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Poland
Geography
Culture
Health
Information about health insurance
Information about telephone
Communication
Food
Shopping
Recreation and Entertainment
Important Testing Agencies and Organizations
Safety and Security

 Poland

 Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north. The total area of Poland is 312,679 square kilometres (120,726 sq mi) making it the 69th largest country in the world and the 9th largest in Europe. Poland has a population of over 38 million people,which makes it the 34th most populous country in the worldand the sixth most populous member of the European Union, being its most populous post-communist member.

The establishment of a Polish state is often identified with the adoption of Christianity by its ruler Mieszko I in 966, when the state covered territory similar to that of present-day Poland. The Kingdom of Poland was formed in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented a long association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin, forming the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth collapsed in 1795, and Poland's territory was partitioned among the Kingdom of Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria. Poland regained its independence as the Second Polish Republic in 1918, but two decades later in September 1939 it was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, triggering World War II. Poland lost over six million citizens in the war and emerged several years later within the Soviet sphere of influence as the People's Republic of Poland.

During the Revolutions of 1989, communist rule was overthrown and soon after Poland became what is constitutionally known as the "Third Polish Republic." Poland is a unitary state made up of sixteen voivodeships (Polish: Województwo). Poland is a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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 Geography

 Poland's territory extends across several geographical regions. In the northwest is the Baltic seacoast, which extends from the Bay of Pomerania to the Gulf of Gdansk. This coast is marked by several spits, coastal lakes (former bays that have been cut off from the sea), and dunes. The largely straight coastline is indented by the Szczecin Lagoon, the Bay of Puck, and the Vistula Lagoon. The center and parts of the north lie within the North European Plain.

Rising gently above these lowlands is a geographical region comprising the four hilly districts of moraines and moraine-dammed lakes formed during and after the Pleistocene ice age. These lake districts are the Pomeranian Lake District, the Greater Polish Lake District, the Kashubian Lake District, and the Masurian Lake District. The Masurian Lake District is the largest of the four and covers much of northeastern Poland. The lake districts form part of the Baltic Ridge, a series of moraine belts along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea.

South of the Northern European Lowlands lie the regions of Silesia and Masovia, which are marked by broad ice-age river valleys. Farther south lies the Polish mountain region, including the Sudetes, the Cracow-Czestochowa Upland, the Swietokrzyskie Mountains, and the Carpathian Mountains, including the Beskids. The highest part of the Carpathians is the Tatra Mountains, along Poland's southern border.

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 Culture

 The culture of Poland is closely connected with its intricate 1000 year history[105] Its unique character developed as a result of its geography at the confluence of Western and Eastern Europe. With origins in the culture of the Proto-Slavs, over time Polish culture has been profoundly influenced by its interweaving ties with the Germanic, Latinate and Byzantine worlds as well as in continual dialog with the many other ethnic groups and minorities living in Poland.[106] The people of Poland have traditionally been seen as hospitable to artists from abroad and eager to follow cultural and artistic trends popular in other countries. In the 19th and 20th centuries the Polish focus on cultural advancement often took precedence over political and economic activity. These factors have contributed to the versatile nature of Polish art, with all its complex nuances.

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 Health

 Poland's healthcare system is based on an all-inclusive insurance system. State subsidised healthcare is available to all Polish citizens who are covered by this general health insurance program. However, it is not compulsory to be treated in a state-run hospital as a number of private medical complexes do exist nationwide.
All medical service providers and hospitals in Poland are subordinate to the
Polish Ministry of Health, which provides oversight and scrutiny of general medical practice as well as being responsible for the day to day administration of the healthcare system. In addition to these roles, the ministry is also tasked with the maintenance of standards of hygiene and patient-care.
Hospitals in Poland are organised according to the regional administrative structure, resultantly most towns have their own hospital
(Szpital Miejski). Larger and more specialised medical complexes tend only to be found in major cities, with some even more specialised units located only in the capital, Warsaw. However, all voivodeships have their own general hospital (most have more than one), all of which are obliged to have a trauma centre; these types of hospital, which are able to deal with almost all medical problems are called 'regional hospitals' (Szpital Wojewódzki). The last category of hospital in Poland is that of specialised medical centres, an example of which would be the Sk?odowska-Curie Institute of Oncology, Poland's leading, and most highly specialised centre for the research and treatment of cancer.
The Polish heal-care industry is currently undergoing a major transformation, with many hospitals being listed as top priorities for refurbishment.As a result of this process, many hospitals have already been thoroughly modernised throughout and are now equipped with the latest in medical hardware. The overall quality of healthcare provision nationwide, as judged by European standards, is generally regarded as being very high.This is reflected in the nation's average life expectancy, which at 71 for males and 80 for females,has shown a marked increase from 63/68 in 2003, and now corresponds with the average figures for life expectancy in the European Union.

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 Information about health insurance

 The representative from the Polish National Health Funds (NFZ) should have provided information on getting health insurance in Poland at orientation. Health Insurance is free if you have Polish citizenship.  You will need to have a PESEL number, which can be found in your passport, to apply.  If you do not have a PESEL in your passport you can apply for one. Please note that the application process can take up to 4 weeks, so do not wait with applying.
If you do not have Polish citizenship, you can still be insured under NFZ or private insurance company for a fee, which was around 40zl/month. Make sure to also set aside enough time for the application process for your health insurance.
Note: You can also insure yourself in your home country, but make sure that the plan covers emergencies abroad. However, for resident card purpose, we strongly recommend you buy the insurance in Poland.

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  Information about telephone

 In Poznan, the telephone in your dorm room provides free calls to other dorm telephones in Medyk, Aspirynka, and Eskulap. You are also able to receive incoming calls on your room phone without paying the setup fee. If you wish to place calls to phones outside the dorm, contact the management for further information. Most students, however, find it more convenient to get a cell phone.
If you do get a cell phone and are a Polish citizen you can get ‘abonament’ (plan). The cell phone itself will be much cheaper but most require you sign a 1-3 year contract with the company from which you purchased your phone.  
Most students find it is more convenient to use Pay-As-You-Go. With this option you must buy a phone (starting at about 150zl), SIM card, and phone credit which you must add to regularly to ensure that you get to keep that phone number. There are 3 main cell phone service providers in Poland: Orange, Plus GSM, and Era GSM. SIM cards are available at any newspaper stands; simply ask for “zestaw startowy” and specify which service provider you want to go with.
If you decide to bring a cell phone from home, be sure it is a GSM phone, which has a SIM card, and not a CDMA phone. The type of phone you are using depends on your provider, so check with them if you are unsure. Finally, the phone itself must be 'unlocked' so that you can use other SIM cards here, which is necessary to avoid international roaming charges.
Calling from a cell phone to a landline (and vice versa) is also more expensive than landline-to-landline or cellular-to-cellular. Please note that Poland uses 10-digit phone numbers.  All phone numbers within Pozna? start with 061 or 051 (or just 61 or 51 if calling from a cell phone).Lublin start with 081(or just 81 if calling from a cell phone).
You may also wish to invest in a headset with microphone so that you can use Skype, which can be downloaded for free from
http://www.skype.com/ to communicate with your family and friends internationally. This popular option is free, as long as both parties are using Skype, although it is also possible to use the paid features which allow for very inexpensive international calls.
NOTE:  While pay phones are generally available in Poland you will need a special phone card to use them. PHONE CARDS (including the chip variety used at Medyk) are best purchased at the post office! They also have good deals on international phone cards called TelePin.

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  Communication

POST OFFICE
In Poznzn, the closest Post Office is on Bukowska Street (just west of the intersection with Polna). There is also small post office in a small courtyard off Grunwaldzka Street on the left as you walk to Coll. Anatomicum.
24 HOUR post offices are located on a Kosciuszki Street opposite the Castle on ?w. Marcin.  Another 24 hour one is right next to the PKP train station.
The closest post office is on Obywatelska street 10. It's located in a block of flats. the entrance is located on the lower east side of the building and the building itself opposite to ING bank. It's open Mon-Fri 8-19 (except for public holidays).
The main post office building is located opposite to Lithuanian Square (Krakowskie Przedmie?cie 50) it's a big building just adjacent to McDonalds, can't miss it. It's open 24
For students who live in different areas please consult
http://www.poczta-polska.pl/mapapp/  (just dont forget to type "Lublin" to search them)
INTERNET
In Poznan, we have free Internet in the dorm rooms and a computer lab on the ground floor in Medyk. There are also several Internet cafés in the area. One can be found on ?w.Marcin Street close to Ratajczaka Street and another can be found
in Stary Browar. For wireless internet you will have to bring your own router unless you want to talk to your neighbors about sharing. You can also purchase a router at one of the local electronics stores.
In Lublin, school also provide free Internet in the old dorms. But if you live in Prusa, you should apply the internet with local internet company. (Each unit only equipped with 512KB) Usually, there are special projects for students. For wireless internet you will have to bring your own router or share with your roommate. You can also purchase a router at one of the local internet company or electronics stores.
NOTE: Any illegal or excessive (P2P programs like Kazza or Emule) use of internet in the dorms (which is very difficult due to the firewall on the campus network) might result in suspension of your Internet access.

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Food

There are many really nice restaurants in Pozna? and Lublin. Below, you’ll find URLs to webpages with addresses to restaurants, and some restaurant reviews. http://www.inyourpocket.com/poland/poznan/en/category?chid=142
Missing a few, but a good selection is available.  Brief reviews and price range information. http://www.poznan.pl/mim/public/turystyka/class.html?id_klasy=3331&typ=m&id_cz=6117&lang=en Listing of restaurants, no reviews.
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g274818-Lublin_Eastern_Poland.html
Practical information about travelling and accommodation in Lublin
http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Poland/Wojewodztwo_Lubelskie/Lublin-486892/Restaurants-Lublin-BR-1.html
Real traveler write about their comments about restaurant in Lublin

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Shopping

First of all, be aware that each pharmacy (Apteka) is completely independent from any other store, including ‘drugstores’.  Furthermore, each pharmacy is its own company, so you will often find price differences between them.  Make sure to check expiry dates on medication you buy – if it’s much cheaper than other places you looked, it may be expiring soon.
The following is a short list of places to shop.  There are other malls and markets you can visit.

POZNAN
PIOTR & PAWE?  Popular supermarket that has a nice selection and the convenience of having multiple locations across the city.  The closest one is behind the Eskulap.  
STARY BROWAR      One of the biggest and nicest malls in Pozna?. You can find almost anything in here! On the top floor there is a sports store and an electronics store. In the basement there is a Piotr & Pawe? grocery store. There is also a new addition which has a high end grocery store (Alma) and a North American imported goods store. Stary Browar also includes a number of restaurants as well as a movie theater: Multikino (located on the top floor)
How to get therehttp://www.starybrowar5050.com/

Take tram 6 from Grunwaldzka Street and get off by the Multikino
KING CROSS MARCELIN (Real grocery store and mall)
Many great stores (sports, electronics and other) here worth visiting for weekend shopping.
How to get there www.poznan.m1-centrum.pl/
Take bus 77, 78 or 59 from Bukowska Street towards ?awica Airport
M1 and IKEA Probably the biggest mall in Pozna?, which is conveniently right next to Ikea- a home furnishing store. Ikea is a little expensive, though when it comes to bedding and kitchenware it also has the greatest selection. In the mall one can find clothing, shoe and accessory stores. M1(Reali) How to get there....http://www.ikea.com/pl/pl/store/poznan/storeInfo
Suggest you take by taxi with friends to share the fee.

Medicalbooks.pl Located on Grunwaldzka Street they sell original textbooks for your classes. Visit them online at http://www.medicalbooks.pl/  The bookstore is within easy walking distance, about seven minutes from Eskulap at 17 Grunwaldzka Street. Ask them about their Freshmen Book package.
EMPIK While Empik stores can be found all over Poland, it's always the megastore of each city that holds the best collection of books, magazines, CDs, films, software, and computer accessories, and the Empik Megastore of Poznan is no exception. In addition, the store is housed in a historic building right on Plac Wolnosci. The bookstore also has a cafe for meeting friends or sitting down with a book or two.
How to get there...

http://www.poznan-life.com/shop/shops_details/112-Empik_Megastore
The easiest is to take Tram 1 from Dabrowskiego and ride it all the way down to Fredry, and from there continue toward Stary Rynek on 27 Grudnia Street. Another way is to take Bus 63,69 or 78 to Most Teatralny and simply walk down the street.
POZNAN PLAZA The newest shopping-entertainment center in Poznan. There are many great stores here, as well as a new Imax theater and Cineplex movies.
 How to get therehttp://www.poznanplaza.pl/go.live.php
Take trams 12, 14 or 15 from Rondo Kaponiera toward Os. Sobieskiego
You may also wish to check out
http://www.city.poznan.pl/mim/strony/turystyka/?lang=en.

This site gives you comprehensive information about Poznan itself, travel within the city.
Note: On weekdays the big supermarkets and malls (Tesco, IKEA, M1, Piotr i Pawe?, etc.) tend to be open until 10 p.m.   Almost everything but the big malls and supermarkets are CLOSED on SUNDAY!

Lublin
New shopping centres built in Lublin are Lublin Plaza and Galeria Gala, the largest shopping centre in the city, covering 33500 square metres. Olimp also built a new building combining with its old one near the Medical University, about 15 minutes by walk.
 Galeria Olimp, http://www.galeriaolimp.com.pl/ Spó?dzielczo?ci Pracy Ave. 34, buses form city center - 17, 18, 31; over 130 shops with clothes and electronic equipment, also restaurants and bars
Plaza Center,  http://www.lublinplaza.pl/oNas.html Lipowa St. 13, city center, over 100 shops with clothes, books, music, toys, also: club, cinema, restaurants and bars  
Galeria Centrum, http://www.galeria.lublin.pl/ Krakowskie Przedmie?cie 40 (city center),  +4881 532 22 61  +4881 532 22 61 ext.125,. Mondays-Saturdays 9:30am-9pm, Sundays 10:30am-4pm. Clothes.  
MediaMarkt   http://www.mediamarkt.pl/lublin/ ul. Tomasza Zana 31, 20-601 Lublin. Sell electronic equipment. Take bus 26 from Prusa and get off at ZUS stop near the church.
Galeria Orkana http://www.orkana.pl/infobiz_server.php?mod=1&aid=5&mid=1&mref=6 Orkana 16 (buses from city center - 10, 57), clothes, perfumes, restaurants and bars.

Real. Hipermarket  http://www.real.pl/markety.php?wojewodztwo=16&market=21
Chod?ki 14 , 20-093 Lublin.  Supermarket near Prusa and old dorms.

OBI & Tesco Retail http://www.obi.pl/pl/markets/maerkte/035_Lubin/sortiment.html
 Take bus 26 and get off at Zwycieska stop.

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Recreation and Entertainment

Opera and Theaters
You'll find a pretty comprehensive listing here:
http://www.city.poznan.pl/mim/strony/turystyka/class.html?id_cz=14&id_klasy=179&lang=en

Teatr Wielki (The Great Theater) is the main Opera house (superscripts of foreign operas are in Polish).  Teatr Muzyczny (Music Theater) has musical performances (in Polish only). 

There are many more theaters and music venues; a few are listed below:
State Philharmonic (Panstwowa Filharmonia)
Adress:81 Sw. Marcin Street, tel. 061 852 47 08, tel/fax. 061 852 34 51,
ticket office: 061 853 69 35
Henryk Wieniawski Music Society   Adress:7 Swietoslawska Street,
tel. 061 852 26 42, 061 852 89 92, tel/fax: 061 852 89 91
Paderewski Music Academy (Akademia Muzyczna im. Paderewskiego)
Adress:87 Sw. Marcin Street, tel. 061 852 51 32, fax: 061 852 21 50
"Amadeus" Chamber Orchestra (Orkiestra Kameralna "Amadeus")
Adress:8 Marcinkowskiego Ave, tel. 061 851 66 86

Movie Theaters
There are many theaters around the Poznan city, a few really large ones, and some that are much smaller and generally show older movies or independent productions. You can also check online at :
http://www.city.poznan.pl/mim/strony/turystyka/class.html?id_cz=18&id_klasy=163&lang=en  However, this listing may not include all the small theatres.

There are 8 cinemas in Lublin. The biggest-Cinema City (Inside Lublin Plaza) .
http://www.cinemacity.nl/en/press-center/press-releases/multiplex-opening-in-lublin
Lublin City Council has produced bunch of information materials, which should help, acquaint potential tourists with the city: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lublin
THE CITY OF CULTURE - The most important cultural events of 2009.
SIMPLE LEAFLET - Short, and most important information.

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Important Testing Agencies and Organizations

National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME)
Tel: 215-590-9500
www.nbme.org
United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
3750 Market Str.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Tel: 215-590-9600
www.usmle.org

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Safety and Security

 Just because this topic is at the end doesn't mean it's the least important - but you'll find it fast since all you'll have to do is flip to the back of the booklet.
 
First and foremost: always lock your dorm room door when you're leaving.  Even if you're only going across the hallway to the kitchen, or next door to your neighbor for half an hour (and think you will hear anyone in the hallway).  Also make sure you close your window completely and close your blinds and turn off your lights when you leave, especially if you live on the ground floor.

You may also wish to lock your door when you're inside your room (which is recommended by the dorm administration). Try to avoid walking alone at night - especially in poorly-lit areas such as alleys, parks, etc.
The main emergency number in Poland is 112.
Police - 997
Fire brigade - 998
Ambulance - 999

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