My time as an exchange student in Wroclaw


What’s Wroclaw, and why Poland?

I had never thought I would go to live in Poland. I always figured I’d go on exchange, probably to Germany (since that’s where everyone seems to automatically head) or somewhere south to enjoy the sun. Not that there is anything wrong with places like Spain or Germany, on the contrary, I think they can both offer wonderful perspectives to our lives and studies in a Finnish university. But when I was browsing our rather large list of partner universities, I was immediately making a mental list of countries that were “too far from my comfort zone” and those I could see myself going to. And then there was Poland. I had never visited Poland, and it’s quite large, central and historically relevant European country. And I saw the name “Wroclaw University of Economics”. Never heard of it. So I googled a bit, and the city looked absolutely amazing. Bright, colorful houses and cobblestone streets, with a population of a bit over half a million. I was hooked. I went and asked our exchange coordinator and her immediate reaction was “We have a partner in Poland”. At that moment, any shreds of doubt were gone from my mind and I decided that I’d go to Wroclaw.

My (short) time in Lower Silesia

Lower Silesia is the region of which Wroclaw is the capital of. I had a problem an unfinished course and couldn’t head to Poland in the summer of 2019, but I got another chance in early 2020. The process was extremely easy. Our exchange coordinator couldn’t have been more helpful, and we got clear instructions from the office of international affairs from Wroclaw University of Economics, and they’d help with whatever I had problems with. I picked some necessary courses, and those I found interesting from a very large list of options (around 200 I think, 80 for just Erasmus students), sent in the necessary paperwork and that was that.  The school started in early March, so I had a small holiday before flying to Wroclaw. I stayed in a private apartment with 3 other students, and we got along extremely well. I stayed in the very center of the city, with the rent being comparable to an apartment in Valkeakoski. If you want something cheaper, student housing is extremely affordable and right next to the school. I just enjoy my walks, and the lovely city center.

My exchange was cut short by the Corona virus outbreak, but I thoroughly enjoyed my one month stay in Wroclaw. The campus was big and had a mix of older and more modern buildings. I liked all my courses, especially Polish which I very much recommend, and the teachers were friendly, professional and spoke in very good English. There was an orientation week, which I unfortunately missed, but the tutors and student were very active in organizing events and meetings almost daily for those who were interested. We even managed to start a small boardgame club, which got very popular. There were around 200 Erasmus students, from 2 different universities. We’d play games, meet in the city for food and drinks or shop together. All in all, a great, but too short, month of Wroclaw and Poland.

In summary

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed my time in Wroclaw. English was more than enough in day to day activities and the university itself, prices of literally everything were so much lower than in Finland it felt great to buy decent quality produce and still have money left over, and it was nice meeting people from such a varied selection of countries and continents. I would wholeheartedly recommend Wroclaw University of Economic for everyone.


Tapio Ikonen


Tapio Ikonen studies International Business at HAMK

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