After initially being allocated to study at ANU in Canberra and then UNC at Chapel Hill, both of which were cancelled due to Covid, I finally accepted a place at the University of Warsaw.
The 25th of September came around very quickly and I packed up my life into three suitcases and travelled to Poland for the very first time. My dad came with me for the first few days while I sorted out my accommodation. We did all the touristy things like visiting the old town, trying local foods and strolling along the Vistula River. I took a trip to the campus to collect my student card and see which buildings I would be in. The campus is stunning, a lot prettier than Manchester! The best part has to be the Main Library which has a botanical garden on the roof. It took my breath away, especially in the sun and as the leaves change colour to gorgeous reds and oranges.
Before my dad left we figured out the public transport system and moved all my belongings into the apartment I would be living in for the year. I chose to live alone for a change and I’m loving my flat and the freedom it brings. The tram runs right past my window and I love to sit and people watch from the kitchen while I have breakfast. It is located next to one of Warsaw’s most historic donut shops, Pracownia Cukiernicza Zagoździński. I can confirm the donuts live up to their reputation.
Term started the following week and I met some of the people I had been talking to online and my new classmates. The workload is a lot less than normal at Manchester which is good as it gives me lots of time to explore and plan trips. All my modules are very interesting nevertheless. Me and my friends have been exploring more of Warsaw too like walking around the Royal Baths Park and trying various roof top bars and food halls. I’m a huge fan of the Polish food, especially the bakeries and the famous “pierogi” which I now keep in my freezer at all times for an easy dinner. The price of things in Poland compared to the UK is a lot lower which is a huge bonus!
Within a fortnight I’d already planned my first trip, to Gdansk on the coast of Poland. It was the perfect sunny day to explore the streets and waterfront. I climbed 400 steps up to the top of St Mary’s Church to see the city from above. The view was definitely worth it! I then went to Sopot and walked to the end of the longest wooden pier in Europe. The surrounding beach reminded me of home as I live near the sea which was nice. I also recently took a 24 hour trip to Stockholm on a cheap flight which was amazing. Being in Central Europe means there is great connections to the rest of Europe so I’ll be planning lots of city breaks for sure.
The weather has been great with the sun shining almost every day in October and it’s been lovely watching the seasons change in a new place. However, the temperature is dropping quickly so I’ve invested in a good winter coat, hat and gloves which I can tell I will get lots of use out of.
Overall, my expectations have been beyond exceeded and I’m so happy how things have gone despite my original destinations not working out. I’d definitely recommend applying to Warsaw for those submitting their study abroad applications soon!