Foreign students in love with Gdansk

You can meet them on the streets of the city more and more frequently. Young people talking in Swedish, English, and other foreign languages. It is easy to know they are not tourists. They have come to stay for a longer time. These are our foreign students who come to study at Gdansk universities. Their numbers grow every year. Especially popular among foreign students is the Medical University of Gdansk, which each year attracts more and more participants from abroad.

2016-08-19-1471608987-1824319-spotkaniezGabrielleKarpinskiv2J.Pinkas.jpg Meeting with Gabrielle Karpinski from USA, the best foreign student of the Medical University of Gdansk 2014. Photo: J. Pinkas

Why do they choose Gdansk? I make it a point to approach them and ask why they have chosen our city. Invariably they cite traditional Gdansk openness and hospitality among main reasons. They praise a great location of the city between the sea and the Kashubian forests and a wide range of cultural events available throughout the year (I wrote more about in this entry).

Currently we host in Gdansk approximately 2000 students from abroad. Most of them, approx. 800 people are the participants of a demanding, English-language medical program at the Medical University of Gdansk (a so-called English Division). What particularly pleases me is that this number has been growing steadily over the years. It shows increasing recognition for the quality of studies and the town itself. More than half of the students come from Sweden, but some come to us from such distant countries as the United States, Canada and Saudi Arabia. They receive their training in medicine, pharmacology, nutrition or nursing. Some stay for longer, developing their scientific career at the doctoral studies, some move on to graduate studies in Canada or the US.

2016-08-19-1471609048-3311673-studenciGUMinformacjaprasowa.jpg Students of GUM. Photo: courtesy of GUM Students appreciate GUM (Medical University of Gdansk) excellent position in the rankings of universities, a modern, upgraded and intense didactic base and a high level of clinical and academic instruction at one of the best Polish medical universities.

This recent "fad" to study in our city can be easily explained. Gdansk is a big port city, which for hundreds of years has been building its prosperity based on active contacts with the outside world. Our openness and hospitality mean that foreigners can quickly feel at home here and can easily integrate with the local community.

Classes at GUM are held in mixed groups, which helps in rapid integration and the establishment of friendships, often for life. In many cases, students returning to their home countries after graduation, recommend to their friends or family to take up learning in our city, not only because of the high level of education, but also the friendly atmosphere and the possibility of numerous non-scientific activities. There are active international student organizations at our universities, such as the fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon, ANSA, IFMSA, Swedish Medical Students Association Abroad or English Division Student Council. These associations, in addition to scientific activities, carry out a number of charitable and social enterprises, enriching the calendar of events in the city.

GUM is of course not the only Gdansk university chosen by foreign students. Close to 300 students from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and China study at the University of Gdansk. Gdansk University of Technology (Gdansk Polytechnic) is popular among Spaniards, 100 of whom are students there. There you can also meet, among others, Indians and Chinese.

With joy and satisfaction I observe how attractive Gdansk becomes in the eyes of foreign students. Until recently, Poland had not particularly enjoyed popularity as a studying destination. Today, it has become as attractive and viable as countries of the so-called "old" Europe. As a society we have come a long, hard way - and have been extensively modernizing our cities, investing in education and science, and raising the competitiveness of our economy. We have learned English. Today we can clearly see the fruits of this work - also in a growing number of foreign students coming to Gdansk.

And last minute news: an incoming foreign students picnic organized in forest retreat Wróblówka "Practical Guide for incoming students" 30 September 2016 (Friday) for four Gdansk universities. Fun!