“In a way, I didn’t choose Poland, but Poland chose me”. Markus Salmela, the international student from Finland tell us how to study the Global Logistics in Poland at the University of Business and Administration in Gdynia.
How did you decide to study abroad?
I’ve been thinking about that for some time, but I didn’t have any specific country in mind. Until my wife got a job in Gdynia and we decided to move there. Then I started to look for a University in the area of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia. After all, Tri-City is one of the biggest agglomeration in Poland and important logistics hub for maritime trade around Baltic sea. There were a few other reasons, but this was the main one. In a way, I didn’t choose Poland, but Poland chose me <laugh>.
Why in Poland?
We knew some about Poland because we’ve been travelling there during a summer holiday. Nothing special, driving by car across major cities like Warsaw or Cracow. It all felt a quite familiar country wise, so when my wife received news about the job, we didn’t hesitate.
You’ve picked a full three-years, bachelor’s degree studies on the University of Business and Administration in Gdynia. Why there, why on WSAIB and how did you find out about it?
I’ve had a few ideas of either I wanted to study business, logistics or sport management, but the last one is really hard. There are some programs, but they all are only in Polish, but there happened to be a Global Logistic programme in English, on WSAiB. So that’s why I choose that one. I had a limited selection of topics that’s important to me, but logistic happened to be interesting and close to the travel industry, where my wife is working.
Could you tell something more about sea transport? Tri-City as an essential logistics node, so maybe that fact play a role in your studies?
I plan to build a career in logistic because I’ve been working in logistics for a few years now in Finland. So far, I worked mainly in entry-level positions like driving a truck or in the warehouse, but I gained a lot of experience. Now I want to study the business side of this, which might be helpful career-wise in the future. Logistic has always been interesting to me, and that’s why I picked that field at university.
What about job opportunities after graduation? Do you have any particular companies that you want to apply for internship or practices?
Yeah, I have plenty of ideas because there are a lot of job opportunities in logistics, all over the world. I’m very interested in applying for logistic companies such as Exo, Ups, Dhl etc. There are lots of international companies, and I like to learn about this branch, how everything works from the business perspective, not just driving a truck. I imagine working for an international company in a higher-level position.
Are you going to stay in Poland or go back to Finland? Or perhaps somewhere else in the world where Global Logistic is useful job skill?
I haven’t decided yet. Now my interests are around Helsinki area where my wife I am coming from. Nevertheless, we consider ourselves international-minded people, so we don’t close ourselves on any opportunity. If something interesting comes up from outside Europe, like Australia, Asia or South America, we will consider. Now, however, we are concentrated in northern Europe.
Could you tell me something about your study? What are the most interesting courses, projects?
I think my studies at WSAiB are really good, and we have useful logistic features, but also the basics of management and business, which is very important. Logistic side of things are more interesting for me, but especially broadening the knowledge about infrastructure and how it’s connected with business and clients. For example, last semester, I had courses that concern how logistic operates in the EU area, so that’s not only interesting but also affecting everyday life. When I was driving in my car around Europe, I’ve seen how everything is connected and mutually influencing each other. Yeah, logistic side and transportation have been the most interesting part of my studies so far.
How about life in 3city? Are you living in a dorm or renting a flat?
Yes, we are renting a small but charming flat. In general, I’m enjoying living in 3city. I think it’s a liberal and open-minded city. The infrastructure is good, and there’s lots of hobbies, outdoor activities, nature like the sea, beaches, forests. Basically, everything that you need for right living, you can find in that area. It’s quite similar to Helsinki in the capital area in terms of size, landscape, climate and population around 2 million people
How about money? Approximately much you spending for school, rent and your everyday needs?
Before I started my studies, I worked two jobs, and I saved a lot of money, so it’s not an issue for me right now. First of all, among the reasons moving to Poland was the fact that value for the money here is quite good. Comparing to other European countries it’s cheap, but the quality of life is good, I mean clean streets, restaurants, food and general quality of life. But money itself: for sports like pool, gym and other activities I spend maybe around 200zł and around 1500zł for everything else like transportation and food. Monthly rent with bills cost us up to 2000zł. We live in Gdynia, and I’m sure that prices in Gdańsk are higher. Comparing to Finland, especially Helsinki area it’s way cheaper. In Gdynia, you can get a good dinner for 20-25zł, which is around 5 euros. In not many countries in western Europe, as well in Finland, you won’t find a proper meal in that price range.
What about a time after classes? What do you like to do, where do you hang out and spend free time?
I really like the water and there are plenty activity options connected to it, starting from regular swimming to kitesurfing. During winter I’ve been using numeral gyms and swimming pools, all of them excellent and well equipped. Every day after school, I’m doing some exercise outside because in Gdynia there is a lot of green areas like cliffs in Orłowo or Tri-city landscape park. I doesn’t matter if it’s walking with my dog in the forest or classes of Ju-Jitsu; In Gdynia there is a good climate for outdoor activity.
Do you have any scholarships?
No, although I could get a small amount of money and cheap student loan from my government. It’s prepared for everyone who is studying abroad at the university level. Its purpose is to help Finish students to get an international diploma and start a full-scale career.
Are you planning a master degree?
Not now. After graduation, I want to work for some time, preferably in Finland. I haven’t thought this through, but I haven’t root out this option either. I will keep that opportunity open and see what happens.
What are your thoughts about the opinion that Poland is a good place to get educated relatively cheap and then go working in Western Europe?
I think that nowadays there are way better job opportunities at TriCity and other areas, for people who speak at least functional English and perhaps mother language of a company. For example; there are a few Finnish companies, for instance, Andritz Pulp & Paper, Metsä Group and Kemira, operating in Poland and if you know Finnish, you can count on increasing salary. Unfortunately that’s correct, in Western and Northern Europe there are higher salaries, but on the other hand competition in the labour market is also bigger. So, in the end, you have to figure out which option will suit your needs best.
Is Gdynia, and TriCity in general, international student-friendly?
Yes, of course! I was surprised that people were very helpful and you can easily find a job in English. The same goes for university. When I finally found the programme entirely in English, everyone was very helpful with any translation for or from Polish.
Is the University of Business and Administration in Gdynia practice and futuristic as they are presenting themselves?
Well, yes, I think that their education offer prepares students for job market afterwards. It would be a lie if I didn’t say that thanks to my school, I’ve got plenty of new ideas and skills, how business works, and how to deal with today’s logistics industry. After graduating from WSAiB, I probably end up in a company where I actually could use the knowledge I gained there. In that environment, you need to have not only essential experience in logistics but also in business and management, and only then you are specializing in your work life. Thanks to the University of Business and Administration in Gdynia, I will have all the necessary skills to start a future career in logistics.
Would you recommend study in Poland in general?
Yeah, I can’t see why not. It depends on your approach to education, if you take it seriously and if you are willing to study and develop. It also depends on where you see yourself in the future. If you are interested in transport or international logistic for example, I would recommend studies and finding a job in the Tri-City area
Did you have any difficulties with the recruitment process?
Not really, everything went smooth, and I had no problems with any documents or language barrier. Since I am a student and also we all are within the EU, there were no problems, and all application went easy. Some of my colleague from outside the UE, they had to provide some additional documents, but for everyone from Europe, it’s no problem. Also, as an EU student, I pay only around 5000zł study tuition per whole year. Comparing to the Netherlands, for example, I would have to pay about ten times more. For the non-EU student, it’s even more, because several thousand zlotys, which is an astronomical amount.