I am from Nevada, USA. I just wanted to share my honest opinion about Poland and Polish people in general. I must say that overall, after 2 years of living in Poland and several prior visits since 2017, my experience has been positive as a temporary resident American. Trying to get a temporary residency permit wasn't trouble-free with all the back-and-forth documentation, but I must say that each time, immigration officials were helpful and some went out of the way to assist me. One even said, hey, if by any chance you are not approved, which is unlikely, you can always stay 90 days, leave to a non-Schengen country and come right back for another 90 days, doing this the rest of your life.
I am a single white man, middle-aged and I found Polish ladies, in general, to be really nice. I never felt any prejudice except some people still have stereotypical information about Americans: dumb, fat, think Polish girls are easy to get, think America is the best, etc. But, that's a minority of misinformed people and sadly many Americans are ignorant and live up to stereotypes. Since I am part Italian by ancestry, I feel part European as well, at least Italy is where my bloodline comes from.
On any typical day, Polish people I meet will talk to me in Polish first. I have never seen Polish men jealous of me dating Polish ladies and I never got strange looks, even when dating women half my age. I find Polish ladies to be intelligent, well-educated, and traditional about family values and I get the impression that most after 25-30 want to marry and have a family.
There is a huge somewhat hidden LBGT population in Warsaw. I have also found that acceptance into Polish families can be challenging, especially from parents and relatives who prefer their beautiful ladies marry Polish, but while that may be the case, I never felt rejected or unwanted when attending family gatherings and wanted. Other than the language barrier, I felt comfortable and some people attempted to talk to me in English. If you dress and behave nicely, it seems Polish people give you the respect you deserve. Act like a jerk, holier-than-thou and you are ignored, but that applies anywhere.
Food is good in Poland. Customer service is 10x better than in the USA and I appreciate the fact that most of the time, employers hire competent staff who do not seem to have bad attitudes towards customers, compared to things back home. I would rate Poland's customer service as the best I have experienced in my life. Polish employers also pay great attention to detail and to the image of their business. Only once did I find a rude young female employee who lacked a bit of IQ, but even then, she was nothing compared to the crap I experienced in the USA.
Drivers are rushed, rarely give you a break when you turn your left/right signal, and act like they own the lane they are in. I find male drivers to be the worst in terms of selfishness in traffic. But. nothing compares to the road rage and rudeness you would find in most parts of the USA. I do not notice much flirting from men to women and vice-versa, maybe that's reserved for bars and clubs which I only frequented a bit in Krakow.
Speaking of Krakow, some of the most beautiful ladies are there, yet, I think that's because Krakow has a large student population between 18-25 and at this age, women tend to be beautiful just about everywhere. On a side note, I do not think Polish ladies age very well. A quick look at dating apps shows that after 40, the looks seem to change dramatically but again, I think that's worse in the USA.
I think that Poles take great care of their cities and towns. I find Poland to be a far safer place to live than the USA. I am sure it is much easier to manage 40 million people than 340 million. Plus, the benefit of no guns. I have never seen a serious homelessness problem in Poland. A few drunks here and there whom the Policja take care of unceremoniously. Speaking of Police, never had any problems even when I got pulled over for no reason once. Checked my docs, and let me go fast without any issues. They seem to be doing their job. I don't suggest an attitude with them though.
Rideshares have been great and relatively inexpensive but I bought a car and after calculations, it is cheaper for me to drive than do rideshare. Buying a car in Poland is pretty easy if you know what you are looking for. I did it all in English. Only had a bit of a problem with documentation where the dealer had wrong information that made me go back and forth to Registration at least 6 times. If you don't pay an agency to register your car, be prepared for lines and several hours of waiting. Be sure to have all the documents ready and accurate. For any minor discrepancy, you will have to go back another time.
Zabka's are everywhere.
Auto-service can be challenging but I found a good auto-mechanic that speaks some English. The auto insurance system in Poland is great. You can buy a car with insurance valid for several months, transferred to you from the previous owner. Not too bad. But I suspect full coverage is another matter. I have not had any issues with theft or vandalism. Rent can be cheap in Warsaw and Krakow but you get what you pay for. I made the mistake of renting on the cheap, about $600 per month with all bills, only to end up with noisy neighbors, a terrible parking situation, barking dogs everywhere, and drunks would pee in the elevator. You really get what you pay for. If you can afford 4000-6000 zloty in rent, you may end up in a much better setting.
Speaking of rent, you rarely find a landlord or agency that will give you a 30-day walk-out notice. In most cases, in my experience, if you break your contract, the owner will pin you to pay up the months left on the agreement unless you find a replacement. Beware. Also, in my opinion, most agencies are useless. You pay the first month, the deposit, plus the agency fee which can be a full month's rent. In most cases, they show you the flat, sign the agreement and you never see your agent again. They rarely follow up to see if you are happy, have any problems, and disappear once they get paid. Seems like the easiest money you can make, usually several thousand zlotys for little work. Again, my experience. Good luck getting 100% deposit back. There is always a reason why you can't get a full deposit.
Internet is usually very good in Poland, i.e., UPC and Orange. No complaints. I use the 1GIG fiber but only get about 600-800 with a direct wire connection. Wifi runs about 300-400, sometimes much less, but adequate. Supermarkets are fine. Shopping malls are modern and clean. Nice people, nice families, nice children, and even the teens are so well-behaved by comparison. Intelligence is praised in Poland, not stupidity and ignorance. I like that. If you earn in dollars or euros, Poland can be very attractive. I see more fancy cars in Poland than in the USA.
I see better-dressed men and women as well. I do not see very many obese people. Poland seems like a great place to retire and if you learn Polish, more power to you. It's not easy, especially if you are older. Also, most poles under the age of 35 seem to know some level of English. Poles don't generally seem to be as smiley as Americans and I have been told that smiling can come across as being fake but I am not sure that walking around not smiling or talking to any strangers deserves any special merits either.
Poles seem to be very family-oriented but I find that some kids are a lot more spoiled and whiny and I don't see too much incentive in motivating kids to become independent. Mothers and daughters seem a lot closer in Poland. Many Polish women have complained about Polish men and Polish men being Mamas' boys or wanting a wife to be like their Moms. Not sure how true this is. Also, single mothers have a bad reputation and find it really difficult to marry or date genuine partners. I have been told that Polish men can have all the sex they want and need but expect the women to be virgins to marry them. I can't say anything about the health care system as I have not had any need to use it yet, but I suspect private health care is better.
All in all, I highly recommend Poland as one of the gems in Europe. I consider Poland my second home and intend to stay, with the occasional trips to visit family and friends. I think Polish people and the country are amazing, with fewer challenges and headaches when compared to what I experienced in the USA. Again, these are my personal observations and I don't mean to offend anyone. Most things have been very positive.
Poland has a unilateral agreement with the USA for U.S. citizens only. So, basically, whether there is temp or permanent residency in process, U.S. citizens can come and go without any restriction but that applies to Poland ONLY, not the entire Schengen Zone. For example, if you do not have a stamp on your passport and you have been hanging around Poland for 2 years, upon entering or exiting Germany, they can fine you or even ban you from re-entering Schengen. You have to show that you have a pending Polish residency process to justify your overstay. Poland has an excellent relationship with the USA as an ally and U.S. citizens are not to be bothered unless they are breaking the law. Any police officer, immigration official, or border guard will verify this. Also, the U.S. has a rotating military force of over 10,000 soldiers in Poland plus military bases. Right now the U.S. is critical for both Poland and Ukraine for protection against Russia. Making life hard for visiting U.S. citizens would be bad relations. Even more so in Ukraine where the U.S. has donated over 45 billion dollars plus weapons, and Zelensky spoke before Congress. Sorry to go on a tangent but the U.S. is favored by Poland an Ukraine. Getting on U.S. citizens' case for staying more than 90 days is just not going to happen. By the way, I got this information directly from a border guard at the airport. Case in point, one time a U.S. citizen was stopped by undercover cops due to mistaken identity, the moment he disclosed he was an American, the cops apologized profusely and left him alone, not even asking to see his passport. Took his word for it. There are very strong tie between the Polish government and authorities and the U.S. especially now with the war going on next door.