Education and Living In Cracow

Cracow is one of the oldest and largest academic centers in Poland. A great number of students come here both from Poland and many other countries.

Cracow is one of the biggest and most important academic and research centers in Poland. Its academic traditions go back to the 14th century when the Jagiellonian University was set up. Currently, thanks to numerous higher education institutions, both public and private, every year the city of Cracow welcomes many new students. The city boasts as many as 23 higher education institutions attended by some 210 thousand students. This is here, in Cracow, where one of Europe’s oldest universities is located – the Jagiellonian University, attended by Nicolaus Copernicus.

You have already made the decision to move to Cracow to study. You have finally found an apartment or a room to live in. You have even come here and started to get to know the city and people a little bit. So, it is your chance also to explore the beautiful city of Cracow while studying.

Apart from the academic offered, the exciting cultural and nightlife, students are attracted to the atmosphere of the city itself and the charm of its old architecture. Cracow serves a great number of festivals throughout the year, including film, classical music, and photography, as well as the internationally famous Festival of Jewish Culture or Jazz Festival. The city also boasts some of the most renowned galleries and museums in the country and one of the European greatest theater districts. There are over a hundred clubs, and bars in the vicinity of Cracow’s Market Square alone, mostly in the cellars of historic buildings, hosting exhibitions, jazz concerts or experimental drama.

Cracow has many green areas that provide opportunities for recreation and active rest, such as the Botanical Garden of the Jagiellonian University and the Zoological Garden in the Wolski forest complex which is a traditional place of recreation for the locals and tourists. The richest and constantly expanded recreational base (ice rink, swimming pools, including the Aqua Park, tennis courts, and systematically expanded network of cycling paths) and other venues encourage people to practice sports and spend their time actively in the open air.

Many people decide to live here for good, falling in love with the city and adding different ideas to the centuries-lasting tradition of Cracow. So, it is truly an international city and a great place to study.

Cracow Universities

Branded as the “City of Colors”, studying in Cracow also promises a colorful experience – thanks to its varied universities that provide students with a wide array of choices, depending on their preferred specialization. Here are some of the best universities in the Polish city:

Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow

Plac Matejki 13, 31-157 Kraków

The best place for art enthusiasts, this university is a public university with programs specializing in fine arts, design, and conservation. Founded in 1818, the university caters to undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students.

AGH University of Science and Technology

A. Mickiewicza Av. 30

30-059 Kraków

The oldest and biggest technical university in Poland, AGH University of Science and Technology is where one should enroll if his/her interest is anything about science: Earth science, technical physics, mathematics, management, and more! Its mission to offer ” up-to-date education of engineers who specialize in many branches of technology” is manifested with its 29 courses and over 170 specializations. With 20 student hostels, this university has infrastructures for 9000 students.

University School of Physical Education, Krakow, Poland

Al. Jana Pawła II 78

31-571 Krakow

This university is geared towards providing an education of Physical Education teachers in the country. A fully independent institution, this university offers courses for undergraduates in the following fields:  Physical Education, Physical Rehabilitation or Physical Therapy, Tourism Studies, and Recreation Studies.

Pedagogical University of Cracow

Podchorążych St. 2

30-084 Krakow

Founded on May 11, 1946, this university has its name after the National Education Commission ((Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny im. Komisji Edukacji Narodowej w Krakowie). The university was initially built to train teachers in the primary school, then later on expanded to offer courses for undergraduate students, particularly those who want to pursue a teaching profession.

These are just four of the major universities in Cracow. Explore the city and get to know more educational institutions therein.

Real Estate

Cracow is the second most important real estate market in Poland after Warsaw, and the most attractive city to live in. Cracow is one of the most wonderful cities in Central Europe. With the wave of restoration that’s now sweeping through the city, one could argue that things have not looked this good for generations. Even though prices have already shot through the roof in cities like Prague, Cracow still offers amazing bargains for those who have fallen in love with the city.

Cracow is at a fascinating moment of transition. In this respect, prices will certainly increase drastically during the next few years, which makes now a key time for buyers.

Citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein are free to buy and own any real estate in Poland except if you might be after farmland or forest, things are a little more complicated. Other aliens can buy residential property, with the intent to take up residence in the country and they should make a commitment that it will be their fixed abode and they do not own another home in Poland. All foreigners may also acquire any property. Otherwise, acquisition of the real estate by an alien requires authorization from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, easily obtainable in most cases. It applies to individuals as well as companies whenever foreigners hold the controlling interest. Furthermore, non-EU aliens need similar permission to take over 50% share or more of an enterprise having a real estate among its assets.

List of some Estate Agents:

Ashville Krakow Property Management – Located at Czysta 14/6, Cracow.

Elite Properties Agency – Located at Bracka 4, Cracow.

Firma Projekt – Located at Morawskiego 5, Cracow.

FK Nieruchomosci – Located at Aleja Grottgera 2, Cracow.

Hamilton May – Located at Cybulskiego 2, Cracow.

Leach & Lang Property Consultants – Located at Slawkowska 6, Cracow.

Nieruchomosci Dutkiewicz – Located at Szlak 50/118, Cracow.


Cracow is not only a popular vacation spot but also becomes a more permanent home to live. Should you, like thousands of visitors before you, fall in love with the city enough to want to stay for an extended period, there are a few things to consider:

Legalizing your Stay

UE and EEA citizens do not need a visa to stay in Cracow. After no longer than 91 days of stay, they need to visit the local Voivodship Office and register. The applicant must prove that he/she is subject to public health care insurance, and has enough money to cover the cost of staying in Poland.

Non-EU and EEA citizens must apply for a long term visa at their local Polish consulate. The certificate of enrollment is required. The visa is valid for no longer than 12 months and must be reevaluated in a local Voivodship Office. The visa allows staying in Poland and for the first three months also in other Schengen Agreement member countries. It’s also possible to apply for a residence permit. In order to acquire the permit, international students must have a valid health insurance policy and enough money to cover the costs of stay and return to the country of origin.

Learn the Language

Do not forget that learning Polish is a necessity. Sure, you may be able to get around well enough for a short time on just a few words, but for a long term stay you will have to be willing to put in the effort to adapt to a sometimes difficult and overwhelming language barrier. You will also have to adapt to an exchange rate that is no longer in your favor. Your salary will be much lower than you’re used to, and necessities such as clothing will seem much more expensive in comparison.

Difficult to find a job

For non-EU citizens, it is also much more difficult than it once was to find a job in the city. The days when any native English speaker was eagerly seized up are gone. With Poland’s ascension into the EU, jobs are much more competitive, even the once-common jobs teaching of English. Although you may be able to find hourly jobs at some language schools, beware that many are not reliable and may attempt to hire you illegally. Your best bet is to find a job through an international company working in Poland.


Finding a new place to live is never easy, but when it becomes an international search, it can become much more difficult. Cracow, however, has a wide range of available properties, from historic apartments to new builds to detached houses with gardens. So, moving in Cracow is not that difficult at all.

There are some ex-pats, moving to Cracow means priming for a poor, post-communist state still prone to the presence of wild animals: for others, it means migrating to Europe’s best-kept secret.

Expats moving to Cracow these days will find a country on the verge of prosperity. As the only EU nation to avoid recession, foreign capital is pouring in and investment banks are looking to set up shop.

For the ex-pat seeking adventure, sport and the drama of an unspoiled, wild landscape Poland has the magnificent Tatras, which are the highest range of the Carpathian Mountains, which lie to the South of the country, offering wonderful skiing, climbing, and hiking. Then there is the wilderness of the Bialowieza National Park and the beautiful Masurian Lakes and ancient forests in the north.

For ex-pats looking for the cultural side of this great country that is Poland will be swept away by the spectacular architecture to be seen in the country’s royal capital Cracow and dotted throughout the country.

Expats moving to Cracow with an optimistic attitude can certainly succeed, but the journey may prove more difficult than in other more attractive destinations.


An Expat to Cracow often falls in love with both the place and its residents, there is certainly a stable stream of foreign people taking the plunge and moving to the city. Instantly on the heels of this decision, comes the sudden realization that it is time to sort out the new digs, a new language, and, most importantly – a Job.

Cracow is known for the excellent leading centers of Polish academic, cultural and artistic existence as well as the most economic center of internal trades.

Cracow city is considered as the biggest market for information technology. Several biggest IT companies in the world including Google, Hitachi, IBM, General Electric, Philip Morris, Capgemini, Motorola and Sabre Holdings are operating in the area and contribute to the stabilization of its economy. There is a very low unemployment ratio in Cracow because of the numerous job opportunities available according to the profile of the candidate.

Educated individuals in Cracow enjoy reasonable salary structure and fringe benefits in different jobs i.e. Information technology, sales and marketing, accounting and finance and administrative science. Managerial positions are offered to the master’s degree holders after a detailed interview and certain assessment aptitude tests.

Work Permits

The requirements regarding work permits for Poland vary based upon on an Expat’s nationality. European Union (EU) citizens do NOT need a work permit to be legally employed in Poland, while non-EU citizens do need a work permit.

One large restriction that many Expats are unaware of is the fact that work permits for Poland are job and employer-specific. Thus, if during the course of your time in Poland you wish to change jobs, it’s necessary to reapply for a permit.

Take several part-time jobs

Balancing the budget at first may be difficult. Do not hold out for the perfect job, but take what you can. Perhaps some translation work will do, teaching English, even working online from home. One thing will lead to another, and the job you really want and deserve will eventually show up.

Be realistic about salary

Do your research about salary ranges before applying. That 50K pound job in marketing you are leaving behind – well, let’s just say you are not going to walk into a 20,000 zloty per month equivalent. Typical local salaries can range from 2000 PLN per month to around 5000 PLN per month. Expect to be offered something in the same range for non-specialist work.

Learn the language

It is hard, and you will almost certainly never be fluent, but at least make a real effort, even before you get to Cracow. A simple greeting, thank you and so forth to go a long way. It’s because you will be working with Polish co-workers.

Hang out with locals

As best you can, get involved with the locals. Cracow has plenty of interest groups, from web start-up communities to sports associations. Join as many as you can and to the network, you may be surprised how often jobs come via word of mouth.

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