Warsaw boasts an extensive university hospital as well as a children’s institute and Medicover hospital. While public healthcare in Poland is free of charge, it is notorious for poor service and long waiting times. As such, and particularly if you have children or older relatives with you, it may be worth looking into private healthcare options. Do not assume your current insurance will cover you when you relocate; there are a number of companies specializing in cover for expats, so it pays to do your homework.
Polish children begin preschool at the age of six, attending a primary school from seven to thirteen. The initial three years of primary school are taught by one class teacher, with subject areas divided up and taught by specialists after this point. Children undertake a national exam before moving to a secondary school for three years. Here the curriculum is more detailed, with science divided into disciplines, and the options for further education resolutely dependent on exam performance at the completion of secondary school. Three years of high school follow secondary school, where children gain an education specific to a career path or study for the maturity exams that facilitate entry to university.
As well as traditional Polish schools, the city can also offer a variety of international schools catering to the expatriate community living in Warsaw. These provide IB, American and Canadian curriculums, as well as Bilingual and Trilingual programs.
2014 crime statistics show that Warsaw boasts one of the lowest crime rates of any city in Poland. Street crime is still an issue, with tourists a target for pickpockets and thieves. Despite this, Poland continues to shrug off its previous reputation concerning crime and is beginning to forge a new one, with the crime statistics for the entire country continuing to fall in 2014.
The city as a whole is very safe, although some areas of the Praga district are known to be more dangerous than the downtown areas frequented by tourists. If you are traveling around the city by bike, investing in a good lock and being sensible about where you leave it will pay off. Like any cosmopolitan area, being aware of your surroundings and avoiding walking alone in poorly lit areas at night will also go a long way towards maintaining your safety in Warsaw.
Warsaw offers fantastic transport links, with an international airport located just 10 km south of the city center and several international railway stations. Its extensive bus and tram networks, which serve both the city and its suburbs, run from 5:00 to 23:00 and make getting around without a car remarkably easy.
If you are paying income taxes in the capital, you will also be entitled to a Warsaw card. Designed to offer benefits to those contributing to the city’s budget, this card offers a variety of perks, including discounted public transport. If you are working outside of the city and commuting in, expect to pay a 10% premium on transport as a contribution to the capital's budget.