Academic Centre through centuries
Kraków has been known as a leading academic centre in Poland since the14th century. Although there is a great number of respectable universities in our country, it is Kraków that immediately evokes images of student comradery and professors strolling through the streets of Old Town. This centuries-long academic tradition goes hand in hand with modern approach to education and state-of-the-art technology. For instance, Ruczaj, one of the districts located on the outskirts of Kraków, is rapidly transforming into a thriving centre of student activity thanks to the 3rd Campus of the Jagiellonian University. The fact that most higher education institutions in the city are sited near one another allows for a very close cooperation—not only scientific, but also related to culture and leisure.
The Jagiellonian University is the oldest higher education institution in Poland and one of the oldest in Europe. It was founded on 12 May 1364 by the Polish king Casimir the Great. The Jubilee year 2014 marked the 650th anniversary of this remarkable event. Since its very beginning, the Jagiellonian University has been an international institution. Poles, Ruthenians, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Germans, Czechs, the Swiss, the English, the Dutch, the French, the Spanish, Italians, and even Tatars studied here in the old days.
Jagiellonian University today
Today, the Jagiellonian University comprises 16 Faculties, where nearly 4 thousand academic staff conduct research and provide education to over 40 thousand students, within the framework of more than 80 different fields of study. The eminent researchers and state-of-the-art infrastructure make the JU one of the leading Polish scientific institutions, collaborating with major academic centres from all over the world. The Jagiellonian University is also home to about 150 student societies, where young researchers pursue their academic interests and develop friendships with people who share their passion.
The most unique large-scale projects run by the Jagiellonian University include the Jagiellonian Centre for Experimental Therapeutics, Małopolska Centre for Biotechnology, Molecular Biotechnology for Health, OMICRON, and Synchrotron Radiation Centre “Solaris”.
The university's prestige in both Poland and abroad is illustrated by its widely recognised research achievements. The scientists and physicians from the JU Medical College carry out pioneer studies, e.g. in cardiac surgery, urology and neurology, often leading to the development of novel treatment methods. Their findings have been published in some of the most prestigious international journals, for instance European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine, and Lancet. JU archaeologists explore the secrets of ancient sites in various parts of the world, including Egypt, Cyprus, Central America, South Asia and Altay. The astronomers take part in the most important international projects in their field, including H.E.S.S. and VIPERS, whereas the results of research by JU biotechnologists have been published in such reputable specialist journals as Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Ecology Resources or European Journal of Human Genetics. These are only some examples of remarkable successes for which the Jagiellonian University has been famous in recent years. The current position of the JU is also reflected in the growing number of patent applications and the growing number of patents granted to its academic staff members—there were 8 applications and 2 patents in 2007 and as many as 60 applications and 11 patents in 2013. Unsurprisingly, the Jagiellonian University staff have been honoured with a number of prestigious distinctions and awards, including the elite awards of the Foundation for Polish Science (“Polish Nobel Prizes”) bestowed upon JU professors: Jan Woleński, Tomasz Guzik, and Jan Potempa during the years 2010–2013.
Live and learn in Kraków
Kraków's location is unique for several reasons. In addition to having all the benefits of a large city, including very well developed public transportation, easy access to hostels and student dormitories, and numerous shopping malls and restaurants, Kraków is also very close to the Tatra Mountains (with many ski resorts and trekking routes near Zakopane), beautiful national parks—Pieniny and Ojców, and Dunajec River Gorge, which offers some interesting rafting opportunities. Additionally, Kraków is not very far from other European capitals, such as Prague and Vienna, so weekend trips to neighbouring countries pose no problem to keen travellers. Kraków is also an important transport hub, with quick and comfortable bus, train and plane connections to other cities, both in Poland and abroad.
Vibrant job market
Because Kraków's universities train highly qualified specialists in all kinds of fields, it is not at all surprising that businesses are very frequently set up in the region. International investors establish branches of their corporations in the area to ensure the influx of trained specialists. This offers prospective students a multitude of opportunities to develop careers in their desired professions.
City of kings
Kraków is the historical capital of Poland, and as such, it is very deeply rooted in Polish tradition and culture. There is almost a tangible feel of history in the atmosphere of Kraków, while at the same time it is also very vivid and teeming with life. Galleries, museums, theatres, a philharmonic and an opera house—all these places offer unforgettable experiences to art aficionados. Small wonder that Kraków attracts thousands of tourists every year, regardless of season.
The meeting place
Despite its traditional nature, Kraków is not only about history. It is, first and foremost, a melting pot of diverse cultures, where people from all over the world meet to share their knowledge, experience, and friendship. Numerous clubs and pubs guarantee quality entertainment in a welcoming environment—be it in the open, spacious area of the Market Square, or mysterious, narrow alleyways of Kazimierz. Clubs are located close to one another, so hardened merrymakers may find themselves devoting entire evenings to exploring new places. Cultural, musical and film festivals, many of which are organised by students, also liven up the city.