SRAS programs in Warsaw are hosted at Collegium Civitas in the downtown area. For summer programs, housing is provided in a nearby hotel, with twin rooms and breakfast (substantial). For spring or fall programs, students find apartments with assistance from Collegium Civitas. See the individual programs linked above for more information. This page is meant to help students prepare for their time abroad.
Allie Schauer (Summer, 2019): For the first half of the summer, I stayed in a hotel with a roommate from the program in the city center. It was a pretty standard hotel: we had two beds, a kitchenette, couch and television, balcony, bathroom, and a closet for our clothes. The wifi was consistent and we had access to free washers and dryers on the first floor. Halfways through the summer, I moved to an apartment in the Mirów neighborhood with four different roommates from the program. In the apartment, I had my own room with a bed and closet and there’s a kitchenette, common area with a table (the common area also has two beds, so it was more of a bed room with a table in the middle), bathroom, and washing machine.
The hotel was extremely comfortable, close to the school, and surrounded by great restaurants. The apartment is in a more residential area, so it’s a couple minutes longer of a walk to grocery stores, restaurants, the school, and the tram station, but it’s still extremely manageable. It’s also much quieter at night, which is nice. There is also a park right behind the apartment with a gym set that is fun to workout on.
Callie Rades (Spring, 2016): I live in a room in a rented flat that I arranged myself and I have two flatmates. My study abroad program helped by sending me recommendations for classified ad sites and student Facebook groups which are really active. I’ll mention those below as well as discuss apartment hunting in Warsaw in more detail.
For my room, I’m paying about $280 per month, though this certainly isn’t the average. My particular flat is in the city center (15 minute walk to the Palace of Culture, where my classes are), and newly renovated in full, so I know I’m paying a bit higher than average for that. I know from other students that rooms and flats are usually cheaper, but they will be further away from the center, perhaps of lower quality, or in an older building.
From what I’ve seen on classified listings and Facebook groups like this one, this one, or this one, that the lowest prices are around $215-230 per month, usually for a flat about 20-30 minutes away by transit that vary in age and quality. The cost of a room as a roommate in an apartment is equal if not cheaper to rent than a single room in a dormitory.
While public transit here is generally reliable and well-connected, there are a few areas of the city that can be inconvenient to get to, which is what I heard about one of dormitories operated by Collegium Civitas and one reason I decided to go with a private apartment. Other students I met said that there were only one or two buses that would go from the center to the dorm’s location, and even then had really sparse arrival times. This situation is definitely rare for Warsaw and its transit, but it can happen.
Bills may or may not be included in the rent for a private apartment, but even if they aren’t, utilities prices are quite reasonable. The bills are divided between myself and two others, so my share of the internet bill for a 4 month period was about $20, and this internet service is extremely fast. Certainly can’t complain about $5 per month for internet. My share of the electricity bill for a 4 month period was $35.
Allie Schauer (Summer, 2019): I prepared a lot of my own meals in both the hotel and apartment. Grocery and convenience stores were close to both, so I could grab ingredients on my walk home from class or work every day. I ate out a handful of times each week; I tended to frequent the food trucks in front of the Palace of Science and Culture because they were close to class (my favorite was a Tibetan food truck that served spicy noodles with vegetables), but also enjoyed the milk bars and traditional Polish restaurants around the city. Breakfasts were provided at the hotel, which saved a lot of time and effort in the mornings.
About Apartment Hunting
Callie Rades (Spring, 2016): Hunting for the right apartment can be a painful process on its own. I had the added difficulty of searching for an apartment in Poland while I was in Kyrgyzstan studying and working. Back in August I must have sent a hundred different emails and inquiries about available rooms, and it worked out that a few owners were willing to arrange meetings and room viewings with me even though I was still in Bishkek.
I found my flat through gumtree.pl (the Polish Craigslist, basically), though the site is only in Polish, so it was only a matter of luck whether or not a listing had a small part of the description in English, or if the owner speaks English. So, on top of the normal issues like making sure the flat was in a good location and in my price range, I had to be sure that the owner spoke English (or perchance, Russian), was willing to set a meeting though I wasn’t in Warsaw, and was willing to let me rent for this irregular period of 10 months. After a month of stressful searching, it fortunately paid off and I was able to arrange a few meetings within 2 or 3 days after my arrival. Thankfully I was able to stay a few days with a friend who lives in Warsaw, and I used that time to view rooms and get oriented. This is the kind of method I would recommend for someone else coming to study here. Invest a lot of time into searching, set appointments for meetings before arrival, then find somewhere to stay for a few days while you look, be it a hostel, AirBnB, etc.
If you’re planning to study in Warsaw and looking for a room to rent, be sure to search for its location on Google Maps, and then search for directions to the Palace of Culture, where SRAS and CC have their classes. Google has a function that will search for approximate travel time by city transit. It’s good to know going in what your commute will be like.
Pictures of Residential Warsaw
Callie Rades (Spring, 2016):
Allie Schauer (Summer, 2019): In the hotel, the area with the kitchenette, couch, and television was pretty large, so we were able to have people over comfortably and often. It was also convenient to have everyone in one building. Social life was a little more difficult in the apartment because the common area was very small and the guys and girls lived in different complexes, but we still managed to get together often. Both locations were also convenient for going out and enjoying the Warsaw nightlife.
Laundry in the apartment was a little bit of an ordeal, but a funny one. There wasn’t a dryer or drying rack for clothes, and I didn’t want to buy a drying rack for just a couple of weeks. I ended up using the curtain rods in my room as drying racks, which was a little unorthodox but perfectly effective.