Area: 312,685 km ²
Climate: mostly temperate throughout the country; oceanic in the north and west and becomes gradually warmer and continental towards the south and east
Population: 38,192,000 (est. 2010)
Government Type: Parliamentary Republic National Holiday : November 11
GDP: $727.086 billion (est. 2009)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $ 18,705 (est. 2009)
Information for Foreign Students in Poland Getting There Most of Europe's major airlines fly to and from Poland. Poland's national carriers are LOT Polish Airlines. There are also a number of low cost airlines that fly to Poland including WizzAir, EasyJet, Germanwings, Norwegian and Ryanair. International airlines fly mainly to Warsaw (WAW).
Obtaining a Visa Students from European Union countries do not need a visa to study in Poland. Students from outside the European Union need to apply for a student visa before entering Poland. Contact a Polish consulate or embassy in your country for complete details of the application procedure. All students have to legalize their stay in Poland by applying for a temporary residence permit. This has to be done a short time after arrival in Poland. The Universities will help you within the application procedures. A temporary residence permit entitles you to stay and work in Poland.
Accommodation Hostels affiliated with the national hostelling association are often horrid options for backpackers because of imposed curfews. Additionally, Hostelling International (HI) affiliated hostels are frequently used by large school groups, which means young children may very well be screaming their heads off and running around the halls. Some private Hostels are clean and welcoming, but others can be even more dangerous than HI hostels. A good way to stay in Poland is to rent private apartment. Most of the universities in Poland offer accommodation in their own student housing. As soon as you are accepted by the school you get a room in their student housing. Some of the students choose to have this as their permanent home, but most of the students live here the first time to get used to the country, the school and the student life and then they move to a private apartment. The standard of the student housing varies a lot from university to university but generally a private apartment has higher standard than the student housing. Most of the universities can help you to find a private apartment.
Currency used in Poland is the Polish z?ot (PLN). Poland is expected to adopt the Euro in the near future, but plans are still tentative. There is an extensive network of cash machines or ATMs; credit cards can be used to pay almost everywhere in big cities.
Opinions regarding the safety of tap water vary: odds are it's OK, but most residents opt to boil or filter it anyway. Water in Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw and the rest of Silesia has a particularly poor reputation. Residents of those cities sometimes opt to buy bottled water to use for making tea or coffee because of poor taste of the tap water.
Poland is overall a fairly safe country. In general, just use common sense and be aware of what you're doing.
In Poland, the national railway carriers are PKP InterCity (Polskie Koleje Pa?stwowe) and Przewozy Regionalne. There are few local carriers that belongs to voivodships or major cities. Polish road infrastructure is extensive but generally poorly maintained, and high speed motorways currently in place are insufficient. Public transport is quite plentiful and inexpensive: buses and trams in cities, and charter buses and trains for long distance travel. However, you can expect a fast, clean and modern connection on the new IC (InterCity) routes, such as Warszawa - Katowice, Warszawa - Kraków, Warszawa - Pozna? and Pozna? - Szczecin or RE (RegioEkspress). Consider first class tickets, because the price difference between the second and first class is not so big. The jump in comfort may be substantial but then it is also common to see trains where 2nd class carriages are recently renovated and 1st class carriages are old and correspondingly low quality. Travellers under 26 years of age are entitled to 26% discount on travel fare on Intercity's TLK, EX and IC-category trains, excluding the price of seat reservation. In some IC trains (but not on main routes to Warsaw) you can buy cheap 'Last Minute' ticket (30 min. before departure time). Prices start at 13 PLN. There are also Super Bilet limited tickets - prices start from 59PLN. Each city and town has a central bus station (formerly known as PKS), where the various bus routes pick up passengers; you can find their schedules there. Tickets are usually purchased directly from the driver, but sometimes it's also possible to buy them at the station. Use only those that are associated in a 'corporation' (look for phone number and a logo on the side and on the top). There are no British style minicabs in Poland. Unaffiliated drivers are likely to cheat and charge you much more. Be especially wary of these taxis near international airports and train stations (but then, shouldn't one be wary of them everywhere?). They are called the 'taxi mafia'.