02.02.2015 change 02.02.2015

The winners for the best foreign student contest - from Ukraine, USA, India

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Students from Ukraine, USA, India and Haiti are the winners of the fifth edition of the "Interstudent" contest for the best international student in Poland. Polish universities currently educate approx. 40 thousand foreigners, which is approx. 2.7 percent of all students.

Prizes and certificates for the winners of this year\'s edition of "Interstudent" organized by the Education Foundation Perspektywy were presented in Lublin.

Winner in the undergraduate studies category is a student of economics at Maria Curie Skłodowska University in Lublin, Vitalij Smygur from Ukraine. "I wanted to study in Poland, because it is a country of large opportunities, and universities offer high quality education. I also wanted to know the country of my ancestors. My mother is of Polish origin, and we preserved her culture, Polish traditions" - Smygur told reporters.

In the category of Masters, the winner is a student of medicine at the Medical University of Gdańsk, Gabrielle Karpinsky from the US. "I feel great in Poland, it’s great to live here. I’ve found my passion here. In July, I plan to start a residency at paediatric oncology in the US" - she said.

The winner in the category of doctoral studies was a nuclear physicist from the Jagiellonian University, Ghanshyambhai Khatri from India. Special award for the most popular international student - winner of the most votes in an Internet poll among the 22 finalists - went to a PhD student of radiology at the Medical University of Łódź, Hugues Gentillon from Haiti.

In order to participate in the competition, candidates must be active in the local community - including cultural, social, sporting activity; candidates should demonstrate that they promote multicultural ideas, and have good academic standing. 120 people of 43 universities have been nominated in this year\'s edition of the competition.

Chairman of the Education Foundation "Perspektywy" Waldemar Siwiński emphasised that foreign students at Polish universities teach openness to other cultures, but also become ambassadors for their universities in the world.

"I am convinced that foreign students will increasingly affect the face and shape of Polish academic community. There are approx. 4 million +international students+ in the world. They have an impact not only on the life of the university, but also on the economic and social situation of the whole country. They teach us that we are citizens of the world" - said Siwiński.

Announcement of the contest results accompanied the conference that begun in Lublin last Thursday, devoted to international students in Poland. The conference was attended by nearly 200 participants from 75 Polish universities. Topics of discussions and panels included the development of the mobility of students and researchers, education of students from the East, new trends in the international promotion of universities, research internationalisation, cooperation with city authorities.

Polish universities educate more and more foreigners. Currently, there are approx. 40 thousand international students, four times as many as in 2005. However, they still constitute only approx. 2.7 percent of the total number of students in Poland - which is one of the lowest higher education internationalisation ratios in the world (OECD average is 7.1 percent).

More than 40 percent of foreign students in Poland are Ukrainians. 940 of them study at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin and are the dominant group of foreigners at the university (1,113 foreign student in total).

Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Rector, Prof. Stanisław Michałowski said that this is a result of Lublin location close to the border with Ukraine, but also lower cost of living than in other Polish cities. "Climate is also important, the way that we welcome these students. They emphasise that they feel good here, that they are well treated, they have friends. It is extremely important for them" - he emphasised.

Rector of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University added that Ukrainians more often to choose studies in Polish, rarely in English, which is why the university organizes Polish language courses for them. "Sports and cultural offer is important for them. They also emphasize the need to work, even part-time, because they often come from poor families" - said Michałowski.

The conference in Lublin devoted to foreign students continued until Friday.

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