Hello, I’m Pelin Tokat. I am a graduate student in chemical engineering at Yıldız Technical University. In the second year of my master’s degree, I came to Cracow to do Erasmus in Poland in the fall term of 2020-2021. I am studying at Cracow University of Technology (Politechnika Krakowska). First of all, I want to say that your Erasmus experience will be one of the most enjoyable times of your life, you can be sure 🙂
Why Did I Choose Poland?
The first reason I chose Poland was that although it was in the European Union, it used Ziloti, not Euro (1 zloty at the moment is about 2 TL). The second reason, I need to Poland from European countries as well as Erasmus students coming from Turkey, I thought I’d pull a lot of difficulties in obtaining environment therefore when I come to Poland. My third reason was that I thought that I would be able to visit other European countries comfortably as Poland is advantageous in terms of location and transportation network. Also, the fact that Poland is a very historical place is among my reasons for choosing Poland.
Why Did I Choose Cracow?
So why Cracow? Cracow is the second most populous city in Poland. Since I was born and raised in Istanbul, I wanted to live in a crowded city again. I think Cracow has a lot of opportunities to spend time, have fun and find peace. I was not bored for 1 day in Krakow. This is a complete student city. If I did Erasmus again, I would choose Cracow again 🙂
Living Standarts in Poland
I think in terms of living standards in Poland is better than Turkey. A country where everyone is in their own business. They are very strict with the rules.
If I give an example as a woman, I get anxious when I go out on the street after a certain hour in Istanbul, but the time doesn’t matter in Cracow . You can safely go out at any time you want.
The places where you will spend the most time in Cracow will be the main square and the streets leading to the main square. You can also spend pleasant times around the Wawel castle and in the Kazimerz region (Old Jewish quarter). My favorite is generally Kazimerz. You can find nice cafes there.
Also, having an airport in Cracow provides an advantage. When you travel by plane, you can reach Cracow airport with a 17-minute train journey from the center.
Erasmus Education in Cracow
Lecturers in chemical engineering at Cracow University of Technology are very interested in students. Whenever a subject struck me, I could easily consult them. I think the education of the school is good.
Market Prices in Poland
You can choose Biedronka or Auchan markets for grocery shopping. Biedronka is a cheap and high quality grocery chain. You can easily find it in most places. You can also find Biedronka at most city’s train stations. You can shop before the train journey 🙂 You can find a lot of variety in Auchan, the product range is more and a little cheaper than Biedronka. Also, when you come to Poland, one thing that will catch your attention is that you will see the green signboarded markets called Zabka every step of the way. You will get bored of seeing Zabka anymore 🙂 The variety of products in Zabka is small and a little more expensive but it comes to your rescue when you need it while walking on the street.
When you come to Poland, I recommend you to eat a traditional donut called pączek. Also, don’t come back without tasting the famous Polish mantı, pierogi. Pierogi is also sold packaged in markets but I recommend you to eat it in a restaurant, they are much more delicious.
Also, if you came to Cracow , I would definitely say stop by Kazimerz and enjoy that historical texture and taste the local dish called Zapiakanki. Zapiakanki is a street snack, usually made of mushroom-cheese and various ingredients on bread. I can recommend BaniaLuka, indispensable for Erasmus students, to spend time with your friends.
Accommodation and Transportation in Cracow
I am staying in the dormitory provided by my school. Cracow University of Technology has 3-4 dormitories. The dormitory where I stay is old compared to the other dormitories of the school, but it is 15-20 minutes away from the city center by walking. Other dormitories are located side by side, far from the city center. You have to use a bus to get to the center from these dormitories. Dormitory fees can range from 400 zł to 550 per month. If you want to go home, you can rent a small room in an apartment close to the center for between 900-1000 zloty per month.
Transportation by train between the cities of Poland is very easy and enjoyable (you can check PKP intercity website for train tickets). I have not had any difficulties in transportation until now. You can buy your tickets online or at the box office. If you are going to buy from the box office, I have to say that the box office staff is bad in English, sometimes you can force your patience to buy a ticket:) Also, if you show your student card, you will get 51% discount on intercity transportation in Poland.
How Is Weather in Cracow?
Cracow has a cold climate that drops to -15 degrees in winter. But after a while, you get used to it and 1-2 degrees starts to feel hot to you 🙂
Which Places Did I Travel During My Erasmus?
I have visited almost every city in Poland (I think Cracow is one of the most beautiful and I recommend Gdansk as well). I have also been to Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and Czechia.
Summary, Erasmus will probably be one of the turning points in your life. You will meet different cultures and be in constant solidarity with people. You will have a thousand adventures as you visit the place to have fun and laugh. Look at collecting good memories…
To read other Poland Erasmus Memories articles you can click 🙂
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