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General questions for those who have chosen to make Poland their home


pam
24 Sep 2012  #1
I would love the opportunity to trial a year living in Poland, but i doubt it's likely to happen, so i would like to pose a few questions to those of you fortunate enough to be living there.

These questions are not meant to be intrusive, as sadly, sometimes the most innocent of questions can end up being misconstrued on here.
It is simply the chance for you all to tell me about life in your adopted country. I hope at least some of you will answer my questions. Here goes...........

Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?
Were any of you fluent before you moved, and if not, how are your language skills now? Are any of you coping well without having picked up the language?

I am presuming most of you living there are employed, and if so, are you employed in the same field you were in your native country, or have you switched occupations whilst being there?

How difficult was it for you to adapt to your new country? Did you have any particular problems when you arrived?
How do you find the locals? Are they accepting of you, and do you feel welcome in their country?
Do you think you will stay in Poland, or do you regret your decision to move there?
What is a typical day like for you there? Are you all working crazy hours? Have you had the opportunity to explore Poland when you're not busy working?

Think you all get the picture, hopefully i'll get a few answers!
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
24 Sep 2012  #2
Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?

I was on my way to another country (Japan) and got offered a job in Poland.

Were any of you fluent before you moved, and if not, how are your language skills now? Are any of you coping well without having picked up the language?

I came here 10 years ago, the only bit of Polish I knew was from Borat, very very few people here spoke English at that time.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borat_Sagdiyev

I have not been here for 10 years. I know very very few foreigners here and in my day to day life it's usually Polish people. I use Polish in Work of course but I never went to school to learn Polish, so I am seriously lacking in the grammar department. I intend on going to school to learn grammar shortly. I think you could live in the bigger cities here without speaking Polish but you are seriously limiting yourself and I would never advise it.

I am presuming most of you living there are employed, and if so, are you employed in the same field you were in your native country, or have you switched occupations whilst being there?

To begin with I was teaching English, Callan method, extremely boring but I was getting paid well comparability.
Now I am in a different corner of the same field:)

How difficult was it for you to adapt to your new country? Did you have any particular problems when you arrived?

I find it very easy to live here, it is very like the place I grew up when I was a child (I am Irish).

I feel more at home here than I did living in England.
I attribute this to:
1. Catholicism.
2. A bad history.
3 Alcohol :)

How do you find the locals? Are they accepting of you, and do you feel welcome in their country?

Staring is the national passtime if people hear your accent or you speaking English, they will stop what they are doing and have a full on stare at you, as if you had 12 heads.

It's just curiosity but in my country of origin it would be considered very rude but I don't expect to travel and see what I am used to.

It doesn't bother me.

People here also smile with their eyes, rather than their mouths, they can yell at you (sounding angry) but if you understand what they are saying they are actually trying to help.

Basically most of the people are very friendly, helpful and welcoming and it is embarrassing when people from my country can't see it.

Do you think you will stay in Poland, or do you regret your decision to move there?

Given only two options there, I will choose a third.
I certainly do not regret having moved here but I will move to another country in the next couple of years (not back to my country of origin).

I really enjoy living here and I will miss some things but I want to move, for moving sake (if you know what I mean).

What is a typical day like for you there? Are you all working crazy hours? Have you had the opportunity to explore Poland when you're not busy working?

A lot of my work is project based, so I work like heck when the project is in full swing but I have my own companies and could work less but I don't want to, we create our own universe but for some reason, unbeknown to myself, I seem to gravitate towards making my own life fairly difficult (but that is another story:)

I had the great pleasure of living in between Zakopane and Krakow, I loved it. Now I live in Krakow again and I love it here too.

My favorite are the mountains, lakes, castles etc... I get the chance to see what I like in Poland... having said that I always wanted to go to Augustow, I have driven through it many times and it looks like a place I'd like.

This Post is very "me,me,me", perhaps if you told me what you are interested in I could help you find somethings of interest.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
24 Sep 2012  #3
Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?

An even better question would be "If Poland was full of fat and ugly women, would you have moved there?"

I suspect that very few people would say "yes" if it was ;)

Disclaimer: this is just an observation, and is not intended to offend anyone fat, ugly or even Polish-American ;)
pip 10 | 1,661
24 Sep 2012  #4
Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?

I married a Polish guy in Canada who got a job offer he couldn't refuse.

Were any of you fluent before you moved, and if not, how are your language skills now? Are any of you coping well without having picked up the language?

My husband and daughter were fluent. I knew simple things. Now I am fluent. Poor grammar but people don't mind.

I am presuming most of you living there are employed, and if so, are you employed in the same field you were in your native country, or have you switched occupations whilst being there?

My husband works in commercial real estate. Did in Canada too. I have switched occupations. I used to be a preschool teacher but before we moved here I returned to school for interior design- which is what I do in Poland.

How difficult was it for you to adapt to your new country? Did you have any particular problems when you arrived?

Some things were a bit annoying at first. Just silly things which I have gotten used to and have adjusted my life accordingly. For example, shopping in a large grocery store is a clusterf*ck on a good day- I try to do our weeks shopping on Monday am when not a lot of people are there. I also check all foods to see if they have been opened. So many times I had just grabbed something off the shelf only to discover it had been opened and taste tested. Traffic in Warsaw is terrible- so I plan my days after or before rush hours.

How do you find the locals? Are they accepting of you, and do you feel welcome in their country?

mostly really great. very accepting and I feel welcome. I am also from Canada which has a romantic image in most Poles minds.

Do you think you will stay in Poland, or do you regret your decision to move there?

I have lived here for 10 years. We are not going back any time soon but I would like to return and live in Canada at some point.

What is a typical day like for you there? Are you all working crazy hours? Have you had the opportunity to explore Poland when you're not busy working?

I own my own shop so I set my hours. I don't work Sundays or Mondays and my days are short. I am home at 4:00. My husband is at a point in his career where he is able to set his own hours. We have seen a lot of Poland. My husband is from Gdynia so we usually spend week ends at the sea side during the summer.
rybnik 18 | 1,462
24 Sep 2012  #5
I was on my way to another country (Japan) and got offered a job in Poland.

I loved your post SeanBM

Staring is the national passtime if people hear your accent or you speaking English, they will stop what they are doing and have a full on stare at you, as if you had 12 heads

..............LOL You described that perfectly! It was the same in my day :) (you get used to it quickly)

People here also smile with their eyes, rather than their mouths, they can yell at you (sounding angry) but if you understand what they are saying they are actually trying to help.

.............Yes! Well said.
boletus 30 | 1,366
24 Sep 2012  #6
I am also from Canada which has a romantic image in most Poles minds.

And this is all due to this book:
Arkady Fiedler, Kanada pachnąca żywicą (Canada smelling of resin) (1935)





pawian 159 | 9,509
24 Sep 2012  #7
Sorry, I am neutral about Canada. It seemed a little boring to me as a child and I didn`t read Fiedler`s book, though I read all the others. I always prefered more exciting jungle stories. :):):):)
pip 10 | 1,661
24 Sep 2012  #8
I meet a lot of people in my shop. They always always always ask where I am from. When I tell them I am from Canada- it is always oohs and aahs. Even my physiotherapist did this. For some reason the idea of Canada is very romantic to Poles. It has its good and bad. I am always asked which country I like better and I can't give an answer. I like them both for different reasons.
Wroclaw Boy
24 Sep 2012  #9
I am always asked which country I like better and I can't give an answer.

I think it goes without saying if you need to kiss a bit of ass, tell them you love Poland and that Adam Malysz is the best, they love that....handy tip if youve been pulled for speeding or something.

Can but don`t want. Plane. :):):):)

if you could you would.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,479
25 Sep 2012  #10
This is a very interesting topic raised by Pam. A most interesting account given by SeenBM, and also one given by Pip.

I certainly do not regret having moved here but I will move to another country in the next couple of years (not back to my country of origin).

Don't you think that on your way to that country you risk of landing again somewhere else en passage instead ;-).

For some reason the idea of Canada is very romantic to Poles.

It used to, but why the hell this was so, God only knows. I suppose this myth is dying out slowly once young people have so much more opportunity to travel abroad than ever before in the history of Poland.

For me, the romantic idea of Canada was strongly associated with the idea of wealth as well; in other words: wealth and well-being, that's what we thought Canada was. Something like Peru in the eyes of the French of the past ages which idea has been preserved in their language to this very day in this saying: Ce n'est pas le Pérou!.
Harry
25 Sep 2012  #11
Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?

I was offered an interesting job here.

An even better question would be "If Poland was full of fat and ugly women, would you have moved there?"

I suspect that very few people would say "yes" if it was ;)

Hand on heart: the only Polish woman I knew before I moved to Poland (i.e. my cleaner when I was at university) was fat and ugly, although she was also a very nice woman and always up for a shot of vodka in the morning if I fancied one and didn't want to drink alone.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808
25 Sep 2012  #12
Don't you think that on your way to that country you risk of landing again somewhere else en passage instead ;-).

I came to Poland first 10 years ago but I have lived in two other countries since then and moved back to Poland, so yeah :)
Ziemowit 12 | 3,479
25 Sep 2012  #13
The OP asked this question:

Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?

,
but for those who do not emigrate for economic reasons, the nonetheless psychologically interesting question might well be:

Why did you choose to live in another country as opposed to be living in your own one?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
25 Sep 2012  #14
Why did you choose to live in another country as opposed to live in your own one?

(quick answer)

Try living in the North of Scotland for years and you'll soon understand why living 2 hours from Berlin, 3 hours from Warsaw, 8 hours from Vienna/Bratislava, 10 hours from Budapest/Vilnius and much more is highly attractive ;)

That - and more opportunity in terms of career. I run a department at work and have a fair bit of responsibility - it just wouldn't happen so quickly in the UK.
Wroclaw Boy
25 Sep 2012  #15
Try living in the North of Scotland for years and you'll soon understand why living 2 hours from Berlin, 3 hours from Warsaw, 8 hours from Vienna/Bratislava, 10 hours from Budapest/Vilnius and much more is highly attractive ;)

attractive in a dream case scenario and bragging rights, but not much else. Unless of course you have close business connections and need to visit regularly. A place is a place is a place. But please tell me if you will the bonus of living 2 hours from Berlin, from your personal perspective of course.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
25 Sep 2012  #16
A passion for history, what else? I don't have to fool around with flying, hiring a car, etc if I want to go and explore - I can just go. Last trip was an utter disappointment in historical terms, but it was partially a business trip.
scottie1113 7 | 898
25 Sep 2012  #17
When I went to France for the first time about 25 years ago, I decided that some day I would live in Europe for the experience, not because it was better than the US, just different.

Since the US isn't a member of the EU it's difficult for an American to teach legally in France, Spain and Italy so I began looking at Central Europe. I've been interested in Poland since I was about 9 and began reading about WWII. I visited here six years ago and fell in love with Gdansk, so five years ago I moved here and began teaching.

Before coming here, I spent 12 years as a Marine officer, then 25 years in sales and sales management. Teaching is the most enjoyable and personally satisfying thing I have ever done.

Poland isn't perfect and it's certainly not for everyone, but I really like it here and have no plans to leave despite the difficult language. :)
sobieski 107 | 2,128
25 Sep 2012  #18
I am involved with Poland since in the early eighties as a boyscout leader I helped to organize (through our parish council and Caritas Belgium) humanitarian convoys to Poland. I came first time to Poland in September 1989 and have never looked back since that moment.

I live in Warsaw because my Polish wife never wanted to move permanently to Belgium. I do not think I will go back home any time soon. We have built our life here together, I feel good here and I see no reason to go back home.
Ziemowit 12 | 3,479
26 Sep 2012  #19
Tu as trouvé ton bonheur professionnel justement en Pologne alors ...

Poland isn't perfect and it's certainly not for everyone,

That Poland isn't perfect is understandable, but I'm curious who - in your view - may be those that Poland isn't for ...?
NorthMancPolak 4 | 648
26 Sep 2012  #20
but I'm curious who - in your view - may be those that Poland isn't for ...?

It's certainly not for people like me.

Why would I move to a country where I would have to work longer hours than here, with worse terms and conditions, and 100% of my salary would barely stretch to paying for a 40m2 flat, and I would probably be told that I should live way out of town if I don't like the housing costs (I've never lived in a dead-end small town or village, and I certainly wouldn't be willing to do so if I went abroad). Especially as my 60m2 flat over here costs 20% of my salary, and I live in a metro area larger than Warsaw, with lots going for it.

Poland's a great place to visit, but it's not a good place to work for many, and especially not if you're in my line of work.
pip 10 | 1,661
26 Sep 2012  #21
General labourers do not get paid well here. That is why they flock elsewhere. Having said that- those that have stayed and run a quality company can do exceptionally well. My carpenter is doing well, his brother- also a carpenter is having to turn away jobs. There is something to be said for taking pride in your work- no matter if you lay tiles, paint walls or install flooring- when your work is quality, people will recommend you and so on and so on. In Poland this is an excellent way to find quality trades people. So- being a general labourer is no excuse and neither is stupidity.
milky 13 | 1,657
26 Sep 2012  #22
"If Poland was full of fat and ugly women, would you have moved there?"

its the big attraction alright. NO
Appleby 1 | 25
26 Sep 2012  #23
Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?

Got married here.

Were any of you fluent before you moved, and if not, how are your language skills now? Are any of you coping well without having picked up the language?

I was a complete newbie, knew absolutely nothing. Now I can get by, but lack seriously in the grammar department. The lady in my local shop still gives me what I want and seems to find it kind of charming.

are you employed in the same field you were in your native country

A world of difference.

How difficult was it for you to adapt to your new country? Did you have any particular problems when you arrived?

The "normal" things ... trying to get registered, tax number, PESEL, post offices, railway stations, zameldowanie.

How do you find the locals? Are they accepting of you, and do you feel welcome in their country?

Some do, some don't. Just small little annoyances, like driver behaviour, behaviour of people in queues (always someone who stands next to you to ask something to the lady trying to help you, no privacy, people standing so close to you you feel like a penguin in a penguin crèche)

Do you think you will stay in Poland, or do you regret your decision to move there?

No, am trying to find a job somewhere else. No, I don't, but now that the marriage is over I can't see why I should stay.

What is a typical day like for you there? Are you all working crazy hours? Have you had the opportunity to explore Poland when you're not busy working?

I get up at 0650 in the morning, go to work (start around 0800), work until 1800 or so, go shopping, go back home, cook, tidy up, etc. Then in the weekend I sometimes have to work, or I go into town or I go somewhere in Poland or abroad.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
26 Sep 2012  #24
These questions are not meant to be intrusive, as sadly, sometimes the most innocent of questions can end up being misconstrued on here.

No problem - I like them :)

Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?

Moved here for 6 months to try living abroad and loved it - my now wife is Polish, though it took a fair bit of convincing her to let me move here rather than to stay in the UK!

Were any of you fluent before you moved, and if not, how are your language skills now? Are any of you coping well without having picked up the language?

I knew a little bit, but my language skills are much better now. I can read quite well in Polish (just finished going through a particularly tedious document...) and can understand/speak in some situations - but I'm not so able in social situations. It's probably due to using Polish professionally but not socially - though I understand fine, it's just that I don't really practice speaking in social environments because for me, Polish is "work". I couldn't do my job without being able to work in the language.

I am presuming most of you living there are employed, and if so, are you employed in the same field you were in your native country, or have you switched occupations whilst being there?

Switched, a bit - my background was in marketing, but I did what I always wanted to do - become a proper teacher (not an TEFL one). I've got some marketing responsibilities as part of my job, however (by choice!).

How difficult was it for you to adapt to your new country? Did you have any particular problems when you arrived?

Wasn't difficult at all, and I don't understand people that have had problems with it. The only problems are minor niggles, such as stupidity from administration workers - but I've also seen some dazzling examples of being looked after by them too. All in all, I prefer the system here.

How do you find the locals? Are they accepting of you, and do you feel welcome in their country?

Never felt unwelcome.

Do you think you will stay in Poland, or do you regret your decision to move there?

Who knows. I don't live for tomorrow :)

What is a typical day like for you there? Are you all working crazy hours? Have you had the opportunity to explore Poland when you're not busy working?

A typical day? Hmm... I work about 6 hours a day from Monday-Thursday, with the occasional Friday. Yes, I've explored Poland quite a lot - one of my hobbies is exploring the borderlands :)

All in all, I'm more than happy with my life here. The money could be better, sure - but then, it's all relative.
Melloj 2 | 4
26 Sep 2012  #25
I've been a lurker for a while and created an account just to say good on the OP for starting this thread.

My wife and I are thinking of moving to Poland. I was born there but left as a child with my parents while my wife is orignally from Japan.

She loved Poland when we visited there and when we decided that we wanted to try life outside of Canada (and because of the unfortunate circumstances with radiation in Japan), we decided to try Poland.

I am a professional, so finding work with a foreign company in Poland is a pre-requisite to making this move, as it doesn't make sense for us to do so if I will be making a regular Polish salary (apologies to readers who live on such a salary presently, but dreams have a limit and a 95% pay cut is one of those limits).

Reading people's comments on here is very enlightening.....
scottie1113 7 | 898
26 Sep 2012  #26
That Poland isn't perfect is understandable, but I'm curious who - in your view - may be those that Poland isn't for ...?

You've read their posts on other threads. I'm talking about negative and critical people who find fault with everything and everyone in Poland. Aside from this forum, I've met quite people like that since I've been here. They've all left. Enough said.
pawian 159 | 9,509
26 Sep 2012  #27
Why did you choose Poland as opposed to another country?

I was born on a Polish ferry while it was still within the Finnish territorial waters. But I chose to live in Poland because it is much warmer than Finnland.

Do you think you will stay in Poland, or do you regret your decision to move there?

I don`t know. I am thinking of going back to the country of my birth. They say that Finnland`s students are the brightest in Europe and teachers there are provided with all sorts of facilities which make teaching an extremely pleasant process. I would like to try it out.
Orpheus - | 114
26 Sep 2012  #28
but I did what I always wanted to do - become a proper teacher (not an TEFL one).

I resent that. Not all teachers of EFL are drunks with a backpack and a Rough Guide.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
26 Sep 2012  #29
I don't mean it in an offensive way, just that by 'proper' - I mean one who works as a plain standard ordinary teacher in a school and under the same rules/etc as the locals :)

There really is two types of EFL teacher though - one that is proper and professional, and one that is just bitter and jaded. I'm certain that if I stayed in EFL, I'd be going beserk by now. Still - apologies - I didn't mean to offend!

You've read their posts on other threads. I'm talking about negative and critical people who find fault with everything and everyone in Poland. Aside from this forum, I've met quite people like that since I've been here. They've all left. Enough said.

One of them is now permanently banned from another forum that you sometimes visit ;)
smurf 39 | 1,982
26 Sep 2012  #30
Not all teachers of EFL are drunks with a backpack and a Rough Guide

no, but the cool ones are :P


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