The BEST Guide to POLAND
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Posts by kpc21  

Joined: 19 Aug 2012 / Male ♂
Last Post: 17 Oct 2016
Threads: 1
Posts: 763
From: Łódź
Speaks Polish?: yes

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29 Aug 2016
News / Talks on re-polonising Pekao bank under way [58]

Who owns the banks, calls the shots.

This means that the Polish government really should have the power over savings of the most of the Polish citizens? No. I don't feel that my savings are safe when they are in the hands of the government. Of politicians. When something is managed by politicians, this kind of management rarely works well.

And anyway:

Polish banks have to do whatever the Polish government tell them too, becuase Poland is the guarantor and controls the currency.

So the politicians anyway can do with them whatever they want.

Sounds like they had the choice to leave or convert to PKO.

But they have less choice now than they had before. One bank less to choose from.

Such a move would even empty the US market of consumer goods.

Well, if people in a country with free market economy start to protest against too high prices of products or against too low incomes, government can only laugh because the prices are controlled automatically by the market and the government can do nothing with it. In a country with centrally planned economy - it's possible to play with that, the government will start doing it under the pressure of the society - and then we have the results. We can make the price of, let's say, eggs, lower than it was. People will start to eat more eggs because they are cheap. But there will be no more chickens to produce those eggs (or the production may even be forced to go down due to lower incomes). The same number of eggs produced, more eggs consumed. We go out of balance, and we have shortages of eggs in shops.

Although I am not sure how it worked in case of toilet paper, the shortages of which are one of the most popular cases. The "consumption" of toilet paper is, after all, quite constant, regardless of its price. If it goes too high, the toilet paper may become a luxury product, and most of the people will find cheaper alternatives. But by decreasing its price... you won't generate more demand. People won't suddenly start to poop more because the toilet paper is cheap.

With a free market, the government just isn't able to do it. They won't decrease the prices because they don't have power over them.

I cannot remember those times, but from what I know, all those famous Solidarność protests (or, at least, many of them) began not as "we want freedom", "we want free market", but "we want cheaper goods".

Open control on banking sector represent clear message of Polish government to the domestic and foreign public- ``we seek for independent and strong Poland``

Yeah. Strong. With government control.
29 Aug 2016
Life / Health insurance in Poland - your suggestions please [35]

1. Ask the university if you really need to buy a touristic insurance for this period, because it looks a little bit weird
2. Google offers of such insurance which are available in your country, but first of all, google what kind of insurance you actually need for your visa!

(if you haven't got any answer yet, this means, people who have had such a problem before don't look at this forum often)

3. Compare the prices offered by different companies
4. Choose the cheapest offer (unless you have reasons to choose a more expensive one)

Sorry, but these are things you can find in the Internet by yourself. Whatever you buy, deal with, whatever problem you have to solve, this is the basic procedure. This is how the life works.
27 Aug 2016
News / Talks on re-polonising Pekao bank under way [58]

There wouldn't be enough money, it would break the budget, parents would use the money for booze and ciggies

We will see. It's been not enough time to judge it now. In my opinion - there are people who will use these money properly, there are people who will use it for booze and ciggies. It's real world and real world works so. There was already lots of people in Poland living on social benefits only. More social benefits = more money for them. There is also lots of upright people who will, for example, invest these money in the child's education.

The most important consequence should be an increase in the number of births. Then it will turn out to be a real investment in the future of the country. And it will be worth the costs.

About the budget - they have already cut the money for metropolitan areas, for example. So there will be less money for public transport and for the local investments. They are introducing the "supermarket" tax which may destroy small local businesses in favor of big supermarket chains (although PiS said it will be exactly on the contrary).

By the way, what's the point of "repolonizing" a bank in form of overtaking it by the state? It's enough when a single bank in the country belongs to the state. There is PKO BP. And it's enough. More banks in hands of the government just doesn't make any sense.

Instead of "repolonizing" banks by overtaking them by the government, we should think about why the general tendency is that the whole business, once it gets big enough, leaves Poland. Maybe because the taxes here are too high? See that even Polish people quite often decide to open the business, for example, on the British Isles, even if it's actually going to operate in Poland. Because on the British Isles there is much more benefits for small businesses, and the state institutions are much more friendly.

Let's look at the 10 biggest Polish banks...
1. PKO BP - the state bank, and the biggest bank in Poland
2. Pekao SA - one of the banks created by the state in 1989 with the intention of privatizing it, Italian (UniCredit)
3. Bank Zachodni WBK - also one of those banks, was Irish (AIB) to 2010, from 2011 it's Spanish (Santander)
4. mBank - also one of those banks, German (Commerzbank)
5. ING Bank Śląski - also one of those banks, Dutch (ING)
6. Getin Noble Bank - also one of those banks, seems to be in Polish hands in high percent
7. BGŻ BNP Paribas - a predecessor of BGŻ has existed since 1919 as a state bank, focused on agriculture; from 2004 partially Dutch (Rabobank), from 2008 Rabobank had over 50% of shares, in 2014 it sold them to a French bank (also existing on Polish market), so now it's French (BNP Paribas)

8. Bank Millenium - also one of those banks, Portuguese (BCP)
9. Raiffeisen Polbank - Austrian, on Polish market from 1991
10. BGK - another state bank, not a typical commercial bank, as PKO BP, but rather focused on providing support of different type for people, companies and local authorities

Very meaningful are also local cooperative banks, associated in a few groups.

It seems only one of those banks is private and Polish.

To compare, in Germany, one of the banks in the first ten is Italian - and it would be all in terms of the foreign capital. But 4 of those banks belong to the federal states - it's something we don't have in Poland because Poland is not a federation. One is the state commercial bank, equivalent of PKO BP (Deutsche Bank), one is a truly commercial, private bank (Commerzbank), one is an equivalent of our BGK (KfW), one unites the cooperative banks (DZ Bank) Then you have an Italian one (Hypovereinsbank, belonging to UniCredit, like Polish Pekao SA), then four banks of federal states, then the Postbank, belonging fully to Deutsche Bank.

Then: Dutch ING, again a federal state bank, then the Sparkassen, so a group of banks belonging to local authorities (no equivalent in Poland), again a federal state bank, again a support bank - but for agriculture, again one uniting cooperative banks (WGZ Bank), again a federal state bank, then again a support bank (now one of one of the federal states), the next one is also a special kind of bank - and it's the first 19.

So the difference is just that the system of state banks is much more complex.
26 Aug 2016
Life / Health insurance in Poland - your suggestions please [35]

I would ask the university. It might be so that you need to buy a commercial health insurance (as if you were travelling to Poland as a tourist) for the time until you get your visa, come to Poland and do everything in NFZ.

But I don't know, I would ask the university.
25 Aug 2016
Life / Health insurance in Poland - your suggestions please [35]

It's the website of the NFZ department in Lublin, not in Cracow, but the rules are the same in the whole country:

So it seems you need come to Poland first to get the health insurance from NFZ.

Some information is also available here:
25 Aug 2016
Travel / First vacation in Poland [15]

It depends on what you expect. Mountains? Sea? Cities? Lakes? Castles?
25 Aug 2016
News / Talks on re-polonising Pekao bank under way [58]

PiS is mostly about obsessing on the past

Unfortunately it is so indeed. PiS looks behind, not forward.

Poland is a farming country, unsurprisingly its image as an engineering country is garbage.

Poland has always been farming country. Although Polish farming is also not in the best condition. It's based mainly on very small family farms. Polish countryside usually looks so that there is a house with a barn - and a long belt of field behind. Next to it, along the street, a next house - and a next belt of field. And so on. I mean, it's seems to be more natural and ecological - and I very like it, I am not for changing it to big factory-like farms. But it is not really effective from the country point of view.
25 Aug 2016
Law / Not having a car insurance for a little while in Poland [13]

The problem is that even if the car is parked on private property - there is always someone who may wish to 'borrow' it for a joyride. Would you be insure then?

No, this is just a stupid rule to allow the insurance companies make more money.

But yes, it is so, there must be a continuity and you can get a big fine from the Insurance Guaranty Fund (UFG) otherwise. Unless the car is a bus or an old-timer (I am not sure about trucks), they can be de-registered temporarily.
25 Aug 2016
Study / Is the University of Warsaw good? [26]

The best university in Poland. At least according to all the rankings. In technical fields Warsaw University of Technology can be better, but, anyway, it's supposed to be a very good school.
24 Aug 2016
News / Talks on re-polonising Pekao bank under way [58]

The problem is that almost each modern country has so much debt nowadays. Or even more. Maybe except for those having much natural resources.

It's sick, but what can we do with that? There is no way to be competitive with the others.

its new pro-capitalist leaders began selling off everything in sight to foreign investors and destroying what they couldn't sell under what was called the Balcerowicz plan

I am not much in the topic, but from what I know... What else could a country do, having practically no money, no funds at all (after the hyperinflation), to be able to provide all the basic services and pay the pensions? When you have no money at all and you need some immediately, what do you do then? You sell what you have.

From my point of view, what could be done much better, was to perform the whole privatization with more care and sense. Not in such a way, as it happened, with the buyers often closing the bought factories instead of developing and modernizing them. The government performing the privatization should be more sensible to the real intentions of the buyers.
21 Aug 2016
Language / Slavic languages words similarities with Polish [238]

No, this similarity shows that both of them are Slavic languages.

Better look at the similarities between Serbian and Croatian. People from those both countries will tell you that they are totally separate languages :)
19 Aug 2016
Study / Why is that one must wait one year to repeat B1 Polish language exam! [5]

Because it costs money to prepare an exam and it's not affordable to prepare it just for a single person?

It doesn't mean that they couldn't organize an exam just for you if you pay more - but the language certificate organizations often have such policies that they organize exams periodically and it's nothing weird with this for Polish. When I wanted to get a certificate in English - there were also only some specific dates when it was possible to take the exam.
18 Aug 2016
Life / Ekogroszek/wood pellets or gas for heating in Poland? [9]

I have read about conversion of stoves from coal to pellets, and it seems it's possible, but it's not a good idea. A boiler designed to burn coal in it will not work good with pellets. It will never be so efficient as a boiler designed specifically for pellets.

They can equally well ban burning any solid fuels, but I think it's a really long way for them to do it, because it's just too many houses in Poland heated using coal. It will take years for all of them to convert to other fuels. Many houses in city centers still don't have connection neither to the gas network, nor to the city central heating network (district heating, it seems they call it so in English), and the apartments are heated with individual old-fashioned ceramic coal stoves. In those houses either totally new plumbing will have to be installed. Or they will have to be converted to electric heating, which is expensive to use (it's the most expensive system from all the possibilities), but this will, anyway, often demand electric wiring exchange, because the old wiring is often not capable of carrying the power necessary if you want to use the electricity for heating. And there is still many people just too poor to afford anything other than coal heating.
17 Aug 2016
Life / Ekogroszek/wood pellets or gas for heating in Poland? [9]

"Ekogroszek" (it must have an English name, I don't believe it's so Poland-specific) is cheapest but annoying and dirty. Every few days you have to fill the tank with coal. Using your hands and a bucket or a spade. Which produces a lot of dirt and dust. If you decide for this type of heating, choose a boiler with a more advanced control unit unless you want to spend hours in your boiler room adjusting all the settings once the outside temperatures or quality of the coal changes.

Two advantages of "ekogroszek" coal heating is that it's the cheapest system (only the traditional heating systems based on a coal boiler are cheaper) and probably the most popular one in Poland, so it's easy to get help.

Wood pellets are the least popular option from all of them, and it's something between "ekogroszek" coal and gas. It's still a solid fuel, so it needs some manual work to use it, but it's much "cleaner" than coal. And, if I am not mistaken, the burning process can be controlled much better. Might be an interesting option, but it might be not so easy to get support when you have some problems, because it's just not that popular.

Gas may be a really good option if your house has (or can have) a connection to the gas network. It's clean, you don't have to do any work with it (no coal tank to refill - just take care about regular check-ups made by a specialist), you don't need a separate room for a coal storage, and the boiler room is clean, so you can use it also for other purposes. I would say it may cost 1,5 of that what "ekogroszek" heating costs. But everything depends on the current coal and gas prices, so it's difficult to compare it.

Check also other options, such as:
- trying to use your current old-fashioned boiler in a more efficient way (there are actually two possible ways of burning in such a boiler) - it's described here in Polish:
maybe you will find some English materials about that as well, the thing is to fill the boiler with coal first and then to light it up at the top instead of lighting it up at the bottom and then covering it with coal; it turns out to be much more efficient (you cannot refill the stove, but once you light it up, a full load of coal should be enough for a day, and you light it up again on the next day), however, it has some nuances that have to be taken into account

- solar heating system
- heat pump

For the two last ones you can get some funding from the state.

By the way, it seems that those "ekogroszek" boilers are called stokers in English, or, at least, in the USA:
17 Aug 2016
Life / The best online shopping portal in Poland? [41]

What kind of shop do you need? What do you need to buy?

The best option is to find the cheapest one using the comparison services:

Check not only the options that look cheapest - some shop do some cheating so that they appear cheaper than they really are.
16 Aug 2016
Feedback / Stupid limitation on the quotation length [20]

People here are intelligent, they don't need to read the same paragraphs in quotes again. Only the gist of the post = quote is needed.

I disagree. It's often so that you need to refer to a specific part of the post. Sometimes you need to highlight specific words in it. The limit on the quote function makes it sometimes impossible. I want the reader of my post to read the part I refer to, and then to read my comment. Not to scroll up and down all the time. Sometimes a shorter fragment is not enough, when I want to indicate a specific part of someone's post. Not a longer part, not a shorter part (!), but exactly specific part.

Another thing is that sometimes you need to quote something from external sources. Then, the quote function becomes completely useless because of this limitation.

You may not post one post after another; you need to wait until someone replies to be able to post again.

From my experience on this forum, for a few minutes after posting a post, you can edit it and you cannot add a new reply just under it. But after these few minutes editing is no longer possible and the only option if you need to add something, is just to write a new post under your previous one.

By the way, the policy of joining topics on sometimes very loosely connected topics by moderators is totally not understandable for me. On other forums I meet two different systems. On the forums which are mainly for solving problems it is usually so that a new problem = a new topic. Joining an existing topic with your own problem (maybe with an exception when your problem is really identical with the problem described in the specific topic) is if not totally forbidden, then considered bad and against the netiquette. Especially if the topic you join is old - then you can be called an "archaeologist" and get even a "golden spade prize", or even a "golden excavator prize", which is not a reason for pride, but rather for shame. Another system, especially in forums mainly for open discussions, or in such topics, or also in the topics which are not connected with the main subject of the forum is that there is a single thread for a given topic - then it usually has tens, hundreds or thousands of pages, and creating a new thread for this topic is a bad idea.

Generally, it is so, that:
- a problem = a single thread for a single problem, a new topic required even when your problem is quite similar, excavating old threads considered bad

- an open discussion topic = a single thread for the given discussion topic (which can be wider or narrower, dependent on the topic of the whole forum and how much the discussion topic is connected with it), creating new threads when one already exists considered bad

An exception might be, for example, a thread for solving computer problems on a forum about architecture and urban planning - then it will usually be just a single thread.

But on this forum, the moderators tend to mix those two ideas, and often move a new topic with a problem to an old topic with a very different problem. Not in such a way that, for example, all the problems about getting a Polish visa will be in a single topic, but joining just random topics with each other. This doesn't help at all in using the forum, but it's just annoying.
11 Aug 2016
Life / Why Polish Diminutives/Nicknames are so popular? [14]

1. It's just a name, it has no special meaning.
2. I don't get what a nickname can "ralneh" be. Franek? Which is a diminutive for Franciszek, and that is a Polish equivalent of English Francis.
10 Aug 2016
Language / Polish names spelling and pronunciation [24]

1. chra -> hra - should be easy
2. bą -> bon - nasal, like bon in Portugese (for example bon dia)
3. szcz -> shch - both sh and ch must be heard separately

nasal, like bon in Portugese

in Portugese it's actually bom dia, not bon dia, but it's almost the same; bon dia is in Catalan

But you have "bon" also for example in French.
4 Aug 2016
Law / Getting a Polish drivers license / Poland's residence permit (how long it might take to get?) [25]

For B the medical check-up is really basic. The doctor checks if you can see correctly (if you need glasses, you will be obliged to drive always with them) and makes some basic tests, like blood pressure (I am not even sure about that, I don't remember - but the vision is for sure checked).

For the C category, it seems, the medical examination is more detailed, and apart from the medical one, you will also have to do a psychological one.

The medical examination costs 200 zł, the psychological examination 150 zł, and it seems these are official fixed prices.
4 Aug 2016
Study / Any information about Kujawy and Pomorze University in Bydgoszcz [11]

Pomoże - he will help
Pomorze - Pomerania (a region in the North and North-West Poland, and also partially in Germany)

About the Kuyavia-Pomerania University, I won't tell you much, because I don't know this school. I also don't know much about Bydgoszcz. Maybe that there is a really nice looking and worth visiting city not far away, called Toruń. And that people from Bydgoszcz and from Toruń don't really like each other. There is always a kind of competition between them.

It seems this is a private school (the name is a little bit misleading, especially the English one, which suggests it has university rights, while it actually doesn't have them). The public universities in Poland usually have more reputation, but it doesn't mean at all that the educational level in private schools must be low. It sometimes is (although, it seems, in Kuyavia-Pomerania University everything is ok), which is not the case in case of public universities. The quality of teaching can be even higher in private schools.
2 Aug 2016
Po polsku / Zamachy w Polsce? [46]

No im chodzi generalnie o to, by muzułmanie nie mieli czego szukać w Europie i by byli skazani na ich reżim oparty na szariacie itd.
1 Aug 2016
Po polsku / Zamachy w Polsce? [46]

Dżihadystom generalnie chodzi o to, by maksymalnie zepsuć reputację ludności muzułmańskiej w Europie, by nie mieli dokąd uciekać.
1 Aug 2016
Law / Registering Foreign Car In Poland [24]

It's a lot of paperwork to register a foreign car in Poland.

Try to translate this instruction:
- it's for importing cars from Germany, but in case of other EU countries, the procedure shouldn't be different.

And ask if you don't understand something, or if you have some questions.

Some parts of that look really absurd, for example that they sometimes direct cars imported from Germany, still having a valid inspection, to a Polish inspection, even though the German inspection is very detailed, and in Poland you can sometimes even get a confirmation of inspection going to the inspection station without the car...
1 Aug 2016
Work / What you do not know about work & life in Poland. [7]

If your complexion is dark, and you are not a blond blue eyed person, the local Poles will not want you to sit next to you in a bus, they will get up if you sit

It's not their fault, they are afraid of the unknown. It's not such common to see a color-skinned person in Poland (maybe except for university areas of big cities).

But pity them, many of them have the mindset of those from the gutter who may hold worthless degrees from univerisities who cannot get a job.

I am ashamed of them... But try to understand that. White person is something which you know, see everywhere. Black or Asian - it's the unknown world, which you can see only on TV, mostly in American (or Asian) movies (American movies which don't depict black people as angels). Even for me, subconsciously, the white people are more trustworthy, although I know it has nothing to do with the color of the skin. It's difficult to fight with that. I don't want to say this, but it looks like racism is in our Polish blood and it will take generations to change it.

About the grocery stores and English, try to learn some basic Polish phrases. I am sure they will appreciate that, even if you make mistakes. We all know that Polish is difficult for foreigners.

By the way, Poland has the lousiest customer service! Poland is privileged to be in the EU.

Speak about concrete things, I don't get what you mean. If you mean ubiquities beaurocracy, customer service in shops, mobile phone providers etc. - is it the fault of us, Poles? No, it annoys us equally well! About the beaurocracy, I have heard that it isn't better in France. Actually after almost a year of stay in Germany, I see many things that work better in Poland and many things that work equally bad in Germany, even though Poles usually think they work better in Germany.

They are a madness unto themselves trying to revive a dead system of the glories of a bygone era of defeated monarchs

What do you mean? That freak Janusz Korwin-Mikke? Noone takes his idea seriously, he is more like a clown. And his political party is just a machine to extract money from the governmental election funds.

Poland has the highest suicide and depression rate in the EU. Don't expect Poles to smile, much like their Russian bretheren they still have serious trust issues.

It must have more to do with the geographical location. It's always so that the southern-European people are most happy. Maybe it depends on the amount of sun... But there is such a dependency.

Poles hate the Germans, this is a fact, if you have a German surname be aware.

Just because of the history. A country which has always tried to conquer Poland, and even managed a few times. Not to mention that a vast part of the western Poland (and north-eastern as well) was for centuries in German hands.

And did terrible things during the WW2. Actually started the WW2, which, even leaving the whole holocaust behind, was a terrible thing.

My advices:
1. Try to see the positive things!
2. Try to understand.

Your best option if Poland doesn't please you (and it probably won't) would be to return to the country you arrived from.

That's the point. If you feel better if your home country, just return there.
1 Aug 2016
Real Estate / Termination of fixed term lease in Poland [28]

It seems it's possible only in the cases mentioned in the agreement.

In case of a rental agreement without a fixed term, it's different, but when it's fixed, there is no other way. If it was stated in the contract that you are allowed to terminate it due to "important reasons", without mentioning them specifically (or with mentioning them but only as examples), then it would work. When it is not so - it doesn't. Sorry, it's what the Internet says.

You just have to talk to the owner, explain your situation and kindly ask if he agrees to terminate the contract. Maybe offer him help with looking for a new person to rent this apartment.
1 Aug 2016
Life / Price/wage ratio in Poland - shocked! [16]

I think this average is so high because it takes into account people earning really much. Directors in companies, politicians etc. There is not so many of them, but because of their extremely high salaries (tens of thousands PLN), they contribute much to the average salary. Maybe the median would be a better measure than the average here.

Average person earns something around 2000, maybe 3000 zł net. Of course, it will be higher in big cities, especially in Warsaw (but the costs of living are also higher) and smaller in villages. And it depends on the job, for example a good programmer may earn twice so much. The same is with medical doctors and lawyers.