Intensive summer courses

Cultural programme

In what time of the day does the cultural programme take place?

These are mainly afternoons and evenings, from Monday to Friday. Weekends remain at the disposal of our students. 

Can other people/ friends, who don’t take part in a course, participate in the cultural programme?

Yes, of course. Everyone is invited to our integration parties, bike trips and karaoke.

If I take part in more than one course, will the cultural programme be repeated?

Some elements of the programme will be repeated (for example, guided tours around the Old Town). But we always try to diversify the cultural programme, adding new elements to each course and adapting the programme to current events in Kraków. We want people who come to us again or book more than one course not to complain about boredom and have the opportunity to gain as much new information about Kraków and Polish culture as possible.

Is it worth taking a cultural programme?

If you are coming to Kraków for the first time - definitely yes. You will discover with us the city, its history and mysteries, you will visit interesting museums, galleries and exhibitions as well as you will find places known only to the inner circle...

The cultural programme means also Polish culture, the opportunity to participate in cultural workshops during which you will discover the flavours of Polish cuisine, learn Polish songs and find out more about the Poles themselves.

All the attractions prepared for you are a great opportunity to make friends with other students from the course. Trips, social events and get- togethers in Kraków's pubs will surely bring unforgettable moments also to those who already know our city.

During the meetings together, we try to speak Polish as much as possible. Natural and playful atmosphere during those events facilitates relaxed conversations in Polish.

What language is used during the cultural programme?

The majority of the activities during the cultural programme are done in Polish (slang and pronunciation workshops, culinary workshops or a location-based game). 
Some lectures (a trip through Poland) and guided tours through Kraków are in English; however, a  teacher or a guide translates the most important information into Polish.
During our evening integration meetings in relaxed atmosphere, we can choose the language to speak in :) Polish, English, Spanish, Russian, Finnish… 

Is it possible to travel during the course?

Classes are held from Monday to Friday. Weekends are at your disposal and they are ideal for short trips.
If you would like to visit Wieliczka, Zakopane, Oświęcim, Częstochowa on your own or in the company of other students from the course, we will gladly help you organise your trip. We will inform you about various ways of getting there, opening hours of museums and we will suggest places worth seeing. The costs of these trips are not included in the price of the course and are covered by students.

Does the school provide tourist information?

Yes. We are happy to help you organise your free time: we will suggest places worth seeing in Kraków and shops which are worth a visit. Also, we will give you a hint about the places which serve the best meals and the best drinks. We can also recommend a good cinema and good Polish films, print the bus schedule to Zakopane and, when you need it, we can help you communicate with the railway information office... ;)

All of our students will also receive guides about the best restaurants, museums, discos which are specially written by us.


How far from the school will I live?

Using public transportation, it will take you max. 15-20 minutes to get to the school. Most of our apartments are located close to our school and close to the city centre.

Is there a night public transport and is it safe to come back home at night?

Yes, Kraków is a safe city and even at night you can travel without fear. Of course, there is night public transport, but the buses and trams run much less frequently at night and it is also more difficult to get to all the places. It is worth checking the timetable in advance in order to avoid unnecessary surprises. Alternatively, you can always order a taxi home. The cost of a taxi at night is about 20 PLN (up to 5 km).


Will I have the possibility to do the laundry?

Not all of the apartments which we offer have a washing machine. There is always a possibility to use the laundry service. There are a few laundry services in Kraków. One laundry costs around 15 zł.

What form of accommodation should I choose?

When living with a Polish family you have the opportunity to "spy Poland from the inside" :) - to see how the Poles live, what they eat for Sunday dinner, how they welcome guests...

Those who host our students sometimes do not know other languages, which can also be very useful in everyday practical exercises on the Polish language.

We recommend accommodation with a family especially to those students who value peaceful, home-like atmosphere, may feel insecure in a city they do not know and want to devote as much time to learning Polish as possible.

On the other hand, living with other students from your course has a lot of advantages as well. It is definitely a great opportunity to make new friends and learn about other cultures. Students living together often eat out together and prepare meals in their apartment, they help each other do their Polish language homework and return together from their night conquests of the city. Young and independent students will certainly be fond of freedom and loose atmosphere in the apartment.

There is also a possibility to rent a 2-rooms apartment, with modern furniture, in new buildings on Wrocławska and Prądnicka streets. They are located about 1 km from the city centre (you can get to Varia in 20 minutes walking). Especially recommended for the ones who value their independence, comfort and proximity of the Main Square.

Will the person with whom I will share a room be of the same age?

Most likely, yes, unless there are no other students of your age on your course.
We accommodate our students according to their gender (has be the same :)), age (has be similar) and the country they come from (has to be other than yours so you can speak Polish).

We also try to take into consideration all your requests and suggestions about accommodation which you write in the comments section of the application form (for example, allergies or health problems).


Is it safe in Kraków?

Certainly. Kraków is a very hospitable city, both locals and tourists feel safe here. It is a city of students who like to have fun :). At night, the city centre is often as crowded as during the day. Street wardens and police maintain order and safety. 

However, we advise caution in places full of people (bars, department stores, trams) - as in any major city, pick-pocketers are also in Kraków.


Where can I use the Internet and send emails?

There are plenty of Internet cafés in Kraków. You will find them both on the Main Market Square and in districts away from the city centre. Their price lists are similar: on average, you will need to pay 2 to 4 PLN per hour.

Also, you can use the free wireless Internet at our school as well as in many places in the city (on the Main Market Square as well as in many pubs and cafés ...).

Polish course

What is the method used for teaching Polish at Varia?

The teaching is mainly based on a communicative method. It means that we put the main emphasis on communicative skills in various life situations.Exercises reflect real-life communication. That is why there is a variety of dialogues, discussions in pairs and small groups and games in class. During the classes we use only Polish, regardless of the language level of a group. 

How can I pay for the course?

You can pay for the course in two ways: by bank transfer (to the PLN account or EUR account) or in cash at the school.

It is required to pay the deposit in advance (550 PLN / 140 EUR) as this is the the confirmation of your enrolment in the course. The remaining amount can be paid on-site, at the school office.

Bank details:

VARIA s.c.-Centrum Jezyka Polskiego. Katarzyna Hoffmann, Aneta Kawa
ul. Michalowskiego 2/3
31-126 Krakow
Bank account in EURO:
Name of the bank: BRE Bank S.A. Dzial Bankowosci Detalicznej
Address of the bank: ul. Pilsudskiego 3, 90-368 Lodz
Account number/IBAN:PL70 1140 2017 0000 4012 0038 5708
Bank account in PLN:
Name of the bank: BRE Bank S.A. Dzial Bankowosci Detalicznej
Address of the bank: ul. Pilsudskiego 3, 90-368 Lodz
Account number/IBAN: PL 51 1140 2017 0000 4102 0546 3403

Which countries do your students come from?

We have students from all over the world :)! Course participants from over 80 countries were our guests. Most visitors come from Europe and from countries neighbouring Poland, but increasingly often also from other continents and sometimes even from very remote corners of the world.

What time do classes take place?

Classes always begin in the morning (most often between 09.00 - 11.00), and usually end by 2 pm. Afternoon and evening hours are intended for the cultural programme.

How much can I learn in two weeks?

The intensiveness of the course, systematic repetitions and friendly atmosphere in class create optimum conditions for effective learning of Polish. The course programme is designed so that students could easily make use of the learnt vocabulary and grammatical structures in a variety of everyday situations. You will surely be surprised how much you can learn even in such a short time.

Is it possible to enrol in a three-week course (or a longer one)?

You can freely customise the intensive course to your needs and the amount of time you have. You can take part in a 1 -, 2 -, 3 -, ...10-week course.

How old are people coming to your courses?

Our courses are designed for adults (16+). They are attended by people of all ages: secondary school students, university students, working people and retirees. The average age is 25-35 years.

What is the language level required to be communicative in Poland?

It depends if you want to understand simple situations, for example while shopping, ordering dinner, asking for directions, or if you wish to talk about abstract topics and use advanced dialogues.

Simple communication is possible even on A2 level, while B1 is the level which makes it possible to speak freely during most of the typical tourist situations.

Does the school offer courses at different language levels?

We teach students at all language levels, from beginner to advanced. The students who have already had contact with the Polish language take a placement test at the beginning of the course. On the basis of the placement test results and an interview with one of our Polish teachers we assign students to appropriate groups. In determining the level of language proficiency we use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which complies with the recommendations of the Council of Europe.

How many lessons are there per day?

The intensive course includes 40 class periods, which means that every day there are 4 classes (4 x 45 min. + one 15 min. break). Only if the group consists of 3 or fewer students, the course includes 30 lessons, that is 3 lessons each day. If students' lesson plans allow it, it is also possible for students to watch lessons of other groups of a similar level.

On the first day of the course (Monday) beginners start their classes. Other students write a placement test and have a conversation with a teacher. Those who write the test start their classes the next day. 

Will I get a certificate of course completion? Is it recognised by universities?

Every student who passed the final test and attended the classes will receive the certificate of course completion. The certificate provides the following information: type of course, course duration, course language level and number of lessons.

The certificate issued by our centre is not an official document, however, it is recognised by the majority of universities and companies as the document confirming the command of the Polish language at a particular level. Information on state certificate examinations in Polish as a foreign language can be found here.

Is it possible to combine individual lessons with a group course?

Of course. You can always book individual lessons at any time during your group course. The sooner you decide and inform us about it, the easier it will be to organise individual lessons according to your expectations.

How can I enrol in the course?

The quickest way is to fill in the application form which is available on our website. You can also enrol in our school office. When you book your place on the course, please pay a deposit of 400 PLN/100euro - it is a confirmation of your participation in the course.

What is the typical size of the class?

The typical size of the class is from 5 to 10 course participants.

Why do students learn Polish? What are the most common reasons?

There are as many reasons to learn the Polish language as there are students. Frequently our students learn Polish "out of love" to their wives or husbands from Poland, to their mothers-in-law, girlfriends, Polish cuisine... :) Many students come from Polish-American families and want to learn the language of their parents or grandparents.

Also, those who want to study in Poland or who work in international companies come to us more and more often.

What is the deadline for enrolling in the course?

Intensive courses are very popular and usually a month before the beginning of these courses all places are already booked. Therefore, we recommend that you do not postpone your decision and apply as soon as possible. Of course, if we still have free places you can enrol in the course even on its starting day.

If you need a visa to enter Poland, you will have to take into account the extra time needed to issue the visa.

Are there any age limits for students enrolling in the course?

Of course, there are no upper age limits. Intensive courses are for adults, that is for those aged 16 or more. In exceptional circumstances, with the written consent of a student's guardian, we also welcome younger people. Children are usually offered private lessons, or, whenever there is a sufficient number of children willing to learn Polish, we create groups.

I already speak very good Polish. Can I still learn something new?

Of course. You can always expand your vocabulary with new synonyms, idioms and collocations. The class will cover topics suitable to your language level. You will have the opportunity to discuss literature, culture as well as socio-political and scientific issues. They are a challenge even for those with very good knowledge of Polish.

I do not know what my language level is. How can I find it out?

We always check the language level of our students on the first day of the course (Monday). Students will write a placement test (about 60 min.) and they have an interview with the teacher. In the evening, at a welcome party, we give information on the test results, the language level of every student and the group to which each of them has been assigned. The beginners start the course immediately after the greeting and presentation of the programme (on Monday).

In determining the level of language proficiency we use the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which complies with the recommendations of the Council of Europe.

What is the language of tuition?

During lessons we speak and teach using only Polish. Our students come from various parts of the world and the Polish language is often the only "common" language of all students. The communicative method of teaching motivates course participants not only to speak but also to think in a language other than their mother tongue.

All staff members of the Varia School also speak English, which facilitates after-class communication.

Does the school offer discounts for groups?

Yes. We offer special discounts for groups of at least five people. We can also prepare a special offer, tailored to the individual needs of your group. For more information, please contact the school office.

Are learning materials included in the price?

Yes. All learning materials used during lessons are included in the price.

Will I get a certificate of course completion? Is it recognised by universities?

Every student who passed the final test and attended the classes will receive the certificate of course completion. The certificate provides the following information: type of course, course duration, course language level and number of lessons.

The certificate issued by our centre is not an official document, however, it is recognised by the majority of universities and companies as the document confirming the command of the Polish language at a particular level. Information on state certificate examinations in Polish as a foreign language can be found here.

If I resign from taking part in the course, will I get a refund of the amount paid?

If after enrolling in a course you cannot take part in it, the deposit you paid will not be refunded. If you paid the full price of the course, you will get your payment back reduced by the value of the deposit and bank transfer fees.

If you inform us about your resignation from taking part in the course by two weeks before the course starts, there is a possibility to take part in a later course or to suggest another person who will participate in the course instead of you. In such a situation you will not have to cover any costs associated with the cancellation of your participation.

Other questions

Which documents do I need while crossing the Polish border?

An ID card or a passport are sufficient documents to cross the Polish border for residents of the EU member states. The residents of other countries mostly need to have a visa.

How much do I have to pay for a dinner?

For example:

pierogi ruskie (dumplings with traditional filling made of cottage cheese, onion and ...): 13 PLN
kotlet schabowy z frytkami: (kotlet in crunchy layer with fries): 20 PLN
bigos (traditional Polish dish made of, among others, cabbage, mushrooms, meat): 13 PLN
kebab: 13 PLN
pizza margherita: 19 PLN

beer 0,5: 7 PLN
orange juice: 5 PLN
tea: 5 PLN
coffee: 7 PLN

More info:

Can I pay with euro in Poland?

Unfortunately no. Poland's official currency is złoty (zł or PLN), 1 złoty is 100 groszy.

1 PLN = ~0,22 €

You can exchange money in banks, most larger hotels and bureaus de change. You will find the best exchange rate in the city centre, but not at the railway station. Most shops accept credit cards. You can cash traveller's cheques in larger banks in general, however, cheques are not very popular here.

Which phone numbers and adresses do I need to know?

Poland dialing code: +48 (0048)
Kraków dialing code: 12 (eg. +48 12 422 60 91)

Tourist Information: ul. Pawia 8, tel. 12 422 60 91
Cultural Information Center: Św. Jana 2, tel. 12 354 27 25
PTTK: Ul. Westerplatte 5, tel. 12 422 99 53 , 512 398 880
997 Police
99 Ambulance
998 Fire brigade
986 City guards
112 Emergency number (to dial from mobile telephones)

Medical information: +48 12 661 22 40

Road assistance:
- Auto Hol PEK: +48 12 658 00 33, +48 501 187 877, +48 509 331 332, +48 602 298 791         
- Road assistance Jerzy Piasecki: +48 501 069 357, +48 501 449 291, +48 12 658 00 33      
- Auto Hol: +48 601 510 381
- Road assistance Andrzej Papież: +48 12 657 95 78, +48 601 53 43 33, +48 600 95 00 94 

How to get to Kraków?

By train or by bus:
The Main Railway Station and the Main Bus Station are situated next to each other in the city centre.  At the stations there are also stops for private bus lines to Wieliczka, Oświęcim, Zakopane, Częstochowa, Pieskowa Skała and other places.

By plane:
You can also fly to Kraków with one of the cheap airlines, but to do so you should book your ticket as early as possible.
The International Airport Kraków-Balice is about 15 km from Kraków. You can get to the city centre by taxi or by bus.

By bus: With the busses: 208, 292 (Airport - Nowy Kleparz, Krakow Main Station, Rondo Mogilskie), night bus 902 (Airport - Krakow Main Station), Travel time: 35 min.

If you want to take a taxi from the airport, it would be best to call one of the taxi corporations. When using your mobile phone, first dial +4812 (dialling code). 

      Ikar (the cheapest one) 653 55 55
      Mega 19625
      Ekspres Taxi 9629
      Lajkonik 267 35 35
      Barbakan Taxi 9661

A taxi from the airport to the city centre costs about 70 zl (20 €).

By car:
When driving from the western border, the most convenient way to get to Kraków is the A4 toll motorway.
The city centre has three parking zones (A, B, and C). The A and B zones are only available for the local residents or holders of special permits. If you want to get near the centre by car, find a public car park (in zone C) or a manned car park and leave your car there. You can buy a parking ticket for zone C from special car park machines called "parkomaty", which can be found in parking areas (1h costs 3 PLN)

Public transport - MPK:
You can buy tram and bus tickets at any newsagent's and shop with the label "Sprzedaż biletów MPK" (public transport tickets available here), from ticket machines at bus/tram stops or from the tram/bus driver.
Important: only students with valid Euro 26 card or ISIC Card are entitled to discounts on public transportation.

What will happen if I get sick during the course?

In case of illness you can seek medical advice which is part of the medical insurance you need to purchase in advance. Of course, we will help you find the right specialist and we will arrange a medical appointment for you.

Does the school help in obtaining visas to Poland?

In all visa matters, please turn to one of the Polish diplomatic offices whose addresses are provided on the website of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For the students who enrolled in the Polish language course the school issues documents confirming their enrolment and payment for the course. These documents usually help in obtaining visas.
We do not issue invitations.