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Student guide

Student guide

Beginning your studies abroad may seem like a great challenge, and for many students, it is an adventure they need to prepare for well. As you read this guide, be advised that you may be provided with additional Orientation Guides by your program coordinator—but the following information will give you a good impression of what your life may be when you come to study with us.

Academic year in Poland starts on the 1 October and ends on 30 September. It consists of two semesters: winter semester, spanning October through January, and summer semester, beginning in March and ending in June.


There are two examination sessions, one at the end of each semester. They last for two weeks. Each examination session also has a resit period: for winter session, it’s one week in February, and for summer session it’s two weeks in September. You need to pass all your exams in due deadlines, by the end of the academic year.


First break of the year is Christmas Break at the end of December which is typically about 10 days long.

Winter break lasts for one week in February (but including examination and resit sessions, period where classes are not taught spans almost a month).

Easter break is shorter—five days long.

Summer vacations are three months long (July—September). Please note that even though technically part of the summer break, the resit exam period is in September. Even if you were successful with your exams in June, you should be paying attention to the announcements, since you may be required to register for next year’s classes or apply for student dorm or stipends before October begins.

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As a JU student, you will be issued an electronic student ID card. It confirms your student status in Poland and is in general used as proof that you are eligible for student discounts, e.g. in public transport. It’s also used as a library card in University libraries.

To receive your student ID card, follow the instructions you are given upon enrolment, especially the 22 PLN fee you need to pay.

Please remember that the card is only valid for the period indicated on the holographic sticker on the back of the card. Each semester, you need to extend its validity at your student office.

More information about the Students ID Card you can find here on the USOSweb.

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Student dormitories

When coming to study at Jagiellonian University, you may apply for a place in a student dormitory. There are six dormitories at the JU, and although prices vary, they do not exceed 600 PLN per month.

You should apply for a place once you are admitted. For more information about procedures of application and accommodation availability, please contact the student office for your programme or International Students Office.

Be aware that due to the limited amount of places in the dormitories, not all international students who start their studies get a place. You should be also ready to look for a place on your own.

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Private accommodation

If you prefer to rent a room or an apartment rather than book a place in a dormitory, you will quickly see that the housing market in Kraków is vibrant and offers a variety of living options. If you are willing to share a room, prices may be as low as PLN 1 000 per month, but they may also be much higher depending on the location and the apartment standard. There are many websites—Facebook groups, student forums—where you can find dozens of offers published by other students looking for roommates.

All the costs listed above reflect only an average price of goods and services


Dormitory (shared room with 1 or 2 people; may be used for a single person for a higher price)

  • 495 złoty/ month (110 euro or 125 USD per month – currency exchange rate as of June 2022)
  • (students must pay a one-month rent deposit, which they get back at the end of their stay if no damages were incurred)

Private Housing

  • 800-2000 zł/ month (175-450 EUR, 200-500 USD /month - currency exchange rate as of January 2022)
  • (Cost depends on location, whether utilities are included or not, room size, and # of roommates)


Food budgets per month may range from 600-1000 zł (134-223 EUR) (180-300 USD), depending on the individual.

Mobile phone services

Depending on usage and operator, students may spend about 15-70 zł/month (3.30-16 EUR) (3.80-20 USD) on mobile phone tariff plan (for calls, sms, internet)

Local public transport

Cost of one tram or bus ride

  • with student discount 20-minute ticket: 2 PLN (0.44 EUR, 0.50 USD)
  • with student discount 50-minute or single trip ticket: 3 PLN (0.66 EUR) (0.76 USD)
  • with student discount 90-minute ticket: 4 PLN (0.88 EUR) (1.01 USD)

Monthly Card for Public transportation (with student discount)

Per month: 27 or 40 PLN (depending on buying a ticket for I or I + II ticket zone)

Per 6 months: 210 or 260 PLN (depending on buying a ticket for I or I + II ticket zone)

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USOS (University Study Oriented System) - an IT system for managing the course of studies.

This system is one of the most useful and helps students during the whole period of studies. You can get done there following actions:

  • Register for courses or exams [Student’s section > registrations];
  • Apply for dormitory, scholarship, etc. [Common section > Applications];
  • Check your courses’ schedule;
  • Check your grades;
  • Submit course declaration and some petitions;
  • Check your bank account number and financial support and a lot more.
Important! After receiving the login data from your student’s office, remember to activate your university’s e-mail account. Then you will receive all essential e-mails and information from the University’s Government, lecturers, etc. For precise instructions on how to do this visit:

Login data to both platforms is the same as for your student's e-mail account.

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MSTeams is a platform for conducting online classes and meetings at the Jagiellonian University. Through this platform, you may:

  • Attend your online classes;
  • Get in contact with your classmates or lecturers;
  • Attend your professor’s shift;
  • Make your assignments;
  • Use the materials you, your classmates, or lecturers published;

To log in to this system, you should use the same login and password as for your e-mail account.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 - is a set of applications available from Microsoft servers. All students and JU’s employees have free access to those applications using their university’s account.

Thanks to Microsoft 365, you can stay in constant contact with colleagues and other students.

The product includes the MS Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook). All Office 365 online products are automatically updated, so users always use the latest version.

Advantages of the Microsoft 365 package:

  • Mobility and availability - it can be launched anywhere, anytime. Documents and files shared with your employees can be viewed from a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
  • Security: Office is safe. Files and documents are protected by anti-spam and anti-malware software. Microsoft 365 uses a reliable system that protects 100% against known viruses.
  • Sharing sites, files, and documents - documents that we create in Word or Excel can be quickly shared with other people.
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Pegaz (and Pegaz-exams) is the official distance learning platform of Jagiellonian University.

It is a website that allows academic teachers to create and publish didactic materials (also interactive and multimedia), and it is also a tool for communicating with students. It includes all classes launched in the USOS Jagiellonian University dean's office system. This platform gives the possibility to:

  • Receive materials for your classes;
  • Complete assignments (e.g., quizzes) published by your lecturers.
  • Submit written works, allow you to send a file (or text written directly on Pegasus), and then evaluate it.
  • Use the Forum to share your ideas, etc.

Pegaz-exams are used for conducting online exams when it is necessary.

University education is not only about lecture and classes: in your free time you can join some of the JU student societies and other organisations, where you will meet new people and get to spend more time on your passions—or find new ones! Below you may find an overview of the most popular organisations active at the JU.

Research circles

There are more than 170 active student research circles at the JU. These organizations provide excellent opportunity to broaden your interests related to your course of study: their activities often include research trips, organising meetings with professionals and researchers in the field, holding conferences and much more.

JU University Sports Association

The University Sports Association is the biggest sports association in Poland, nationwide. It was first established at the Jagiellonian University, and it has been active ever since, for more than 100 years now. As a JU student, you may enrol into one of 40 sections (including football, basketball, volleyball, rowing, horseback, track and field, skiing, and many more) and become part of the JU representation at the national and European competitions.

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Student Governance

By virtue of law, Student Governance is the only official representation of students of a university. Chosen in free elections, students active as members of executive commissions of the governance are the voice of all JU students before the University governance. Their activities include not only sitting on various committees within the University, but also provide services to all students, including legal support or organisation of university-wide events.

International organisations

Branches of several international organisations are present at the JU, including Erasmus Student Network, AEGEE (European Students’ Forum), European Students’ Union, and AIESEC.

Getting around Kraków on buses and trams is very convenient. Students can buy discounted monthly and semester transport passes using their student ID card (which also acts as their bus pass).

Tips for getting to the Ruczaj Campus: board any tram going in the direction of Czerwone Maki. Leave the tram by:

  • stop Norymberska (by Kaufland supermarket): Faculty of Management and Social Communication; Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science; Faculty of Physics, Astronomy, and Applied Computer Science; Faculty of Chemistry
  • stop Kampus UJ: Faculty of Biology; Faculty of Geography and Geology; Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Biotechnology

Timetables of bus/tram lines and connection between stops can be checked on the website or in the application withe the same name (Jakdojade) by selecting the appropriate city. You can also buy tickets in the app.

When using a public transport, it is worth remembering that:

  • trams and buses with the same numbers run in different directions
  • it is not enough to buy a ticket in public transport, you have to validate it in a validator located in every bus and tram, The validated ticket shows a date and time of validation (This not apply to season tickets recorded on the Krakow City Card or student ID)
  • on some days, due to air pollution, public transport in Kraków is free. You can find information on this subject on

During the break between classes you may eat a hot meal using the offer, for example, one of the premises located at our university.

In the city centre:

  • Klub Convivium, Collegium Novum, Gołębia 24
  • Bistro4mat, Auditorium Maximum, Krupnicza 33
  • OTTAMAM meat&go, Kolegium Śląskie, Mickiewicza 3
  • Kwant Bistro, Jagiellonian Library, Oleandry 3
  • Eden w Żaczku, at dormitory Żaczek, 3 maja 5
  • Stołówka Nawojka, at dormitory Nawojka, Reymonta 11
  • Bistro Piast, at dormitory Piast, Piastowska 47

In the Campus in the Ruczaj district:

  • Bistro Świetlica, Faculty of Math and Computer Science, Łojasiewicza 6
  • Atom Resto Bar, Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science, Łojasiewicza 11
  • Neon Bistro, Faculty of Chemistry, Gronostajowa 2
  • Bistro4mat, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Gronostajowa 7
  • Bistro4mat, Institute of Zoology, Gronostajowa 9

Co kraj, to obyczaj- this Polish proverb says that each country has its own culture and customs, and everyone also has a law, the non-observance of which may have negative consequences. What to pay attention to when living in Poland?

  • pedestrian crossings - pedestrians are required to cross the road on designated lanes. You can pay a fine for passing in a non-designated area, as well as for passing through a red light
  • alcohol in a public place - In Poland, it is forbidden to drink alcohol in a public place, except in places intended for its consumption, in points of sale of alcohol. So you can, for example, drink alcohol on the train, but only in the dining car that sells the alcohol. You can drink in the bar and on its premises in the open air, in the so-called ogródek, but not allowed on the street. You may be fined for drinking alcohol in prohibited places.
  • smoking in a public place - smoking in places available for public use is prohibited. In buildings, smoking is allowed in dedicated room, so-called palarnia (smoking area). The same rules also apply to e-cigarettes.
  • medications - most medications are available only in pharmacies, but some, such as medications for sore throats or painkillers, can be purchased at a supermarket or drugstore.
  • most shops are closed on Sunday, but the gas stations are open all the time and you can buy basic groceries there
  • Polish telephone number - the card of the Polish mobile operator is always personal, to buy it, you must show a passport or ID card
  • parking zones - in Krakow and many cities in Poland there are so-called parking zones. This means you have to pay to park your car in the city center. You can pay either at a special parking meter or via one of numerous mobile applications
  • tickets in public transport- unfortunately, there are various systems in Poland. In Krakow, you can buy and validate a ticket after boarding a bus or tram, and in some cities, tickets are purchased and validated before entering the vehicle

The currency in Poland is the Polish zloty (PLN). One zloty is divided into 100 groszy.

You can withdraw cash at one of the many ATMs located at every bank and in other places in the city. In stores and most services, you can pay by card. A popular payment method in Poland, especially among young people, is the so-called BLIK - a cashless payment method in stationary or online stores, withdrawing and depositing cash at ATMs, and making direct transfers to a telephone number.

If you stay in Poland for more than 3 months or receive a scholarship from the Jagiellonian University, you will need to open an account in a Polish bank. If you are over 18 years of age, a valid passport or ID document is sufficient. For minor students, the presence of a parent or legal guardian will be required to open an account.

The list below contains the most popular abbreviations that you may encounter in Poland. Of course, the list is way longer but we hope it will help you to avoid being surprised during your visit to the office when someone asks for your PESEL number or during registration at the medical centre where you may be asked if you are insured in NFZ. Good luck! 

Health Service

  • NFZNarodowy Fundusz Zdrowia (National Health Fund)

    NFZ is a national healthcare system. Services within the NFZ are free of charge, only if you are insured by NFZ. Please remember that you are obliged to be insured during the whole period of your studies. You may choose private insurance or sign up for insurance in NFZ.


  • POZPodstawowa Opieka Zdrowotna (Basic Healthcare)

    Basic Healthcare is available to everyone who is insured in NFZ, in the place of residence. Within POZ you may go to primary care doctor in case of getting ill. If you need medical consultation outside of your place of residence or if you get ill at night, over the weekend or on a public holiday, look for the nearest facility that provides night and holiday healthcare..

  • SORSzpitalny Oddział Ratunkowy (Hospital Emergency Ward)

    In case of a life-threatening situation or permanent health loss, go to SOR regardless the date or hour.   

Public transportation

  • PKPPolskie Koleje Państwowe (Polish State Railway)

    Enterprise in Poland responsible for railway transportation..

  • TLK Twoje Linie Kolejowe (Your Railways)

    Low-cost railways.

  • KMŁ Koleje Małopolskie (Lesser Poland Railways)

    Low-cost, regional railways.

  • EIC – Express InterCity

    Fast train with obligatory seat reservation.

  • MDAMałopolski Dworzec Autobusowy (Lesser Poland Bus Station)Main bus station located near the main train station and Galeria Krakowska shopping mall. Buses to other cities in Poland and Abroad depart from MDA.

  • MPK Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne (Municipal Communication Service)

    Enterprise responsible for buses and trams in Cracow.

  • KKM Krakowska Karta Miejska (Cracow Municipal Card)

    KKM works as a monthly or semestral transportation pass. You may also upload KKM on your student ID card or download the special application on your mobile phone.

Offices, services and media

  • UMK Urząd Miasta Kraków (Cracow Municipal Office)

    If you undertake a legal work in Poland then you or your employer is obligated to pay contribution to ZUS. From ZUS contribution, pension is paid.

  • MUW Małopolski Urząd Wojewódzki (Lesser Poland Province Governor’s Office)

    In MUW you may find the Department for Foreigners where you may submit residence card application.

  • KK Karta Krakowska (Cracow Card)

    This is program for people who has permanent residency or pay taxes in Cracow. Within KK you may benefit in various discounts.

  • MPEC Miejskie Przedsiębiorstwo Energetyki Cieplnej (Municipal Enterprise for Thermal Energy)

    Enterprise responsible for providing heat and hot water to houses and apartments connected to urban system.

  • ZUS Zakład Ubezpieczeń Społecznych (Social Insurance Institution)
  • PIT – Personal Income Tax

    If you work or you are self-employed then you are obligated to pay the taxes every year, PIT can be also settled online.

  • PESELPowszechny Elektroniczny System Ewidencji Ludności (Personal ID numer)

    PESEL allows of easy personal identification, which is why in the Office or medical center you may be asked to provide your PESEL. As a foreigner, you may also obtain your individual PESEL number.

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For many of us, studies are the time to look for our first job. On the Career Office website, you will find verified job offers, learn about training, or arrange a meeting with a career advisor.

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