a really powerful department and they are the ones that have developed here the finest Polish-Romanian-Polish dictionary - it's quite a huge one, vastly explanatory, very thorough; I highly recommend it both for Romanian and Polish people alike. But the Jagiellonian University does not focus only on Romanian language, but also on several others. The University is aware of the incredible value of the internationalisation of the academic community - we live in a world where there are less and less borders, any country is just a few hours away by plane, everyone has access to knowledge and people from all locations and financial background can have access to knowledge. Jagiellonian University expects candidates from abroad and widens it's offer of programs in foreign languages every year! 
Collegium Maius, Krakow, Poland
#DidYouKnow that the Jagiellonian University is the oldest university in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe! It was established in 1364. Today it has 16 faculties (including 3 medical - Medical College) and it provides education to approximately 44.000 students. The Jagiellonian University offers study programs in foreign languages on all education levels: 1st cycle (Bachelor), long and 2nd cycle (Masters), 3rd cycle (Doctoral degree) and non degree post-diploma courses in the field of humanities, social, natural, exact and medical sciences. The studies are available in multiple languages: English, German, Russian, Ukrainian and, of course, Polish. The Jagiellonian University also offers part programs, where some of the studies are completed at partner universities (double diploma programs). The Jagiellonian University also focuses greatly on the research - the university carried out 1.027 research projects, including 47 international projects. In the years 2014-2016, the Jagiellonian University has obtained patent protection for 85 inventions (36 in Poland and 49 abroad). And just so you know, the JU Careers Service conducted a research in which it was shown that nearly 83% of the students are satisfied with the Curriculum of their studies. Also, the Alumni find employment no later than 3 months after graduation.
Regarding the Masters programme at the Jagiellonian University, the ones that are in different languages, they range from Social sciences (18), Natural Sciences and Mathematics (5), Medicine and Health (4), Humanities (3), Business and Management (1), Engineering and Technology (1) to Environmental Studies & Earth Sciences (1). When you start thinking about joining the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, you will most certainly wonder about the housing services provided by UJ.  Well... The students can apply for accommodation in one of the University campuses/halls of residence. The campuses can hold over 3.000 residents! Also... #DidYouKnow that the Jagiellonian University actually had quite a few students that became famous: Pope John Paul 2nd, Nicolaus Copernicus (The astronomer), Wislawa Szymborska (poet and Nobel laureate), Norman Davies (historian - if you are into history books and especially the history of Poland, he has remarkable books on this topic. "God's Playground" is my favourite). Even Marie Curie tried to join the ranks but back then women were not allowed to higher education - that's why she went to Paris. Also... The School of Polish Language and Culture - the oldest and the most prestigious providers of Polish Language and Culture education in Poland, the academic offer contains: summer courses (summer school to learn Polish), summer culture camps (for ages 13-17), intensive 2 week courses, 1 year and 1 semester courses, summer preparatory courses for candidates for studies in Poland, online courses. So... if you want you can speak Polish as well in no time ;)
Lovely signs inside the Collegium Maius courtyard, Krakow, Poland
When it comes to the accommodation, the students can basically rent an apartment or a room in an apartment, or live in a dormitory. The Jagiellonian University does have it's dorms, which are usually the cheapest way to go. The standards are various and you really should check out the dorms before making a choice! The costs usually range around 60-80 EURO monthly for a shared room and 100-150 for a single room. You can also try to pick an apartment or a room in an apartment, in an area of your choosing. Foreign students usually prefer doing that, hiring bigger apartments and sharing them. The costs depend on the city and the location in the city. The average monthly rent can be around 150-200 EURO. You also need to take into consideration that is you rent a flat you usually need to pay at least 3 months in advance + a certain amount as a deposit, in case you destroy/damage anything. There are also companies that actually specialise in helping out foreign students to get accommdation, to find a right fit apartment for their needs. For example Easy Renting does that - they have over 100 apartments in Warsaw and over 100 apartments in Krakow to rent. Their aim is Erasmus students coming to Krakow and Warsaw. Of course you can also do the search by yourself on the Expat groups on Facebook or just by going to local sites like Gumtree.pl to find what you need - the downside to this kind of sites is that they place the info in Polish (Polish landlords).

So... what do you think? Is it worthwhile to come study in Krakow at the Jagiellonian University? Would you consider it or did I frighten you away with the talk about accommodation? I would love to help if you had any questions :) so feel free to bug me - on Facebook I reply the quickest!
  
Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Loves Krakow
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