Congratulations! You went through a lot and now you are a student of the University of Wroclaw. Now – an exciting trip to the country which will be your new home. But after your arrival you still need to take care of a couple of things. I will try to explain what are those things and how to efficiently deal with them and make your first day in Wroclaw as enjoyable as possible.
You just arrived to Wroclaw
During the application process you could ask the International Office to provide you with a transfer from the airport, train or bus station to the dormitory. If you did not do so you can use a taxi service or public transport. There are always good connections at any time of day.
Transportation in Wroclaw
I would recommend to use public transport to effectively move around the city. Wroclaw public transport is easy to use and very extensive. Moreover, I would strongly encourage you to install a mobile app „Jakdojade”. It will allow you to check timetables for buses and trams around the city and provide you with the fastest ways to get to your destination by public transport.
While traveling by public transport you can always use your contactless card (Paypass) to pay for your ticket. Later buying an Urbancard would be an asset. With the Urbancard you can buy a monthly or a semester ticket for specific lines or for all the lines.
City bike (Rower Miejski) is one of my favorite means of connection. After downloading an app and paying at least 10 PLN you can freely move around the city, renting a bike from one of the numerous bike stations around the city.
Moving into the dormitory
If you have decided to live in a dormitory, make sure that you filled out all necessary documents before your arrival. Figure out the name and address of the dormitory. After you have successfully arrived there, you’ll get a temporary residence card which you can use for some time until you go to the administration office, fill in the application, pay all required fees, and become a lucky official resident of the dorm. Go to the aministration office as soon as possible! Once you get a permanent card, you should always have it with you and be able to present it every time you enter the dorm to get keys.
Two-week preparatory Polish course
A great idea and a great experience. I would strongly encourage you to take part in this course. As you are probably going to spend at least three years in Poland, it is crucial for you to speak at least some basic Polish. We all know - Polish is one of the hardest languages to learn, but from my experience, local people really appreciate it if you at least try to say „dziękuję”. Before the course you will receive an invitation to a welcome breakfast where your first meeting with the University and students will take place, there you will be divided into groups and introduced to your teachers of Polish, and have your first class. The course is prepared for all international and exchange students who do not speak the language and are coming to Wroclaw for the first time just like you, so it is a great opportunity to find new friends, get to know the world better, and explore the wonderful city of Wroclaw in good company.
It is highly important to attend the orientation days, where all aspects of your studies will be discussed. At the meeting you will hear out a welcome address from the Director of the International Office, a lecture about the history of Poland, Wroclaw, and the university, and all the practical information, as well as receive the information packages from the University. If you feel lost and do not know what to do, do not worry, there is still a meeting at the faculty level, where all details will be explained. The meeting will be dedicated to your study programme, you will get information about the University system (USOS web, e-service where you can find details of your programme, your timetable, exams, and grades), the faculty structure and history, tour around the building, information about issuing the student ID card ,and many other things.
After your arrival you should bring all the original documents that you used during the application process to the International Office, and pick up the decision on admission. After it has been completed you are a student of the University.
International Office is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9.00 to 14.00.
This is the most important place at the Faculty for you. After submitting the documents to the International Office, go there and sign your “Student’s Contract” and pick up your student ID card. The card is issued during the first weeks of your studies. Afterwards you are fully a student of the University of Wroclaw. Good news is that with the student card you can get discounts when buying transportation tickets, going to museums, the Zoo, coffee shops, restaurants, swimming pools, and so on.
It is always good to stay healthy. Get either public insurance NFZ – National Health Fund or private insurance (PZU, LuxMed) to make sure you can always get medical help. To sign a contract with the NFZ you need a confirmation that you are a student, your student ID card, and your passport.
If you come from outside the EU, a good option for you when your visa expires is to apply for a residence permit – Karta Pobytu. You can get information about all required documents from a leaflet that you have in your Information Package, and if you follow all the instructions written there you will not have any problem with applying. If you need help with the application process you can always visit the International Office. Please remember that the form needs to be filled out in Polish, so use the instruction from your Information Package as well. I would recommend to go to Urzad Wojewodzki (Voivodship Office – local government) outside of Wroclaw, as queues here are very long. It is more efficient to go to Legnica, Walbrzych, or Jelenia Gora, you can get there in one hour by train and it will be a better option than waiting for a whole night in Wroclaw. You should apply at least one day before your visa expires. As the process takes up to 8 months, it is best to do it as soon as possible.
SIM card, bank account, exchanging money
Buy a SIM card in one of local providers to stay connected. Open a bank account to manage your money and make paying more convenient – it is free for students. You can exchange money in any exchange office (kantor). In my opinion the best rates are in Kantor „Cent” situated in the city centre (Rynek).
Free time in Wroclaw
Wroclaw is a magical city. You can visit here the best Zoo in Poland, Rynek (the Market Square), Ostrow Tumski (the Cathedral Island), Japanese Garden, Centennial Hall, various museums, cinemas, theatres, restaurants, shops, and shopping centres. You can take part in a free Walkative tour around Wroclaw, conducted in English. There are various tours (food of Wroclaw, Soviet Wroclaw, street art of Wroclaw etc.) you can attend absolutely for free. There is always something for everyone in the city. When it comes to the night life, the most popular club among students who live in the dorms is Akademia club, situated just opposite the dormitories. Those who like partying will always find an open club at Pasaz Niepolda. Students can participate in events organized by Erasmus International Network in Wroclaw to meet new people and just have fun with international students from all the universities in Wroclaw.
Prepared by Mariya from Uzbekistan