Living costs in Gdansk

Today I am going to write about the living costs in Gdansk. A hot topic for future medical students applying to study in Poland.

I like to divide these costs into categories:

  • Rent
  • Groceries
  • Books
  • Transport
  • Mobile phone
  • Gym / Cross Fitness / Other physical activities
  • Others

 

Rent is usually the biggest bill to pay at the end of each month. My flatmate and I pay 3600 PLN per month with everything included in the price (electricity, water, internet). Here in Poland, it is important to have all expenses included in the price. Polish people are rather good at overcharging foreigners. The best way to avoid unnecessary trouble is to agree upon a fixed sum.

As usual, the more central you live and the better the standard of your apartment, the more you will end up paying in rent. I live in Old Town close to the main street, by the river. The apartment has 67 m2 and my bedroom somewhere between 11-12 m2.

When living with one more person I think it is reasonable to pay somewhere between 1500-2000 PLN depending on the apartment. If you want to live alone you can get something up to 2000 PLN if you are lucky. Most likely you will pay more than that. For a good standard 35-55 m2 apartment I would expect something in the 2000-2800 PLN range.

One of the cheapest solutions is to actually live in the university dorms. The rent for a room is about 1000-1100 PLN. You share the kitchen and bathroom. The good thing about living dorms is that you live 5-10 minutes away from campus. It would not work for me though. I love the city life and I don’t mind commuting every day. It gives me space to breathe and realise that there is life outside campus (as crazy as the idea might seem).

Groceries really depends on your preferences. Food is much cheaper here than in Scandinavia. Your options are endless. There is so much more to choose from when shopping here. I live on 1000 PLN every month. That allows me to buy all the food I want. Including taking away meals (which unfortunately I order a lot during the most stressful periods).

Books can be quite expensive if you want them brand new. Let’s say you want to go crazy and buy all the books in the school bookshop (which is still much cheaper than in Scandinavia). A reasonable budget would be between 1500-3000 PLN (depending on how many books you buy). However, if you buy them in second hand they usually cost less than half the price. So use your network and ask around. Eventually, you will find good deals.

Transport is something to consider if you live far from school and don’t want to cycle or walk. Just like me. Since we are students we pay half the price of a normal ticket. Now it’s 1.60 PLN per single ticket. I usually buy 30 tickets at any kiosk. You actually need to buy paper tickets. There is a possibility to buy a monthly card but that requires to go to the main station once a month, stay in a queue and recharge it. I tried to get one but you need to fill out a form (in Polish) and submit some pictures and… God knows what. When I made the maths I realised that I’d end up saving 10-20 PLN a month. I can afford that extra cost and spare myself the time and the hassle of standing in line every month to get a stamp. So I buy single tickets. Such an old-fashioned system. It feels like going back 20 years.

My operator is called Orange and I am happy with them. The first SIM card that you get needs to register it with your passport in a shop. So pick your operator and register your SIM card. After that, you need to charge your phone with the amount of money corresponding to the plan that you want. I pay 50 PLN every 60-90 days and I get 16 GB of internet in the EU countries and Norway. If you pay 200 PLN you will not need to charge your phone for the entire year and you will get 36 GB. Such a good deal! Whenever you call or text someone you get a message from the operator informing you how much you have just been charged.

I have not signed up for a gym during this year. However, I know people who have done it and it is rather cheap. Under 100 PLN per month. CrossFit is about 300 PLN per month.

Other things are relatively cheap compared to Scandinavian prices (just as expected). Alcohol, cinema, bowling, paintball, eating out, hiring a cleaning lady, taking Uber rides whenever you feel like being driven from door to door, massages, haircuts, dentist appointment, etc. You name it. The majority of us, international students, can afford a lifestyle that would never be possible to afford back home.

Perhaps this is one of the biggest advantages of studying here. The money actually lasts unless you go completely bananas.

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