Living in Poland?
Transportation and Education in Poland
Traveling by Train — The Most Popular Option
While there are different options of traveling through Poland, the train is one of the most popular modes of transportation. Train travels are ideal for long-distance journeys: they are usually punctual and come at a reasonable price. Polish State Railways (Polskie Koleje Państwowe — PKP) offer different types of trains and allow you to choose between intercity, express, and slow trains. Each of them travels at a different speed. As expected, express and intercity trains are much more comfortable than the slow trains. You can plan your trip and learn more about ticket prices on the website of the Polish State Railways.
Generally, there are connections to big cities within and outside of Poland, such as Berlin, Prague, Vienna, or Budapest. In Poland, about 23,000 km of train tracks span the country, making for quite an extensive network of connections. Only the mountainous south is not as well serviced, and trains are a little bit slower there.
Taking the Bus — Good for Towns and Villages
Taking the bus is the ideal choice if you have to or wish to travel to destinations which are not located near one of the main train lines. Because every town or village has a bus station, you can reach even remote areas. Some towns also offer microbus services. Each bus station should have a timetable showing the times of departure (odjazdy) and destinations (kierunek).
If you have the option of traveling via the usual bus lines, have a look at “PKS Polonus” and “Polski Bus”. Both companies offer reasonable ticket prices and a high amount of comfort. You can buy your ticket at the bus station or directly with the driver. Only few bus companies allow you to purchase your ticket online.
Flying or Driving — A Convenient Choice
Despite the convenient bus and train connections, flying across the country keeps gaining popularity. You can turn to LOT Polish Airlines, the country’s official airline. LOT has a big network of domestic flights with daily connections to Warsaw, Cracow, Wroclaw, and other cities. You can purchase your tickets at any LOT office or travel agency. Keep your eyes open for discounts and attractive stand-by fares.
Another very popular mode of transportation is the car. Different roadways (usually marked with an “A” on a blue board) connect bigger cities and offer convenient connections. National roads, on the other hand, are marked by white numbers on red ground. Unfortunately, these roads are often subject to repairs. One thing to keep in mind is that car theft is a major problem in Poland. Organized gangs are often present in larger cities, smuggling stolen cars across the eastern border. But even if it is not your entire car which has gone missing, the contents of your car, if on open display, may quickly disappear as well. Make sure to get a good car insurance and do not park your vehicle outside of secured parking lots.
The Education System
Ever since the last education reforms in 1999, schools in Poland are divided into six years of primary school, three years of “gymnasium” (secondary schooling), plus two to four years of post-gymnasium schooling. The latter consists of specialized lyceums, general lyceums, technical secondary schools, vocational schools, complementary lyceums, and complementary technical secondary schools.
All in all, Polish children attend 12 to 13 years of school, at the end of which they may take the standardized national secondary school achievement examination and receive a diploma. Education is compulsory until the age of 18, with both primary and secondary school attendance being obligatory.
There are different international schools for expat children in Poland. Here is a brief overview:
- American School of Warsaw
- British International School of Cracow
- British International School, Gdansk
- International School of Cracow
- British International School in Lodz
- British International School, Wroclaw
- Meridian International School
- Poznan British International School
- The British School, Warsaw
- Wroclaw International School
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