Cracow University of Economics -- Experiences and Feelings

Source: Xunliang Ye Contributor: Xunliang Ye Image: Xunliang Ye Design: International Office

It was my honor to participate in Erasmus+ program, a five-month-long exchange program at Cracow University of Economics in Krakow, Poland. Thanks to my home university and my college for giving me this opportunity to study abroad. Krakow is an old city in Poland, a city which is full of cultural and artistic atmosphere, was also named one of the most safe European cities, five-month study and life in Poland left a deep impression on me.


Before going abroad, I deeply felt the difficulty of application for the exchange, complicated process for applying for visa, and also was surprised by the scholarship I got. When I came to this new city, I faced with many unexpected difficulties, in addition to language barriers, differences in teaching methods, new lifestyle, diet, climate and many other issues also made me confused. After one month I finally adapted in studying and living in Poland, and began to explore different European culture.

Cracow University of Economics (UEK , Akademia Ekonomiczna w Krakowie in Polish) was founded in 1925 as the largest economic university in Poland and the largest university in the city of Krakow. It was also the first university which had English courses in Poland. At present, it has been established close relations of cooperation with more than 200 foreign universities, including Asia, Europe and parts of Universities in USA.

The Erasmus + program this time had totally 217 international exchange students from 40 countries all over the world, and I was the only one Asian boy there, so I can make a lot of foreign friends. When I came to the university, I understood Erasmus + program much more, I can see posters of Introduction everywhere. This program is very famous in Europe, the selected exchange students in European countries are also very brilliant. It incorporates many international elements into this program, and provides opportunities for exchange students who want to expand their horizons.


I had eight courses in Poland, including seven compulsory courses, one Polish elective course, with totally 29 credits. Among them, I had learned International marketing and Introduction to management which I took in my home university, the content is basically same, but I can deeply felt differences in teaching method between China and Poland. I had learned more different cultures of many countries and further strengthened the framework of my knowledge in marketing.


Five-month exchange experiences improved my level of English a lot, especially listening and speaking. There were a lot of presentations and teamwork in UEK, so in this process I had many opportunities to talk with other foreign students and discussed with other team members. During the first days when I came to Poland, it was not easy for me to speak English very well, I was afraid of speaking wrongly, but after a long time I found I could talk to others fluently, I had corrected my faults in English grammar, and gradually improved my English.

In addition, if you just want to pass the exam or get high marks in foreign courses, you have to study hard. In China, I always studied hard in the last month or the last few weeks of semester before the final exams. But in Poland, there are a lot of lectures and teamwork, so everyone must join in the group, to provide useful information and participate in the discussion, teachers focus more on  performance of students in class and their open questions, the final exam is only a small test at the end of the semester. The final exams of some courses are presentations or teamwork of a case study, which made me learn a lot.


I always thought that study is important , but life experiences for me are more important. If you just want to get high marks, to a certain extent, you will lose the meaning of studying abroad. Since the choice of overseas exchanges, you should enjoy life experiences in foreign countries, to make some foreign friends. My roommate is from Ukraine who had already got the US Green Card, he could speak English very well, and also was very warm-hearted. We quickly became the best friend there, we studied together, shopped together, and participated in the party together, what’s more, we had an appoint that we would go to each other’s country in the future.


In order to save the cost of living, I spent more time to cook by myself. At first, I asked my parents and searched on the Internet how to cook, also asked other friends who are good at cooking to teach me, so I have improved my cooking skills quickly and learned how to cook western foods. In my opinion, western foods are mostly made with frying, baking, boiling, comparing with Chinese foods, they are more simple, every time I spent much time to cook, my friends and roommate love the dishes very much. I have learned how to cook and did it very well, which I think is one of the biggest gains while exchanging abroad.

There are many places for free communication among students and teachers, which is similar to “Coffee Tree” in my home university, there are also some places for students to have chats, discussion, which has an excellent atmosphere. The hall corner on first floor of Main Building also provides students an opportunity to use tables and chairs. Secondly, students are the protagonist of the university, there is a sport building which is especially designed for student organizations, societies, sports venues etc. Their library is in a minimalistic style, but according to the reports, many of the academic information there updates very fast, especially in economics, sociology and other some financial subjects, deeply affected scholars’ love. And the basic facilities of the campus are humanized, there is not only a special disabled elevator, but also a Braille on the library door.

I have traveled Poland and some other European places, with a total of 13 countries (20 cities) in Europe. In Denmark and Sweden I felt the Nordic scenery of beauty. In Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland I saw the cruelty of World War II. In Germany I saw the church's gorgeous and great style. In France I saw fashion capital of the romantic. In Austria and Switzerland I enjoyed the beauty of lakes and mountains. In Italy and Spain I felt the charm of architecture there and really good football culture.



I didn’t need be hurry to find a job in these five months, in addition to enjoying classes and travel, I had more time to think about my own life, I planned to continue my master degree. Everyone should have his own unique way of life, we don’t need to follow others. Whether you choose study or work, the most important thing is, to be yourself. Thanks to my university again for providing me with such a great opportunity, so that I can experience a new life, have different feelings and improve my knowledge of Cracow’s history, architecture and culture, as well as the knowledge about Poland culture and Krakow University of Economics.