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English family in Wroclaw!


dandaddycool
3 Aug 2017  #1
Hello hello!! My name is Dan and my wife (Karolina) and 6 month old (Emilia) have just moved to Wroclaw!

We are just settling in and hoping to find some people living here in a similar situation to us. Any brits or english speakers knocking about with a young family? If so I'd love to hear from you, maybe we can meet up from coffee and have a chat!

All the best and hope to hear from some people :)

Dan
Lyzko 20 | 6,122
3 Aug 2017  #2
Welcome, Dan!

Hope you enjoy Wroclaw. I figure you guys will start to learn some of the language as time goes by, yes?
I'm in the States, Fort Lee, NJ to be exact, but if you wish to correspond with culture or language questions, please feel free:-)

You'll find learning the local lingo, albeit imperfectly at the beginning will help you in more ways than I could possibly count!!

Good luck, folks.
DominicB - | 2,650
3 Aug 2017  #3
@dandaddycool

Lived in Wrocław eight years myself, and it's a great city. As for finding other ex-pats to socialize with, you're going to have to cast your net a bit wider, and even then, it won't be easy. There just aren't all that many expat families with small children in Wrocław. Most expats are single males on short term contracts who are singularly uninterested in socializing with anyone who is not on their team. And the rest of the Brits in Wrocław are predominantly single male backpackers who are probably not what you are looking for.

You could have your wife call around to the international kindergartens and elementary schools to see of there are any other expats with families about.

If you plan on spending time here, you had better get to work learning the language tout suite and start socializing and networking with the natives in their own language. Or you're going to be pretty lost and lonely, and pull up stakes and return to the UK before long.

In all my time in Wrocław, I met only one English-speaking expat with kids and a Polish wife. An American who lives in Oleśnica by the name of Ian who runs an English-teaching service. He spoke pretty decent Polish, and the kids were first-language Polish speakers.
polinv
3 Aug 2017  #4
Dan you picked one of the fastest growing and dynamic cities in Poland. I live half an hour from Wroclaw but do business exclusively in the city as far as Poland is concerned. I don't know what your plans are but there is something for everyone in Wroclaw. Plenty to do and see for the wife and kids.
delphiandomine 84 | 17,590
3 Aug 2017  #5
There just aren't all that many expat families with small children in Wrocław.

That's simply not true anymore. There are more and more, and Wroclaw is changing beyond recognition in this respect. Kraków is the same.

Most expats are single males on short term contracts who are singularly uninterested in socializing with anyone who is not on their team.

Nope, not true in the slightest. You are describing Wrocław in 2010, not 2017. The fact that the city can sustain several international schools is testament to just how much the city has changed. There are also plenty more out there with kids in ordinary schools.
jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Aug 2017  #6
There are also plenty more out there with kids in ordinary schools

Today, EU entry was over 13 years ago. Plenty of returnees in Polish cities with a British or Irish partner and multilingual kids.
delphiandomine 84 | 17,590
3 Aug 2017  #7
It's remarkable how much Polish cities have changed really. Dominic describes Poland when I first came here, but it bears absolutely no resemblance to the Poland of today.
jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Aug 2017  #8
Dominic describes Poland when I first came here, but it bears absolutely no resemblance to the Poland of today.

That is my assessment too. Things are massively different now in the bigger cities, economically, socially, culturally.
DominicB - | 2,650
3 Aug 2017  #9
That's simply not true anymore.

Yes, it is true. I left there only three years ago, and I doubt that the situation has changed so radically since then. Wrocław, and Poland as a whole, are not all that attractive for expats with kids in tow, and won't be for quite some time. The big problem is that quality educational choices are limited and rather expensive.

The pool of kids from English-speaking countries at those schools is not all that large for a city of 800,000 odd inhabitants. Upper limit 100 kids of all ages, and probably a lot less.

In any case, it is among the parents of those students that the OP has the greatest chance of finding someone to socialize with.
jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Aug 2017  #10
100 kids of all ages

That's a fair number and doubtless growing fast. When I moved to Poland I doubt there were even 10 such in Wroclaw. I also suspect there are now a lot of families with a foot in both countries.
DominicB - | 2,650
3 Aug 2017  #11
@jon357

You missed the "and probably a lot less" part.

As far as returnees coming back to Poland with a non-Polish speaking spouse in tow, few of those make it longer than a year or two because of the lack of good employment opportunities, abysmal savings potential, and social isolation on the part of the non-Polish speaking spouse.
delphiandomine 84 | 17,590
3 Aug 2017  #12
The pool of kids from English-speaking countries at those schools is not all that large for a city of 800,000 odd inhabitants.

What's so important about them being from English speaking countries? He was talking about English speakers, and there are plenty of mixed couples in big cities in Poland where the common language is English at home. For instance, I know a Polish-Italian couple who use English exclusively at home. Their kids speak English as a first language, not Polish.

The big problem is that quality educational choices are limited and rather expensive.

Not everyone is obsessed with schools offering 40 hours of science a week to the detriment of all else. There are plenty of good schools in Wrocław available for free or for a low price, many of which aren't so-called international schools, but which offer a quality education in Polish. I have a good friend there who teaches science in English in a public school, and the science programme is taken straight from the UK programme. The kids that finish the high school have the opportunity for doing the English A-level in the chosen science subject(s), all funded by the local government.

In his case, it really won't be difficult to find families where English is spoken at home.

because of the lack of good employment opportunities, abysmal savings potential, and social isolation on the part of the non-Polish speaking spouse.

There are plenty of good employment opportunities in cities these days.

Savings potential? I think we can all agree that other places offer high potential, but also offer a considerably worse quality of life. I could probably earn three times my salary in the US, but would I want 2 weeks holiday? No.

Social isolation? That's simply not an issue anymore in big cities. Poznan, Wrocław, Kraków and Warsaw all offer huge amounts of activities in English these days.
jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Aug 2017  #13
You missed the "and probably a lot less" part.

Actually, almost certainly more.

few of those make it longer than a year or two because of the lack of good employment opportunities, abysmal savings potential, and social isolation on the part of the non-Polish speaking spouse.

You'd be surprised, Dominic, even very. Some of us do actually make a go of things in Poland - your experiences are not those of others. And make money too, not that you know anything about their financial situation; they are asking about meeting other people with young families.

For instance, I know a Polish-Italian couple who use English exclusively at home

Exactly. I know French-Polish families who do the same.

And yes, employment opportunities are increasing in Poland and the quality of life is excellent. Plenty goes on in English to in the cities - I've seen this increase so much over the past couple of years.
DominicB - | 2,650
3 Aug 2017  #14
I think we can all agree that other places offer high potential, but also offer a considerably worse quality of life.

This is where I cease to take you seriously. You have to be kidding! The quality of life is much higher in richer countries, including the States, than it is in Poland, by any measure.

For a working expat, "quality of life" is practically synonymous with savings potential. Very little matters even a fraction as much.

Social isolation? That's simply not an issue anymore in big cities.

It didn't take long for the OP to hit up against this problem.
jon357 63 | 14,149
3 Aug 2017  #15
The quality of life

Quality of life is excellent in Wroclaw. It's one of Europe's nices cities, and increasingly an expat destination.

"quality of life" is practically synonymous with savings potential.

Bearing in mind that you know absolutely zero about his financial circumstances, professional background etc. He would do well to click on your user name and check out some of your other posts.

It didn't take long for the OP to hit up against this problem.

Rubbish - they've just arrived and he's asking a typical 'new arrival' question!

The OP might like to join Internations, ythe expat network - there are plenty of members, doubtless a fair few with young families. There are also socila media groups (I think Facebook) for expats in Wroclaw, and that could be a good way for a new arrival to meet people in similar situation.
delphiandomine 84 | 17,590
3 Aug 2017  #16
This is where I cease to take you seriously. You have to be kidding! The quality of life is much higher in richer countries, including the States, than it is in Poland, by any measure.

I've met plenty of Americans who would argue otherwise, including several who have been in Europe for more than 10 years.

For a working expat, "quality of life" is practically synonymous with savings potential. Very little matters even a fraction as much.

Perhaps in the highest corporate circles among genuine expats, but for most Europeans, it's a non-issue. I certainly know several people who value the slower pace of life in Poland.

It didn't take long for the OP to hit up against this problem.

He's only just moved to Poland, which means he probably hasn't had time to even look at what is on offer.
DominicB - | 2,650
3 Aug 2017  #17
@delphiandomine

I lived in Wrocław for 8 years, Poland for 12, and Europe for 16.

Wrocław is a great place to live if you have enough money to enjoy what the city and the country have to offer, and don't have to worry about savings. And if you learn the language. As was my situation. I'd still be there if I didn't have to return to the States to help out a Polish friend set up his business here and then got corralled into helping another friend.

Or if you are getting paid western wages, in which case your savings potential is higher in Poland.

Much as I liked living there, I wouldn't recommend it for those who have to save up for their kids' college funds or for their own retirement. As for that "slower pace of life" BS, don't make me puke. The slower pace of savings takes all the fun out of that.
johnny reb 16 | 3,125
3 Aug 2017  #18
The quality of life is much higher in richer countries, including the States, than it is in Poland, by any measure.

There is no doubt about that.
I have many friends who have moved to the States and they all say the same thing, "Europe is twenty years behind times."

As for that "slower pace of life" BS,

He has never been to the United States or never will so he doesn't understand how huge the United States is to have so much to choose from.

The fast city pace to the slow rural pace.
So many choices to choose from that Europe just doesn't have.
I am sure he loves living in Wroclaw now and will soon learn that it is not the hub of the world.
DominicB - | 2,650
3 Aug 2017  #19
I have many friends who have moved to the States and they all say the same thing, "Europe is twenty years behind times."

I wouldn't quite agree with that. First of all, it depends on where you are in the States. And where you are in Europe. There is a vast difference between Vermont or Oregon on the one hand and Alabama or Mississippi on the other. And between Denmark or the Netherlands and Romania or Bulgaria.

A Polish friend from Wrocław got a fellowship to some Podunk town in eastern Louisiana, and he considered it quite a step down in terms of quality of life.

Europeans fail to take into account the vast differences among the individual states. I'm making three times as much in Vermont than I could in Texas or Florida. More than enough to offset any differences in the cost of living.
jon357 63 | 14,149
4 Aug 2017  #20
Closer to the topic of the thread, there's an interesting article here. The figure for expats are three years old - they've probably doubled since then. It mentions how attractive Wroclaw is as an expat destination: wroclaw.pl/en/foreign-residents-on-rise-in-wroclaw
Wulkan - | 3,254
4 Aug 2017  #21
The figure for expats are three years old

You are misleading, the figure shows the number of foreign residents not just expats.
jon357 63 | 14,149
4 Aug 2017  #22
foreign residents not just expats.

Nice to see that at long last you're finally beginning to understand the distinction...

Have a thorough look at the article, Wulky, (pop it through Google translate) and see what it says about Wroclaw becoming an increasingly attractive destination for people from other countries. And it is; it's a good city to immigrate to.

Here's a nice article about someone who has settled in Wroclaw:
expatfinder.com/poland/expat-guides/interview/khaled-masmoudi-expat-in-i-live-in-wroclaw-poland/5125
DominicB - | 2,650
4 Aug 2017  #23
@jon357

Come on, John. That's marketing material. Wrocław is cool, for Poland. But it's very far from being anything like Prague, which is the only city in the former communist block that I would consider an actual ex-pat "destination".

They are equivocating a bit on the word "ex-pat". "In 2015, Wroclaw's District Employment Agency alone received 36 thousand applications from employers (99% of which concerned Ukrainian nationals)".

So reread that article and replace the words "expat" and "foreigner" with "Ukrainian". Doesn't read quite the same anymore. Not a very wide range of foreigners, and with 36,000 applicants, few of them qualify as "ex-pats".
Wulkan - | 3,254
4 Aug 2017  #24
Nice to see that at long last you're finally beginning to understand the distinction

Amusing how you try to twist the things round, It's you who never understood the distinction between foreigner and expat unlike your friends: Harry, delph, smurf etc. who didn't have this problem, I have to give that to them.

As DominicB mentioned, it's all marketing, they only care about themselves not those poor people who potentially might end up in Wroclaw in a difficult situation.
jon357 63 | 14,149
4 Aug 2017  #25
That's marketing material.

No it isn't. One is from an international site, the other just quotes stats and gives an analysis - I doubt anyone would be 'marketed' to by a short article!

Ukrainian

Much of the population there have their origins in and around Lviv. The Breslauers mostly had to leave after the war. Now there's a new wave of eye-candy from Ukraine. Not that this is any reason to move to or not move to that nice city. Plenty of people from many other places, most of them English-speaking as either a first or second language.

But it's very far from being anything like Prague,

So is, well, anywhere except Prague, and the OP isn't in Prague is he, nor is he asking about a tale of the two cities. He's looking to meet others in a similar situation to him. Internations is a very good starting point for that, as is the facebook page for expats in Wroclaw.
DominicB - | 2,650
4 Aug 2017  #26
No it isn't

Of course it is. Get real. And quite deceptive.

most of them English-speaking as either a first or second language.

Very few Ukrainians speak English. At all. Even among the academic and professional class.
jon357 63 | 14,149
4 Aug 2017  #27
Of course it is. Get rea

I doubt many people are likely to up sticks to a city based on a small article printed on a local website. And in any case, the OP has moved there. Perhaps he was persuaded by your marketing! Or more likely moved there for a whole set of other reasons.

Very few Ukrainians speak English.

It's always good, Dominic, to read something before commenting, for example the bit:

Plenty of people from many other places

You may not have had a great time there; hopefully the OP is already enjoying himself and he'll doubtless (especially if he has a look at the two links provided for English-speaking expat groups) meet some other couples with young kids.
DominicB - | 2,650
4 Aug 2017  #28
Plenty of people from many other places

Apparently not. If we go with your figure of a total of 4000 in the city (0.5%), and take out the Ukrainians and Vietnamese alone, that doesn't leave very many left. Then take out the transient workers, sham students, economic refugees in transit, asylum seekers, and short-haul expats, and that leaves even less. Let's be generous and say 0.10 percent true long-term expats in the whole city. And not all of them speak English. Most probably don't. Then take out those without wife and kid in tow, and you have a very small pool indeed for the OP to socialize with. It could double, triple and even nonuple without breaking the 1% mark, and it takes a lot more than that to form a community.

If the OP thinks he is going to find an "expat community" in Wrocław, he is in for a rude awakening. Scattered expats, perhaps, but nothing resembling a community.
polinv
4 Aug 2017  #29
I would put it this way, having an upper class or middle class life in Poland is cheaper than it is in the UK. Your money goes further. There is no question. And if you are in business, the yields are greater. Again no question about that. For those in business or self employed, particularly in places like Wroclaw, the sky is the limit. Again, important given the likely results of brexit over the next 2 or 3 years in the UK, where some folks will experience drawdown from which it will take years to recover. And I'll put it out there, socialising with other Brits isn't the be all and end all.
DominicB - | 2,650
4 Aug 2017  #30
I would put it this way, having an upper class or middle class life in Poland is cheaper than it is in the UK. Your money goes further.

Only if you are earning the same amount of money, like, say, you are retired on a fixed income, and even then, often not. Generally, though, earnings in richer countries outpace cost of living, and thus purchasing power as a percentage of earnings and absolute savings potential are therefore much higher. This is especially true for the middle and upper classes, who make their living from business and investments, That is why the balance of migration from poorer to richer countries far outpaces migration in the opposite direction. In Poland's case, a lot of the immigration from poorer countries is transitory in nature, as many, if not most, of these immigrants intend to move on to greener pastures in the West. Few will stay as long as there is such a large disparity in savings potential between Poland and the West, and that disparity is going to persist for decades.

Another thing that people fail to take into account is the "Gringo Tax". The cost of living in Poland is much higher for foreigners than for native Poles, because they do not speak the local language, are unfamiliar with how things are done in Poland, and do no have extensive networks of families and friends, which are serious handicaps and financial liabilities. So a foreigner with 10,000 PLN a month is not going to be able to live nearly as well as a Pole with the same amount, at least until he learns the language, acculturates himself and builds up a network of local contacts, and that takes several years. Which is exactly what the OP will have to do if he expects to stay in Poland for long.

There are poor countries, mostly with extractive economies, that do have large and established expat communities, and where you can comfortably live in an English-speaking bubble. Poland is not one of them, nor is anywhere else in eastern Europe except for Prague.


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