Located in Eastern Europe, the country has 38 million inhabitants and is one of the destinations selected by Brazilians looking for an exchange program abroad
Although many historians say the Polish state was established in 966, the Kingdom of Poland was officially founded in 1025. Today, the country is the ninth largest in Europe and has 38 million inhabitants who speak Polish.
Polish higher education is one of the four largest in number of enrolled students, due to the quality and tradition of universities. Therefore, several foreigners, including Brazilians, apply every year to study there.
In this article, we list some curiosities about Poland, one of the European Union countries with the most attractive cost of living to visit or study on an exchange program.
Most of Poland citizens follow a religion and the Catholic Church has a great influence on local customs and traditions. For example, it was thanks to the Catholic Church that the country passed a law prohibiting trade on Sundays.
One of the leading leaders of the Catholic Church in the past century, Pope John Paul II – born Karol Józef Wojtyla – was Polish. He was born in 1920 in the city of Wadowice, located about 30 miles from the city of Krakow.
Soups are really popular among the Poles, but one type in particular stands out: beet soup. To give you an idea, it is so popular you can buy this soup in vending machines, similar to coffee machines.
You can find this delicacy in nearly every restaurant in the city. Other typical dishes are pork stew and kartacze, a kind of ravioli stuffed with meat and mushrooms.
Over 30% of Poland’s territory is covered by forests and mushrooms grow there. It is no wonder that many typical dishes of the local cuisine use this ingredient. In addition to soups, pierogis – Polish pastries – are also very popular.
Pierogis can be filled with different ingredients, but it is likely that mushrooms will be found in almost all of them. So, if you like mushrooms, Poland is your place, given the wide variety offered in the country.
The Polish alphabet has 32 characters, being eight vowels and 24 consonants. In addition, the country is subdivided into five major dialect areas, corresponding to the historical and geographical regions of Greater Poland, Lesser Poland, Silesia and Cassubia.
As a curiosity, there are no articles in the Polish language. For this reason, the language is highly flexible and nouns, adjectives, pronouns, numerals and all classes of words can be declined in up to seven different cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative and vocative.
Poland is marked by diversified population distribution. The most populous city is the country’s capital, the city of Warsaw, that shelters 1.7 million inhabitants. The cities of Krakow and Lodz have about 750,000 inhabitants each.
Then come the cities of Wrocław, with 631,000 inhabitants, and Poznán, with 554,000 inhabitants. In addition to the Polish people – who make up 96% of the population – the country also has many Germans, Belarusians and Ukrainians.
Most of the courses offered at Polish universities are only available in Polish. However, for foreigners, there are options in German and English. Both languages are now considered the second most common languages in the country.
In the past, Russian was the country’s second official language, but that changed in the early 1990s. Today, it is less common to find Poles who are also fluent in Russian, especially among younger people.
See also: How to get Polish citizenship?
Several international entities see Poland as a hub for research and development investment in Europe. Multinational companies such as Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, LG Electronics, Microsoft, Motorola, Siemens and Samsung have created research and development centers in the country.
Much of this is due to the excellent Polish educational system. The International Student Assessment Program (PISA) ranks Poland among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of education. There are more than 500 university-level institutions there.
Poland is a country with a long-standing tradition of tolerance for minorities, whether religious, racial or national. Levels of gender equality in Poland are also among the highest.
A curiosity: Poland was the first country in the world to abolish corporal punishment in all its forms. Although it suffered during the Second World War, the country is now considered a peaceful territory and warmly welcomes its visitors.
With multiple cultural influences, Poland can be considered a living part of world history. Even after the Second World War, the country has risen and has preserved some century-old historic sites.
At the same time, the Poles invested in modernity and today the city of Warsaw, for example, can be considered one of the greatest cities in the world. Shopping malls and stores are present in large numbers and the exchange rate is very attractive for Brazilians.
Finally, Poland is known for having a busy nightlife in Europe and for offering good levels of security for visitors. This destination should be on your wish list for sure.
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