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How to really meet Polish people in Poland and actually socialize with people in their Late 20s/Early 30s?


notanotherexpat2
17 Jan 2020 #1
I'm from another european background but I really don't want to be left stuck in a "cosmopolitan circle" of expats where all that happens is we drink and speak English but instead I really want to meet and socialize with local Polish people who speak Polish and are actually *from there*. Preferably enhance some language skills as well.
Atch 17 | 3,299
17 Jan 2020 #2
If you live in Poland you'll meet Polish people everyday at work or college. You'll make friends in the same way you would in your home country. Whatever your spare time interests/hobbies are, google search po polsku for events/clubs etc and go along. If you're musical, join a choir, if you dance go to classes, if you draw or paint, are in to sports, whatever, get involved with something and your social circle will grow.You could also try volunteering. There's a growing interest in that.
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
17 Jan 2020 #3
Best way in any non-native country to "socialize" with the locals in their language, and not, as you post, with other ex-pats, is to do what I did when I was a student traveler, and simply avoid the company and/or contact with those from your own country. I'd go to local bars, outdoor events which don't seem dodgy, attend movies, and in essence, hang out with as many Poles as you possibly can.

If your further goal is to improve your Polish skills, that might be hard in large city, being as today far more people want to practice their English than I was last there in the late '90's, and at least basic Polish was an absolute must!

What I would recommend is to politely feign non-comprehension if your partner insists on speaking English, maintaining the "fiction" that it would be easier for both parties if you guys stuck to Polish:-)

I was last in Europe in 2008, and the ploy somehow worked.
kaprys 3 | 2,466
18 Jan 2020 #4
Never ever pretend you don't understand someone when you do. Especially someone with good English. That's offensive.
I doubt a lot of people will want to socialise with you if you're dishonest with them.

If you want to practice Polish, just ask.
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
18 Jan 2020 #5
True enough, and yet I found those with whom I'd spoken pretended perhaps not to notice.
If honesty were the eternal touchstone of any, even superficial, relationship, I figure we'd all kill one another in fit of uncontrolled pique:-)

If someone's goal is to visit another country, particularly if they're a native Anglophone, and immerse themselves in both the language and the culture, not merely to meet someone of the opposite sex, it's especially important to use whatever ruses necessary to ensure that agenda! What harm would be done, if say, you and I met at random, anonymously on the streets of your home town, and you, hearing I was foreigner, decided to switch to English, whereupon I maintained the desire to continue speaking in Polish?

Merely a blow to your sensitive ego, no more, no less.
Lenka 3 | 2,187
18 Jan 2020 #6
You can maintain your desire to talk in English but:
1- conversation is communication between people and as such each participant's wishes are as important as the other ones.
2- if you lie about your knowledge of English then you are a liar. No egos and the rest can change that
3- did it ever cross your mind that people insist on using English because they simply don't understand tou?
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
18 Jan 2020 #7
In large part agree, Lenka.
Language learning is always a work in progress, no matter how good on is (...or thinks they are)!
If I choose to continue speaking Polish while my Polish interlocutor insists, even claims to adamantly prefer, to speak in English, there is probably a good reason for it:-)

I've been to Europe, lived there, and spent time there over the course of nearly a decade in years past, and have been on occasion more than happy to allow my partner to practice their English, if I could in all truthfulness say to myself, that this person understands where I'm "coming from" with basically native-speaker fluency in order that I can express myself as comfortably as I could with a fellow Yank from back home. In my long experience, that happened only once, maybe twice, in Austria, when I was visiting grad school friends from Krems.

Point 2 is right on the money!
Lenka 3 | 2,187
18 Jan 2020 #8
If I choose to continue speaking Polish while my Polish interlocutor insists to speak in English, there is probably a good reason for it:-)

They might have good reason too. Maybe even better one...
kaprys 3 | 2,466
18 Jan 2020 #9
@Lyzko
Pretending you don't understand when you do is lying. It's both dishonest and stupid.
Someone with good English has most likely had a chance to use it when talking to a foreigner so they'll see you through immediately. And who wants to hang out with a liar?
mafketis 24 | 8,836
18 Jan 2020 #10
A problem for non-slavic foreigners in Poland is that now at the beginning there's often no compulsion to use Polish and many become accustomed to people speaking English. If a person stays though eventually people get sick of having to speak a foreign language with someone who's been in the country for five or more years and don't realize how the person was trained to not use Polish at the beginning (a critical time).

I had an Irish colleague who spent three or so years in German and became fluent because... he had to. Everyone fell over themselves to "help" him in the initial adjustment phase in Poland and his Polish (after five or so years) remained crap and he assumed the language wasn't worth learning (because that's what everybody inadvertently had told him at the beginning).

and of course it's not always easy to tell if someone is a short term vs long term visitor...
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
19 Jan 2020 #11
@kaprys, I think you underestimate the need for public relations right off the bat. Not everybody will react as you suggest they might.
You also make the assumption that the average Pole off the streets will necessarily know "good" English, at least good enough for an intelligent, pleasant conversation. This is a nice thought, and yet, at least when I was there last, not always the reality.

Granted, most foreigners will be initially shy, perhaps uncomfortable about speaking with strangers in another language. And yet, if such be the case, why not politely admit same, rather than continue with the charade that they really do understand more English than actually is the case?

When I was visiting Szczecin, I was with a German lady friend who spoke no Polish, we were both in our early '30's and were wearing knapsacks. We met up casually with some local students, who, hearing of course that neither I nor Corinne were Polish, began to speak English. Fine. I offered to switch back to Polish if it were easier, to which the one student replied that the group was perfectly happy to continue in English. I then made some remarks about what a lovely Old Town there was, when one of the group hesitated, and said "Oh, maybe it's old. But nobody knows it..."

It was clear that the conversation was above their heads, but, as my travelling partner only spoke English and German, I kept the conversation going for as long as we could. It was like pulling teeth:-)
kaprys 3 | 2,466
19 Jan 2020 #12
@Lyzko
You spent several hours here in the 1990s. ..

I dare say I know more about how to meet people in their 20s and 30s in Poland AD 2020 than you do ...

From 1989 Poles didn't have to obligatorily learn Russian at school. The problem was that there weren't enough teachers of other languages. It took several years but gradually English became the most common foreign language in Poland.

Not everyone speaks it perfectly but people in their 20s and 30s are young enough to have learnt English at school.
So things have changed since the 90s. ..

Also I don't think you understand how travelling in Europe works now. Especially within the EU, you don't even need a passport. You buy a plane ticket for pennies and bang! you're in a different country.

Polish students study abroad, there are lots of Erasmus students in Poland, too.
Erasmus projects are also pretty common in schools.
And how am I supposed to believe your story if you've just admitted you'd lie to someone. On the other hand, when you speak, you can't make typos, so your Polish must have been great. :/
Wincig 2 | 222
21 Jan 2020 #13
Especially within the EU, you don't even need a passport.

you do still need a passport or ID, admittedly not for crossing borders but for airline security checks before boarding..
Lenka 3 | 2,187
21 Jan 2020 #14
airline security checks before boarding..

Unless you go by car, train or coach...
However it's always better to have some ID, no matter what the country
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
21 Jan 2020 #15
@kaprys,
I was in Poland for a total of two weeks, several hours in Szczecin this is true, subsequently though, on the outskirts of town at the home of my Polish teacher's brother-in-law! Albeit not a long time in the scheme of things, yet more than enough for my purposes at the time as well as my pocket bookLOL

Surely, perfunctory comments about their own home town oughtn't have been that overwhelming for those whom we met and preferred to speak English. I can only attribute their reaction to cultural differences.
kaprys 3 | 2,466
21 Jan 2020 #16
@Wincig
You don't need a passport if you don't plan to travel outside the EU. And since you have to have an id anyway you can travel with it.

You need to show it (or your passport ) at the airport but as Lenka said if you travel by car, you don't need to show it at the border within the Schengen zone. Last time I traveled by car to another European country was to Hungary. No one stopped us when we entered Slovakia from Poland or Hungary from Slovakia or on our way back home.

@Lyzko
I'm sorry you were stuck in the outskirts of Szczecin for two weeks. It must have been quite boring. Just staying in and drinking in the garden? Not my idea of visiting a foreign country but I hope you liked it.
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
21 Jan 2020 #17
?? I couldn't have had a more relaxing, not to mention, comfortable time, kaprys!
Odd how you came to the exact opposite conclusion without even knowing what it was actually like:-)
I not only found how practical my Polish turned out to be, as nobody in the household really knew much coherent English, but as it happens, the brother-in-law had lived in

Berlin for a number of years, and so spoke fluent German. If ever I was at a loss for a Polish word, he could supply the German.

I had a chance to socialize some with their neighbors, and so on the whole, it was a lovely experience. Furthermore, Monika, Bartek's wife, was a fabulous cook. I imagine

she still is.
kaprys 3 | 2,466
21 Jan 2020 #18
@Lyzko
So tell me what it was like. Did your hosts take two weeks off just to entertain you or did you stay in when they were at work for about eight hours?

What did you see and do in the outskirts of Szczecin for two weeks?
Where did you go out? How did you meet other Poles?
There must have been buses to the city centre and other places in the area.
Wincig 2 | 222
22 Jan 2020 #19
@kaprys

Not quite! UK citizens do not need the have an ID with them when in Britain; however they need to have either ID or passport with them when travelling in the EU.

And even when crossing EU borders by car, you need to carry some sort of identification with you (ID or passport). Most of the time, you will not be stopped and not need it, but if stopped, you need to be able to show it
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
22 Jan 2020 #20
In fact, kaprys, Bartek would take us, his wife and daughter, along to Szczecin for shopping.As far as how I "entertained" myself for just two weeks or so, like any visit, I would join the family in whatever they did. As Annuszka was a teen ager and I was in my early thirties, I mostly spent time on my own, taking any of the local buses into town.

As it was intended to be a sort of language "immersion"/vacation excursion, I enjoyed discussing current events with Bartek to the extent that my Polish would allow. In addition, since it was barely just under two hours to Berlin by train, towards the last day of my stay, I took a bus into Berlin, spent several hours there, and than arrived back to Bartek's house (can't recall the name of the village to save my lifeLOL) more or less in time for podwieczorek:-)

Still in touch with the family, although for mostly family reasons, I haven't returned to Poland in so long.
kaprys 3 | 2,466
22 Jan 2020 #21
@Wincig
I was talking about Polish citizens (not Brits) who need to have an id once they turn 18 and about passports. And you don't need one if you travel within the Schengen zone. You can travel with your id.

Did I ever say you don't need a document when you travel? Of course you do but an id will do. You don't need to have a passport issued if you don't plan to travel outside the EU.

@Lyzko
Oh, I thought you said you'd spent just several hours in Szczecin but now it turns out you probably went there more often.
The trains to Berlin must have been faster in the 90s then.
Were they of Russian origin to call their daughter Annuszka? :)
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
22 Jan 2020 #22
As a matter of fact, Russian, and not German or even English, was the daughter's major at university at the time.
Her goal was to become a foreign language correspondent upon graduation:-)

When we met, she introduced herself as Annuszka.
I did drive, but not in Europe and actually train service was better than I had expected.
kaprys 3 | 2,466
23 Jan 2020 #23
@Lyzko
OK, let's finish this silly conversation as it's obvious I have always considered your stories about Poland and Poles 'slightly' far fetched so to speak.

Since in this very thread you have admitted you'd lie for your own purpose I really stopped believing what you say. Especially that it's very inconsistent: in one post you talk about spending just several hours in Szczecin, in another you say that'd you visit it by bus or your host would drive you there. Those Polish friends of yours have a teenage daughter who uses a Russian name and in another post she's already at university. And train journeys from Szczecin to Berlin obviously were shorter in the 90s than in 2020.

And these are just a few things that don't add up.

Now is it so difficult to understand that some people really need to get reliable information about Poland? So inconsistent stories from the 90s really are not helpful -at least not for them.
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
23 Jan 2020 #24
My story is no more consistent or inconsistent than any similar one which you've told concerning Brits' reactions to your English.
It's your word against theirs:-)

And yet I am decent enough not to call you a liar! Herein lies that crucial difference between us.
kaprys 3 | 2,466
23 Jan 2020 #25
@Lyzko
And what was inconsistent in my story?
Will you please remind me?
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
23 Jan 2020 #26
My question as to whether or not your story was inconsistent with the truth.
Again, if you claim that Brits in London mistook you for English because you spoke/knew it so well, who the heck am I to argue:-) If true, and I'm not doubting it is, my hat's off to ya.

Likewise, when I say that I was quite briefly in Szczecin, visiting acquaintances of my Polish teacher on the outskirts of the city, who are you to claim otherwise?
kaprys 3 | 2,466
23 Jan 2020 #27
@Lyzko
I have never claimed anyone mistook me for being English. Lol. Wth are you talking about?
Either you're taking me for somebody else or making things up having run out of arguments :)

And your story IS inconsistent. I have already explained why. And all of this comes after you admit you'd lie for your own purpose. So ....
Lyzko 25 | 7,015
23 Jan 2020 #28
Explained indeed, though surely not to anyone's satisfaction!
What you did say was that no Brits with whom you'd spoken ever criticized your English, that's something entirely different though:-)
kaprys 3 | 2,466
23 Jan 2020 #29
@Lyzko
And that's true - no one criticised my English.
Yet I have never claimed I was mistaken for a Brit.

And you're not 'anyone' :)
Lenka 3 | 2,187
23 Jan 2020 #30
Explained indeed, though surely not to anyone's satisfaction!

Definately to mine.

that's something entirely different though:-)

Exactly! So what are you on about?


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