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The Banach Scholarship Programme

By Yahayah Ibraheem Abiodun

In our new ‘Ambassador Advice’ series, our Africademics Scholarship Ambassadors share their experience and advice for scholarship applicants in and from Africa. This week Yahayah Ibraheem Abiodun from Nigeria, a Master’s student in Financial Engineering at WorldQuantUniversity, introduces the Banach Scholarship and shares valuable tips for future applicants.

About the Scholarship

The Ignacy Łukasiewicz Scholarship Programme, now Banach Scholarship, is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (Polish: Narodowa Agencja Wymiany Akademickiej – NAWA) within the framework of Polish Development Assistance.

The patrons of the Programme are Ignacy Łukasiewicz, an outstanding Polish inventor, and pharmacist, pioneer of the oil industry and the creator of the kerosene lamp, and Stefan Banach, the famous Polish Mathematician who founded the modern functional analysis and helped develop the theory of topological vector spaces.

The programme’s aim is to support the socio-economic growth of developing countries through raising the level of knowledge and education of their citizens.

Scholarship holders will be first recruited from the following countries: Albania, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Palestine, Peru, the Philippines, Senegal, Serbia, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

In addition, the citizens of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan can complete second-degree studies in the fields of humanities and social sciences under the Programme, with the exception of philological studies in the field of the beneficiary’s native language.

Participation in the Programme enables participants to undertake tuition-free 2nd cycle studies (Master degree studies) at public universities in Poland supervised by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, in the following areas of study: engineering and technical sciences, agricultural sciences, sciences and natural sciences.

Second cycle degree programmes are preceded by a preparatory course to facilitate undertaking studies in Poland, which is also covered by the scholarship. The preparatory course is aimed at teaching the scholarship holders the Polish language, familiarising them with Polish culture and introducing them to subjects related to the course of their future studies.

The Polish preparatory course can be done for a semester or a whole year, depending on when your actual programme of studies starts. The most fascinating thing about this programme is the privilege to choose any Polish university of your dream, provided they offer your course of studies in your preferred language (English or Polish). 

Participating in The Banach Scholarship Programme is a good path for those who would like to improve their intercultural competences. Not only does it give you the opportunity to become familiar with the Polish culture, but also is a great opportunity to join a multicultural network.

Eligibility and Application

Candidates are selected on the basis of the calls for proposals announced on the annual basis. The next edition of this programme will be opened by the end of April, 2021.

You are to arrange your Visa and your flight by yourself. Only the aforementioned countries are eligible to apply for this program and the scholarship is granted based on proposal quality and academic excellence. You must hold a Bachelor degree in the listed area of studies and prepare a very competitive proposal that is devoid of plagiarism.

For more details, visit https://nawa.gov.pl/en/students/foreign-students/the-banach-scholarship-programme

Personal Experience and Advice

I applied for Banach Scholarship in 2018 (when it was still called Ignacy Łukasiewicz Scholarship Programme) because I wanted to further my academic studies without having to worry about finance and tuition fees and, most importantly, to live in a new environment.

My application was successful and the process was very simple. As a norm with many other scholarships, I had to provide my personal data and education history followed by my motivation for the scholarship. I also selected a proposed university in Poland even though it was later changed when I got to Poland. This is the case for many students, so don’t beat yourself up in case you don’t know which university to select.

You can select any qualifying university based on your research and change it when you get here if needs be. I submitted two reference letters and my well-developed project proposal. I also submitted my TOEFL score even though a letter of English proficiency from my home institution was acceptable. I wrote the little I know about Poland based on the information I gathered online and submitted my complete application.

The application process was very smooth for me. The only challenging part was the continuous modification of the proposal until I was fully satisfied with it. I did the entire application on my phone without consulting anybody because I had a lot of experience with other scholarship applications. You can even contact the funding institution if you have any problem or question during the course of your application. They will reply to you promptly.

I received my scholarship letter with joy because it came at the point of need. Travelling to Europe was very soothing and appealing. I got to know another world that is utterly different from where I came from. I met new people from different parts of the world, acquired new skills and improved my network. Coming to Poland changed my view about so many things in life and about people.

My perspectives and thoughts were enhanced and I became more attentive to my surroundings. I can only relate my achievement this way and I believe you will have a different wording for your own when you come here. If you want to explore a world that is probably more fascinating than the one you are currently in, further your education without worrying about finance, experience a first class education and a beautiful country, then start preparing for this competitive scholarship currently knocking at your doorstep!