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Are foreigners welcome in Poland?


red_devil 1 | 23    
22 Jun 2009  #1
My personal experience of living and working in Poland has been a fantastic experience. I am honestly made to feel more welcome here than in my home country of England. Of course, I have experienced a bit of racism (I'm white by the way) but it is usually confined to parts of two groups of Polish society.

1st group - Polish hooligans (or Dresse - did I spell that right?) who usually become quite dangerous when drunk, as with other nations. Being a foreigner around drunk Polish hooligans can be a dangerous place to be. I was on a trolley bus in Lublin and six or seven well-built teenage football hooligans got on and I found myself trapped in the corner. I had just seen them beat up an innocent guy at the bus stop and I was praying that they wouldn't start talking to me as they would have detected that my Polish wasn't perfect and my situation could have become stickier. In the end, they got off at my stop and walked the other way. Close call!

2nd group - The elderly. The usual reaction I get from old Polish people when I am speaking English on my mobile or to my English friend is that they stare at you as though you have just beamed down from Mars. I suppose the last foreigner that some of these people heard were barking orders to them! But is their reaction due to distrust of foreign people or just bewilderment?

Please let me know what you think and if you have experienced any hostility due to you being a foreigner.

Thanks.
SRK85 - | 72    
23 Jun 2009  #2
Thats weird last time I was in Poland everyone assumed I was Polish. I had no problems people would come up to me and ask me things in Poland. I immediately say nie. I have yet too see holigans but if they bothered me I would probably ignore them and say nothing hoping they would leave me alone.
Bzibzioh    
23 Jun 2009  #3
Dresse - did I spell that right?

dresy [plural]

But is their reaction due to distrust of foreign people or just bewilderment?

Bewilderment. Distrust only if you are a Russian or German.
sapphire 22 | 1,242    
23 Jun 2009  #4
why do you think Polish people would be bewildered by foreigners? I imagine even in the most tiny village most people would have had some contact with people from other countries.. Poland is hardly the Amazonian rain forest!
benszymanski 8 | 465    
23 Jun 2009  #5
I imagine even in the most tiny village most people would have had some contact with people from other countries

Out in the countryside it's rare to see non-Poles. Where I live I don't know of any other foreigners and have not met any other than the odd tourist. Therefore it's rare to hear people speaking English on a phone etc.. and I usually find someone will stare at me when I do.

Sometimes I find this a bit rude, but I put it down to bewilderment and ignore it.
jwojcie 2 | 763    
23 Jun 2009  #6
I imagine even in the most tiny village most people would have had some contact with people from other countries.. Poland is hardly the Amazonian rain forest!

When in the late 80' some black man came to my small hometown in central Poland, then for some time he was like tourist attraction... :-) It still is quite uncommon to see foreigners in polish provinces (exept tourist places)...
BLS 66 | 187    
23 Jun 2009  #7
While speaking on my mobile phone in Przemysl, the locals (even teenagers) walked by and stared in amazement as English poured out of my mouth. It was like they had never heard a native speaker.

I am an American who has been in Kraków for nearly a year - I feel completely at home here. However, I tend to shut the hell up when I am around 3 or more young males on the street (but I did that when I lived in Chicago as well). As a foreigner, I worry about the day I meet up with some of the aforementioned hooligans...
Seanus 15 | 19,742    
23 Jun 2009  #8
They are not so hostile to white people. Some idiots will attack any difference in somebody but you don't often encounter them. Many people will not be overtly racist about black or brown people but you can be rest assured that many are thinking something nasty in their minds.
Torq 25 | 2,261    
23 Jun 2009  #9
you can be rest assured that many are thinking something nasty in their minds.

Seanus The Great Mind Reader of Polish People!

What am I thinking now Seanus? ;)
Seanus 15 | 19,742    
23 Jun 2009  #10
I meant that certain group which isn't openly racist but they keep it to themselves. You are thinking about whether foreigners are welcome in Poland or not ;)
scarbyirp    
23 Jun 2009  #11
I imagine even in the most tiny village most people would have had some contact with people from other countries

Not really, unless a tourists SAT NAV is broken on the way to Krakow. Why else would a non-Polish national end up in a Polish village?

And anyone who's left a tiny village in Poland will probably only ever return for holidays, if at all.

While speaking on my mobile phone in Przemysl, the locals (even teenagers) walked by and stared in amazement as English poured out of my mouth. It was like they had never heard a native speaker.

Yep, anyone outside of Warsaw or Krakow will look at you like you've just stepped off a space ship.
OP red_devil 1 | 23    
23 Jun 2009  #12
Thanks guys! I have actually only ever been to a Polish village twice. Once to drop of our Polish friend and the other to spend Easter with my English friend's girlfriend's family. It was a rather big attraction when my English friend and I started playing chess. The whole family of 15 or so sat round and watched us as though it was a major tournament final. Eventually the drunk uncle slammed the chess board shut and all the pieces went flying. We spent the rest of the day getting drunk with the family.

Going back to the point of hooligans in Poland, they ARE very rare and most of them are just wannabee hooligans and wouldn't push themselves around. Lublin is a very young, friendly city with five universities (130,000 students) so, overall, I feel pretty safe as a foreigner here.

Which is different to the experiences of the 100 Romanians leaving Northern Ireland right now.

P.S. Thanks Bzibzioh for the correction. :)
L1su - | 2    
16 Jul 2009  #13
Hello

I live in Poland from my day of birth, in little town near Wroclaw. And yes, you are right. Hooligans pose a great threat to people, especially if you have black skin or when you differ from others pedestrians (means clothing, haircut, this pay attention to you). It really does't matter whether you speak or not Polish, 'cos this is not the main reason of aggression on you.

For example.

You're walking on the street, there is later evening, and you see bunch of people gathering near bench and drinking beer and smoke cigarettes. If they don't know you, there is more than likely that you will be subject of their aggression on your person.

:) It is very common in our conutry, particularly in big cities where are big, 1-st league clubs.
Seanus 15 | 19,742    
16 Jul 2009  #14
I think that Scots are very welcome here by many, like everywhere. I cannot comment for others and welcome by who? Some will welcome you and some will not.
dnz 17 | 710    
16 Jul 2009  #15
I just find that the majority of people stare at foreigners even in the big cities, Older generations seem to despise foreigners for some reason. Also Polish drivers never let english registered cars out of junctions I think that may just be down to arrogance.
Curious - | 1    
16 Jul 2009  #16
Hi all, I live in Sydney Australia. My first trip to Poland to see a friend I worked with here in Sydney was an amazing part of my trip. I think it`s the same anywhere you tend to travel too, people are more prone to help when they see someone trying to do their best. Whether it be work, social, or conversational. We are as a human being, genuinely feel inclined to help.

It could be because of my New Zealand heritage and having been brought up in that lifestyle,where respect of another person and there own culture tends ask you to give them space and a helping hand if need be.

But getting away from the point here, I found the polish life style awesome characteristics very european, very open to new people if given the right attitude (same as anyone I believe) and always interested about where your from, if, of course language is not a barrier. which I need to practice on before my next venture over lol.

Even so I left Poalnd with such a good taste, I will return in the next few years to stay with my friend and her mother again and give them a few laughs with my bad polski language.

Hope this helps with the forum.
Curious
Mike74    
23 Sep 2009  #17
I'm Irish and I married a Polish girl 10 years ago. We got married in her town of Jawor near Legnica, and even with a population of 25,000 I only met 1 English speaker. People asked my wife which language was I speaking?

Back then she was quite worried for me to be out alone after dark for fear that I would be beaten/robbed as a forigner. I never experienced any hostility though, I found the Poles to be very welcoming.

We have been back several times since, but it was only this summer when I really noticed that many people could speak some English.

They also now know where Ireland is, as so many of them are here :)

I would live in Poland if I could find a job there.
krakuskabanos 4 | 43    
27 Sep 2009  #18
Please let me know what you think and if you have experienced any hostility due to you being a foreigner.

no, foreigners arent welcome in poland. some poles here in p/f arent really embarassed to admit that. my worst experience? shopping in gdansk.

I just find that the majority of people stare at foreigners even in the big cities, Older generations seem to despise foreigners for some reason.

omg, this is so true! my husband who is polish actually just wanted to come up to them and just smack their face! its really rude of them to stare like that. next time i fly there, i will try and embarass a few. seriously, it is so unhospitable.

why do you think Polish people would be bewildered by foreigners?

they just are. i visited gdansk more than six times already in a span of one year. they still are, very much bewildered. that is, considering gdansk is a proper city - not a village, mind you..... hmmmm, maybe because my skin and hair colour is to die for. well, YOU CANT HAVE IT! =P
frd 7 | 1,399    
27 Sep 2009  #19
Older generations despise everyone, that includes young people ( oh they are surely no gooder scoundrels ) and foreigners because they are different..
still_wisher 7 | 97    
27 Sep 2009  #20
yes they are welcome you just have to take the welcome to poland party anytime , yesterday it was mine !! been beaten , mugged and ended in the hospital with my pregnent polish wife , 8 brave polish guys and 3 girls in middle of a street attacked us like hell ! didn't stop till the police saved our lifes ! and hundrets were watching this like a movie it was 9pm in warsaw ! all just because as they think i'm a dirty foreigner and i should die and my wife should lose the kid because she a stupid human being got married to a foreigner and even telling the police that my wife can't reach the high level of polish!! so yes foreigners are very welcome to poland !
Torq 25 | 2,261    
27 Sep 2009  #21
@still_wisher

It's a disgrace what happened to you. I hope you and your wife are well
and that the criminals who attacked you will soon be caught and punished.
krakuskabanos 4 | 43    
27 Sep 2009  #22
all just because as they think i'm a dirty foreigner and i should die and my wife should lose the kid because she a stupid human being got married to a foreigner and even telling the police that my wife can't reach the high level of polish!! so yes foreigners are very welcome to poland !

omg!
Seanus 15 | 19,742    
27 Sep 2009  #23
Geez, my sincerest condolences! Nobody should be subjected to that irrational hatred.

I've been warmly received by some and harshly received by others. That's just the way it is but I'd tip the scales more towards the unwelcome side. The truth is, I don't care what they think of me. Many may like me, many may not.
still_wisher 7 | 97    
27 Sep 2009  #24
i always thought that there are people can hate , didn't think this hate will reach this point and don't care for a crying of a pregnent girl begging them to stop and trying to cover me to save as much as she can from feet i was counting hiting my body ! but what i can say ! thank god we still breathing
frd 7 | 1,399    
27 Sep 2009  #25
Although it ineed is a disgrace it could have happaned to anyone. I heard few stories about polish couples that got beaten during day time in a city centre. Still those thugs have probably increased awarness on people that stick out more from the crowd..

I hope you guys gonna be alright..
Seanus 15 | 19,742    
27 Sep 2009  #26
I guess you'd have to contact GUS for stats on the relative ratio of attacks. Of course Poles get attacked here too. Still, relative to the foreign contingent here, I believe that the statistics may tell a story.

Having said that, it also depends on the area. Gliwice is relatively safe.
frd 7 | 1,399    
27 Sep 2009  #27
I dunno, I got attacked in Gliwice twice, and my mate like 3 times. It depends what time and where you go. I don't recommend pottering around the park near old stadium ( near Politechnika ) after 23:00. Beside you said that being at the city square might get you in trouble ( especially when there's some kind of a techno night in Gwarek )...
sadieann 2 | 205    
27 Sep 2009  #28
Tragic. I hope this was an isolated crime. I'm sincerely glad your family survived.
Seanus 15 | 19,742    
27 Sep 2009  #29
There's always a might, frd. I haven't been attacked in 5 years of living here. That's maybe because I don't encounter groups that often. I favour my chances in most 1-2-1 situations here and would-be attackers can maybe pick up on that.
pawian 126 | 6,546    
27 Sep 2009  #30
Foreigners are welcome. But they`d better be well-off as Poland is too poor to provide for broke guys who come and beg in streets.



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