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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in Europe - Poland


Where to Go - Europe (exc UK)

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Italy | Lithuania | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Slovakia | Slovenia
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Poland

Population: 38,646,023

Literacy rate: 99%

Life expectancy at birth: male – 69.01 yrs, female – 77.6 yrs

Infant mortality rate: 9.61 deaths/1,000 live births

Population growth rate: -0.04%

GDP growth rate: 3.8%

GDP per capita: £4,800

Unemployment: 11%

Inflation: 8.4%

TI index: 4.1

Climate: temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers.

Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz; continental sockets.

Websites: The official website of Poland is at http://poland.pl/

A site offering information on accommodation and tourism services, which also features general country info, can be found at http://www.travelpoland.com/

There is an enormous hunger for English and all things “Western” in Poland. A certain degree of culture clash may be expected; the Poles vision of you and your vision of the Poles may not jibe, however, they are an enthusiastic and friendly people, bridges will be built. There is an enormous difference between the city and the country. Country people tend to be very conservative. Don’t make any religious jokes – Poles are all very religious and Roman Catholicism is virtually the only religion here. The economy is coming along in leaps and bounds.

The history of Poland is long and very interesting – once a powerful country it has suffered invasions, annexations and the breaking up of an empire. One sixth of the population died in the Holocaust. After the break-up of Soviet Russia, Poland embraced capitalism with an almost religious fervour. Some problems resulted; inequalities of wealth, political divisions within Solidarity (the political movement led by Lech Walesa, a shipyard worker and later president), but things are starting to stabilise now. As for culture, learn to like Chopin – he was a Pole. Warsaw is a wonderful city for its architecture and its museums; visit the old city and see the Market Square surrounded by its 13th and 14th century houses, most of them painstakingly reconstructed after WWII. Remember the Uprising and the Warsaw ghetto – the Poles still do.

25% of the country is covered by forest; there are huge reserves of bituminous coal and sulphur; copper and silver are also mined. Most trade is within the EU and is increasing with food and drink good to very good. Poles like vodka. This is very much like saying that fish like water. Among the varieties are zubrowka (bison grass flavour), tarmiowka (sloe plum), sliwowica (prune) and (dangerously) pieprzowka (white pepper) which has an effect similar to its sound.

Entry requirements

EU thus no visa required for other EU members

Vaccinations

Nothing special here.

Tax and Insurance

21% tax. If you have a UK NHS card, you will have access to medical care and some dental treatment. If not, get some medical insurance.

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in Poland



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