Beginning your studies abroad may seem like a great challenge, and for many students it really is an adventure they need to well prepare for. As you read this guide, be advised that you may be provided with additional Orientation Guides by your programme 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 at the JU
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 vacation are three months long (July—September). Please note that even though technically part of the summer break, 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.
Detailed schedules for the current and upcoming academic years may be found here: www.en.uj.edu.pl/en_US/studying/academic-calendar.
Jagiellonian University Campuses
First Campus (University District) is located in the historical centre of Kraków, just by the Main Square. It includes medieval Collegium Maius, hosting University Museum, Collegium Novum – current seat of the Rector and many administrative offices, and residences of several JU Faculties.
Second Campus is also located in central Kraków, close to Jagiellonian Library. Buildings within this campus include Auditorium Maximum or the new auditorium of the Faculty of Law and Administration.
Third Campus is also the biggest and newest of JU campuses. Located in Ruczaj district of Kraków, it houses newest laboratories, research centres, and auditoria of a number of JU Faculties and other units, especially in the fields natural and pure sciences.
JU Medical Campus consists of buildings located in several places around Kraków, most notably by Kopernika or Montelupich streets in central Kraków, and in the Prokocim district (with the newest University Hospital in construction, set to open in 2019), as well as within hospitals around the city.
Student ID Card
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 about the 17 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.
The main JU library—the Jagiellonian Library—is one of the biggest research libraries in Poland. As a JU student, you may not only access the reading rooms in this library, but also check out book from a good portion of the collection. To use the library, you need to register at the main building (please make sure that you have your student ID card and your national ID card or passport with you).
Additionally, JU Institutes and Faculties also have their smaller libraries, whose collections are tailored to the areas in which they teach and carry out research. To learn about the rules for using the libraries, it is best to consult its librarian.
Further reading: www.bj.uj.edu.pl/en_GB/start-en
Student societies and research circles
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.
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.
Read more: www.azs.uj.edu.pl
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.
Branches of several international organisations are present at the JU, including Erasmus Student Network, AEGEE (European Students’ Forum), European Students’ Union, and AIESEC.
What better occasion to learn a foreign language than coming to study in its country of origin? When studying at the JU, you may enrol into courses held at our School of Polish Language and Culture, both intensive and less intensive in their curricula. See the full offer here: www.plschool.uj.edu.pl/sjikp.
Getting your visa
EU and EFTA citizens
As a citizen of the EU or Schengen member states, you may cross the Polish border on the basis of a valid travel document (passport or identity card).
Non-EU and non-EFTA citizens
As a citizen of other countries than member states of the EU or EFTA, you may cross the external border of the EU—including Polish border—with a valid travel document, travel medical insurance, justification of purpose and conditions of your intended stay and prove that you have sufficient means for the planned stay and for the return journey, and, if it is required—a visa. List of visa-free countries is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.msz.gov.pl/en/travel_to_poland/entering_poland/visa_free.
If you do find yourself in need of a visa, please note that you may apply for two types of visas: a Schengen visa (type C), valid for 90 days of entry into the Schengen area over the period of six months; or a long-stay Polish national visa (type D), valid for no longer than a year. Visa application procedures must be completed in your country of origin well before you come to Poland; you should allow at least several months for the Polish embassy to process your application. Once you are admitted to the JU, we will issue a letter confirming your admission which can be presented at the embassy for visa purposes.
Registering your stay
Once in Poland, you are obliged to register your stay, if it exceeds 3 months. To register your stay, you need to file an application together with a set of required documents with the provincial office (Małopolski Urząd Wojewódzki). If you are not a EU / EFTA citizen, you only have 4 working days to submit the application, following your arrival in Poland.
You may find more information about the procedures here: www.malopolska.uw.gov.pl/default.aspx?page=Locations_of_foreigner_service_centres
When coming to study at the 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 400 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 student office for your programme or International Students Office.
Further reading: internationalstudents.uj.edu.pl/regularstudies/dormitory
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 very lively and offers a variety of living options. If you are willing to share a room, prices may be as low as 500 PLN per month, but depending on the location and the apartment standard, they may also be much higher. There are many websites—Facebook groups, student forums—where you can find dozens of offers published by other students looking for roommates.
Getting around Kraków on buses and trams is very convenient. Students can buy discounted monthly and semester transport passes (47 PLN per month or 184 PLN per semester) using their student ID card (which then also acts as their bus pass). Wide network of shared Wavelo bikes covers most of the city, and biking to university is a popular form of transport.
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
- stop Ruczaj: Institute of Middle and Far East
Health care in Poland
If you are a EU / EFTA citizen, and you have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you are entitled to receive free health care services. Please be sure to show your card upon your visit at the doctor’s office.
If you don’t have the EHIC, or are from outside of EU / EFTA, you should either purchase health insurance before arrival, or enrol in the Polish National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia). When you purchase the NFZ insurance, you become eligible for health care services in Poland.
Holders of Polish Charter can be insured free of charge in the NFZ by the University.
For advice about health care during your studies, please contact International Students Office.