Study in Poland or other options? Need an advice


Hi! I was recently accepted to a program in Cracow University of Technology for a spring semester. 

Anyone know about the faculty and career perspectives? 

I'm non-EU citizen, B.Arch with 5+ years of experience. I'm looking for a Master program in Europe with possibility to find a job after and to stay on a work visa. Studying for a long period of time would cost me ALL savings I have by the moment. So cost of program and living plays a huge role. 

So this schools are on my mind: 

1) AHK (Amsterdam) part-time 4 years- long journey but maybe it's good

2) KU Leuven- tuition fee is low

3) London Met- I was living in London and social circle that is very supportive

4) Prague Schools -cost of living not so expensive, Prague is wonderful

5) Dia Dessau- tuition fee is low, but I don't what school will give to me

6) University of Applied Arts Vienna- tuition fee is low, but I can't imagine living myself in Wien

The same time I'm looking for an other option: to study French for 1 year in France and try to get into school there from 2018 Sep (I'm quiet old an every year counts).

By the moment I'm accepted to a preparatory course in AHK (Amsterdam) and Master Program Cracow University of Technology. What do you think is best- try to enroll in one of this schools for a Winter semester or just go to Cracow? Or preparatory AHK?

I'm not sure which enrollment process to continue... Any advice. I can't say that I have an amazing portfolio, graphic skills or extraordinary creative thinking- I need to work hard to develop my skills. That's why I'm not even thinking about Delft or AA.  

Many thanks!    

Dec 21, 16 9:01 pm

No experience with Cracow.

Amsterdam is really tough; you work at an office during the day and in the evening you go to the Academy, while at night you prepare for next day's Academy sessions, which means very little sleep for 4-5 years. You'll be working 4 days a week from 09:00-18:00 in an architectural office, spend your evenings at the Academy and Friday the entire day at the Academy too. The good thing is, you'll have 4 years of paid working experience under your belt when you graduate, although most students take more than 4 years to finish. The bad thing is, you'll be exhausted and lost all your non-Academy friends and forgot the names and faces of your relatives. The drop-out rate is quite high and the balancing act can be brutal, but it can be worth it. Despite its name, the Academy is not very academic or theoretical compared to TU Delft (in my experience) and their facilities for model making are very limited and there's not even a plotter in the building. It's a close-knit, very Amsterdam focussed and intimate school with plenty of students working at offices of Academy teachers, it can be one big (happy) family. It's a rather practical/hands-on route to becoming an architect with half the curriculum depending on your practical development in the architectural offices you work at. Besides that, Amsterdam is an expensive city with very high rents for very small spaces.

Have you considered studying in Slovenia? It's for free there I've heard and the Masters are in English, Michael Moore went there in Where To Invade Next.

Dec 22, 16 5:09 am

Dear randomized, 

Thank you for sharing your experience. I know what you are talking about. I was a part time student doing my B.Arch- my life was almost the same as you described. The other question is- what is an average salary for students working 3-4 days a week in an office? How did you support you all this 4 years?

Dec 22, 16 9:47 am

I've worked with and for Academy teachers, have and had colleagues and interns who went through the system as students, or are still in it, while I was and am working for different architecture offices and I've taught the occasional studio there. But I haven't studied there myself and took the Delft route.

Since the Academy is a part-time study you pay for it yourself (Delft takes you 2/2.5 years fulltime  after your bachelors with the possibility of financial support by the Dutch government for EU-members). What you'll earn depends of course on your level of experience, negotiation skills and the office.

Legally a full-time trainee should be paid at least around €700 per month, but if you work 4 instead of 5 days that will be 20% less, which barely covers the rent. With 5+ years of working experience you could/should get paid more obviously, depending on what you did during those years and if those skills are sought after. Working knowledge of BIM for example or knowing how to put a building together would seriously increase your chances for better paid work, and speaking another language on top of English can be very useful for offices that have projects running in those countries or that have just won a competition there, so check Dutch architecture websites to stay informed. Try contacting offices that have job openings that might suit your skill level and just ask what salary they would be willing to offer based on your experience. These are the most obvious resources for vacancies:

You can also find offices through the Academy directly: (only works to see the jobs advertised after you're enrolled as a student but you can already check out your competition) 

They are actually really helpful in finding a suitable workplace for their students since you'll earn half your credit there. If you don't show growth and development at your job they fail you or have you change jobs, so it's very important to land a job where they understand how the Academy curriculum actually works and how students can't be stuck foaming models or doing renderings all the time. 

One more thing, the Academy is a very Dutch institute, although everyone in theory speaks English, lectures can be in Dutch, and the vast majority of students is Dutch and will keep on speaking Dutch together, even with non-Dutch speakers around if you don't actively remind them of your existence :)

Well, good luck with everything!

Dec 23, 16 4:34 am

Dear randomized!

I'm very sorry that it took me so long time to reply! Thank you so much for an answer! It gave me clear understanding of the process of studying. 

Since I'm from non-EU I'm allowed to work 20h/week only which is 2-3 days only. I worry that I would never find a studio who would take me (who need an architect for 3 days only in a studio?). Also I really don't like the idea to live 3 years on my savings on minimum. I decided to look to other schools, but maybe I would go into. As a school itself seem to be nice and the programme is amazing! 

Feb 1, 17 8:37 am

Dear Iva!

If you were accepted in Poland I think it's fine as well, since the living is cheap and you are in eu. Although, as a former non-EU student myself, I would recommend you to go directly to the country where are you planning to live. As a theory, European Union facilitate the movement from one country to another for pemanent non-eu residents, but the reality is not that easy. I had to overgo the visa process again and again for every Erasmus or internship abroad and never had a shot at all with big firms because of my nationality.

Eventually I got italian citizenship and now things should be better, but you can ask for it only after 10 years here or if you get married. If I'm not wrong you can ask for french citizenship after 3 or 4 years if you're enrolled and do good in school.

So choose the country where you really want to live even after you graduate. French option is good, because they have great schools and architecture offices, it can be easier with work and documents compared to Holland. I could work 80% of normal working hours with my student visa in France, calculated on a year and not on a week.

Feb 1, 17 9:03 am

Same boat. Help! What is the best school in France? I’ve heard none. What about in Prague or elsewhere in EU? I want to have my career in France so licensure matters. I️ would go to school in America then move there but it’d be nice to go to a EU school too.

Feb 4, 18 5:36 am

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