Student exchange Poland : 8 things to prepare

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Place of exchange: Warsaw School of Economics (SGH), Warsaw, Poland

Why Poland?

Poland is a humble country located in central Europe with Warsaw as its capital. I’m excited to see what’s going to unfold in the coming months for my student exchange Poland as it’s my first time going to Europe. I have heard about possible racism and safety issues but the truth will only be unravelled when I’m there. To be honest, I didn’t spend much time researching for exchange so it’s largely based on my friends’ opinions.

My considerations are the number of modules to transfer and the cost of living.  I overlooked the part on internship openings during the summer break as the term in Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) is different from NUS. NUS school term starts from January till May while SGH Spring term is from Mid-Feb till Mid-June which might cause inconvenience if you intend to take up an internship as most of them start in the middle of May. However, the professors here are understanding as they are open to the option of early examinations.

Before we dive into student exchange Poland life, let’s look at pre-departure!

  1. Visa

  • Visa is definitely one of the most important documents you’ll need to make prior to exchange. To apply for a visa, you’ll need to access the polish embassy online web portal to book an appointment. It’s a fast process if you got all the required documents and the checklist of items can be found on their website. My visa took about 10 working days to be ready for collection so it’s better to make it 1 month in advance. Do remember to bring sufficient cash as only cash is accepted.
  • More information on Visa can be found in here.

  1. Accommodation

Sabinki

Accommodation wise, you can either stay in the school dormitory (Sabinki) or rent an apartment. The dorm is a shared room and exchange students have a higher chance to secure a place in the dorm. If you’re intending to rent an apartment, I would recommend staying 1 or 2 metro stops away from SGH. Politechnika Metro Station and Centrum are good places to rent as they’re near the city central and convenient to travel to school. I opted for the dorm as its much cheaper than renting an apartment and it gives us more opportunities to know more students from other parts of the world.

 

However, if living on campus is not your thing and you prefer more personal space, we can solve your headache and address your accommodation needs here!


 

  1. NUS module mapping issues

 

Mapping can be confusing at the start but don’t worry, I’ll be sharing you the steps to get it done! Firstly, we’ll tackle the module mapping in NUS and then we’ll look at SGH. I intended to map 6 NUS mods, 4 of which are level 3000 Finance while the other 2 are core modules, Strategic Management ( BSP 3001) and Managerial Accounting ( ACC2002).

NUS

  • Steps :
    1. Know/ have an idea on what you intend to specialize in.
    2. Check the NUS masterlist and decide on the modules to map

In the event the module that you intended to map isn’t on the masterlist…. NOT to worry, you can do manual mapping!

Mapping

  1. Find out the NUS module syllabus code from IVLE
  2. Retrieve the syllabus outline of the module from the overseas university which you want to map back. You can check this against the virtual dean ( the online platform used by SGH which will be accessible after you’ve successfully been enrolled into SGH as an exchange student)
  3. Fill up the form and email the SEP coordinator from your home faculty who is in charge of module mapping and tada! Wait for the result.

I tried to map more modules that weren’t on the master list but only ACC2002 got through. Take the initiative to do manual mapping as it’ll benefit future student exchange poland because it’ll be listed on the master list when it’s approved. For instance, we weren’t able to map ACC2002 in SGH initially but we’ve done the manual mapping and you’ll be able to map it now.

SGH

Now that you’ve got the modules approved from NUS, it’s time to bid for the modules at SGH and check the availability of the modules. All of these are done online and it’s split into 3 different stages. The first stage is the preliminary course choice based on the list provided in the SGH course guidebook which you’ll receive via email.

  • 1st stage – preliminary course choice is based on the course list provided in the SGH course guidebook ( You can choose as many courses as you want but take note that not all courses will be available. Courses will be deleted at the 2nd stage if there are insufficient students taking up the course.)
    • May – June – for Fall semester
    • November – for Spring semester

  • 2nd stage – modification of initial course list on pursuant to unopened courses and timetable clashes ( During this stage, you’ll need to remove courses with timetable clashes. My course selection for the first stage consisted of 10 NUS mods but only 7 was available to map after the 2nd stage)
    • August – September – for Fall semester
    • January – February – for Spring semester

  • 3rd stage – final modification in course enrollment ( Confirmation of courses! Do take note that it is still possible for courses to be deleted during this stage)
    • during the first week of the semester

More detailed information on course enrollment in student exchange Poland, SGH can be found here.


 

  1.  SGH Administration

The staff at the administration office are really nice and helpful so don’t be shy to approach them if you’ve any questions. Here are some pointers adapted from SGH’s website.

Before leaving for student exchange Poland

  • Make sure you have an approved Learning Agreement for your study period
  • Contact the Incoming Students Officer in order to check if all your documents have reached the International Office in due time
  • Make sure your passport is valid and – if you are a non-EU student – arrange the relevant visa in the Polish embassy
  • If you are an EU student, obtain your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) before arriving in Warsaw
  • If you are a non-EU citizen, ensure that potential medical costs are covered by your insurance. Should this prove impossible, arrange any additional insurance covers you may need in Poland
Upon your arrival at SGH
  • Participate in the activities of the Orientation Week
  • Visit International Office at SGH
    • Hand in all the required documents
    • Original of approved Learning Agreement with all necessary signatures and seals
    • Copy of you ID or passport
    • Copy of your EHIC or any other documentary proof of your entitlement to health insurance cover during the study period at SGH
  • Have the Certification of Arrival completed by Incoming Students Officer and send it back to your home International Office if you are an Erasmus student
  • Pick up your SGH student ID card after paying the obligatory fee
    • The payment of the obligatory fee is not as straightforward. If you do not have a Polish bank account, which I highly recommend you to create once you reach Warsaw, you would have to go to Pekao bank located within SGH to queue for your turn to pay. The fee was 27 zl for the card and 7 zl for the bank payment processing fee.
  • Make sure you know your personal class schedule and that you are aware of any possible changes to it
  • Buy yourself a 3-month travel card for Warsaw transportation ( Get it ! It’s worth it and you wouldn’t want to get fined for not having a transport ticket )

  1. My Packing List:

Packing List

I’m travelling light as I’m expecting to buy lots of stuff so I only packed 3-4 days’ worth of clothing. The total weight of my luggage was 18kg and I’m hoping to double it. Always remember to bring important documents such as passport, identity card and probably international driving license if you intend to drive overseas!  I regretted not bringing a pair of waterproof shoes/boots. (This is to prevent getting wet shoes during the winter season) and I had to endure freezing cold damp shoes during my 6 days in Norway which was a torture.


 

  1. Should I create a bank account? How much money should I bring? ( ONLY MY PERSONAL OPINION !)

piggy-bank-29154_960_720

There’re many banks in Poland with student accounts with their own perks and most shops in Poland accept credit/ debit cards. I’ve created a bank account as it’s not safe to have too much cash on hand. However, it is not necessary to open a bank account as you can use Citibank Singapore’s debit/credit for payment (Terms&Fees might have changed ). I felt that the rates are better if you were to withdraw from Citibank as compared to changing Euros in Singapore and converting it to zlotys because you would have lost in 2 transactions (SGD -> Euros -> zlotys = ouch). Do bring some Euros to change just in case!


 

  1. How did I settle my flight?

finnair

Book early guys! Flight prices increases as the countdown to your exchange begin and skyscanner might not give you the cheapest price! I got my flight with Finnair student promotion and it’s relatively cheaper compared to the other airlines. I paid around $580+SGD for a one-way ticket and it came with a 2x23kg luggage.


 

Final Step : Remember to like our ExchangeBuddy Facebook page if you’ve not done so to be updated on more exchange tips and experiences!

That’s all for the pre-departure for student exchange Poland. How about life in Warsaw? Transport? School culture? Mobile communication plans? Keep a lookout on this site as I’ll be sharing with you more tips for your exchange in Poland!

Proof read by : Jun Ting

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