/ Thoughts on moving to Poland from USA
I am a 30 y/o male, born in America, American citizen, white (mainly Italian-Irish-French, a little English & German, no Polish), Catholic, and also have citizenship in an EU country.
For the past 1.5 years I traveled throughout Europe while working remotely, all countries including all areas and major cities of Poland. Before that traveled in US for one year. Lived in Krakow for about 3 weeks but everywhere else was a brief stay. In total I've probably spent 7 or 8 weeks in Poland. For the last two months I have been living in Germany (northern Bavaria) but increasingly think Poland may be a better choice.
For reasons I don't care to get into here, I don't plan on living in America or Canada for the medium/long-term future, though I do want to be able to easily visit my family 2-3 times a year.
The top priorities for me in terms of cities are:
1) moderate to low pollution by Polish standards,
2) a good nightlife scene with a lot of English-speaking women under/around age 30 and the highest possible percentage of English speakers in general
3) somewhat sunny weather by Polish standards and changes in season and
4) open, friendly people who are relatively accepting of outsiders. For me it's pretty much down to Wroclaw and Krakow. I like Wroclaw because it's a little closer geographically to Western Europe and the pollution issue doesn't seem to be as bad (it's a non-issue there for me in most neighborhoods) so it's pretty much my top pick as of now. Any other cities I should be considering (they don't have to be esp big)?
I make about 95k USD after taxes (360.000 zloty) from a business I own in the US that I manage from abroad. I'm pretty good with languages and speak fluent Spanish, decent German, and some Italian, so I'm confident I can learn some basic Polish quickly, though I know it is one of the world's hardest. Have bachelor's degree from very good American university.
The main question: given my circumstances, do you think it would be possible to 'fit in' in Poland short-term without knowing much Polish (I only know very basic phrases now, just enough to get around), and long-term assuming having pretty good Polish? Chance of meeting a Polish woman and group of friends (not just expats) who speak pretty good to good English (enough where full communication is usually possible, having normal conversations with my family, etc)? Any considerations I'm overlooking?
To give you an idea of where I'm coming from, here are some things I like about Poland:
- In summary
: people, food, ideas of comfort/decoration, nature esp in south and east, relatively cheap prices, normal/traditional gender roles, less PC, lower business taxes, balanced climate in south w 4 seasons
- The Polish people
: I find most to be humble, polite, friendly, approachable, and I like the sense of humor. In general, I just find the men relatively easy to respect and be around, 'men's men' in short, and I find the women especially attractive and usually get good vibes in return; not that that ultimately matters much, since I only plan on being with one. Obviously this is a massive generalization and there are many exceptions in all the foregoing regards.
- The food
(favorite in Europe)
- Ideas of what traditionally constitutes comfort (i.e. the way older-style houses in countryside, inns, and restaurants are built and decorated, and just their general ambience, not that that reflects how many people in apartments live all that much, but still a plus for me)
-It's a big country that's not landlocked, with nice mountains and forests. I also hunt and there seem to be a lot of opportunities for that esp in the south and east.
-Cheap prices by my standards
. I would like to buy a single-family house somewhat soon without taking on a huge mortgage. I also want to have 3-4 or more kids and have the (reasonably affordable) option to send them to a private school, although I'm guessing some of the things I'd be avoiding in US or UK schools aren't as much of an issue in Poland.
-Traditional/normal approach to gender roles. If I have kids I don't want my wife to work any more than part-time and maybe not at all, since I think raising kids and keeping up a household can already be a full-time job and doing both is too much.
-Taxes are relatively low (for corporations at least, important for me since I own a company and am considering starting another small company, potentially in Poland)
-Less political correctness than other countries
- 4 seasons and warm summers
-I think the religiousness is a plus and has/will help people keep their humanity in an increasingly high-tech and morally relativist world
-Not yet invaded by Arab and African hordes, and I haven't seen a significant wigger/fake gangster/Turkish 'wigger' segment
-A good balance between 'Eastern' and 'Western' European (and yes, I do consider it to be Central Europe like Czech, Hungary, etc), and more accessible for most Americans than countries further east
-For me, the self-bashing and complaining I've heard about is more normal than a downside. I find the opposite of that, like in some parts of Germany (mainly Bavaria), to be a little creepy for some reason.
Things I don't like about Poland:
-Pollution in the cities (I come from a small town and am pretty sensitive to it. Thought it was bad in Krakow esp certain days).
-English is pretty bad, though not so compared to other big countries in Europe, except Germany
-Somewhat of a blind allegiance to and trust in the US and its foreign policy and IMO exaggerated concern about Russia, and IME most people have a dated image of what the US really is, which makes it hard to explain why I choose to be in Europe/Poland and not the US
-Traffic, often worse than where I'm from in the US
-Sometimes there's less common ground in terms of familiarity with American movies, music, and culture/pop culture compared with people in Western Europe, so there's just less to talk about in that regard. Only with some people though and with many there's no real difference.
-Limited business opportunities for me compared to Western Europe, for what I do now at least, which is run a semi-luxury service business that depends on upper/middle-class disposable income, so I would need to rely on my US-based business for foreseeable future.
So why Poland of all places?Asia
: too far, don't think I'd particularly like the culture, food, or the women (in far east) in most areas (haven't been there except Turkey).Africa
: only white guy in town.Latin America
: places I've been seem too different culturally and ethnically.Australia & New Zealand
: too far and would never see my family, no long-term visa guarantee.Spain, Italy, and Greece
: too Mediterranean culturally, don't love food on everyday basis.France & Belgium
: don't like people all that much (smug).
Scandinavia: boring, cold, midnight sun issues, expensive, and people too practical.UK / Ireland
: bad weather and food, not crazy about people (often bitter and envious) or politics. Ireland: rains all the time, no 4 seasons, people a little timid for me.Austria & Germany
: too practical and pragmatic, many arrogant, self-satisfied, know-it-alls; too PC, too feminist, hard to make friends.Netherlands
: Germany-lite, bad weather, boring landscapes, people too tall. Switzerland: too expensive, may not get residence permit. Czech Rep, Russia, & to lesser extentSlovakia
: can't deal with the grumpy and somewhat standoffish people. Former Yugoslavia, Albania, and Baltic countries: too small and isolated.Bulgaria/Ukraine/Romania
: too different culturally. I like a lot about all the aforementioned countries, but if I have to say why I wouldn't actually live there, those are the reasons.
The only countries I have seriously considered are Italy (south & central), Ireland, Finland (mainly bc of the people), Germany (parts), Poland, and maybe Netherlands bc of the English there.