Georgina - Warsaw School of Economics

B Economics/Arts
Semester 2, 2019
During my exchange, I definitely believe I became more independent and confident

Academic experience

I studied 9 different courses in order to reach the required 30 ECTS needed to have undertaken a full-time load.  These courses were; Introduction to Game Theory, Introduction to Poland, Public Finance, International Economics, European Integration, Economic History, Business in Central and Eastern Europe, International Competitiveness, and Economic and Social Policy. I really enjoyed the different perspective on the world economy; ours is very focused on Australia and its world partners which centre on Asia. There was a clear focus in all my courses in which examples used focused on Central and Eastern Europe. A challenge was when information pertaining to the European economy was referred to or discussed that I didn't know and that seemed to be common knowledge for other students. For example, questions such as what certain nations in Europe are known for exporting. To overcome this, I found I had to pay closer attention and utilise the knowledge of my friends who had learnt information like this throughout their university studies.  

I found the enrolment experience challenging. Though, it was easy to complete the online recruitment form using SGH’s online platform. However, I found it very challenging to navigate SGH’s own website to locate which courses would be offered during my exchange semester. This challenge continued as I found it difficult to complete my selections as to what courses I wanted to study during the semester as well. This was not helped by the time difference between Australia and most of Europe. Further, as I was settling into SGH it was often confusing to figure out what I needed to do in order to finalise my courses for the semester as most information provided was geared towards ERAMUS students as they make up the bulk of all incoming international students.

Personal experience

During my exchange, I made friendships with people I would otherwise never have cause to have met. They have since become very close friends of mine and were supportive during any challenges I faced. I had the opportunity to travel across Poland to Gdansk, as well as to Berlin, Brussels, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Bucharest and more. I was delighted to see Gdansk as I had wanted to go there for some time.


I lived in the student dorm known as Sabinki. Whilst it isn’t technically on-campus it is part of the university as most of the university’s buildings are spread over a few streets which surround the main building on Aleja Niepodleglosci, The dorm is in an ideal location as it is on this same street and is merely a 10 minute walk from the main building. I found this to be very useful throughout the semester as I was also close to most of the other buildings with another directly across the street from the dorm. The location of the dorm also put me in close proximity to central as well as a nearby shopping centre which was very convenient for grocery shopping. I would advise students to seek alternative accommodation as whilst the dorm is in a very good location it is lacking in many areas. I would suggest utilising the buddy system offered and getting your buddy to help you secure a good apartment, as renting is much more affordable in Warsaw.


Compared to Australia, living in Warsaw was significantly cheaper. For example, public transport was really reasonably priced with a 3 month pass only costing 140pln and a month pass 55pln.  These are the concession fare prices that could be utilised once you received your student ID card which effectively then acted as your ‘go card’. This card could be topped up easily at machines that were available (in English, German, Polish and Russian) at metro stations, some bus stops and onboard most trams.  In terms of accommodation, I paid the whole price of my accommodation for my entire exchange upfront, as I was living in the student dorm, and this cost me 2000pln in addition to a 550pln deposit, which I got back at the end of my stay. I found I could get most of my weekly groceries for 100-200pln and there were a number of good, reasonable places to eat around. My favourites quickly became the bakery located near to the university and the pizza restaurant in that same area. Travelling could be done fairly inexpensively, though ultimately depended on where you wanted to go. However, I found it odd that is was often more expensive to fly to different locations in Poland than to fly to nearby countries such as Belgium and Norway.


I found the biggest challenge I faced during my experience was homesickness. I found I missed my friends and family more than I anticipated. However, as I made good friends at SGH and remained in regular contact with friends and family, I was able to overcome this.

Professional Development

During my exchange, I definitely believe I became more independent and confident as I truly had to rely upon myself at times as I found myself far away from everything and everyone I knew. I gained important organisational skills as there was always a lot to keep track of; whether it be my university commitments or merely organising my own travel adventures. It is these skills I believe that will help me to become more valuable in the workplace as well as in balancing work and university studies at UQ.


The highlight of my exchange experience was definitely the close friendships I made and the experiences I had with those friends. Mainly, it was being able to travel Europe so freely with these friends whilst being in the middle of a university semester that I really enjoyed.

Top tips

I would tell them to go for it and take the leap even though it is really scary. I truly believe the most difficult part of my exchange was all the organisation and planning you need to do before you go. However, there is plenty of support available from the Global Experiences Team and I found them invaluable.