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Student from Denmark, wanting to know about Poland's culture and how it is to live in Warsaw

27 Apr 2013 #1
Hello everybody

First of all I want to say, thank you for taking your time to read what I intend to write, and in case you don't have a relevant answer please reframe from answering, since that would waste my time.

I recently have been given an Erasmus placement at a University in Warsaw, how ever as a black female muslim wearing a hijab and coming alone to the country, I just wanted to get acquainted with your culture in advance, since my aim is to learn as much as I can in the 6 months I am there.

Firstly if anyone has some short phrases in polish I can learn, that would be good to know when meeting new people, please tell me. Secondly can anyone tell me some polish customs, like taking off one's shoes or saying Sir or Mister to anyone older then yourself as a show of respect.

Thirdly if anyone has some advice on anything that might be helpful to make my stay as beneficial as posible, socially and academically then it would be greatly appreciated.

- AC
Monitor 14 | 1,820
27 Apr 2013 #2
Because of racism in Poland I don't recommend you coming here.
Polson 5 | 1,771
27 Apr 2013 #3
Wow, that's a harsh welcome.
Warsaw is a big city, there are many different people living there. And a lot of students.

AC, here's a link you may need, for a start ;)
ExperienceLife - | 4
28 Apr 2013 #4
I was genuinely scared off to go to Poland, because of what Monitor wrote..
How ever I am a generally open-minded, social and strong individual, so I just wanted to know, how big is the racism, because if it is just a stare here and there then I don't mind. Can anyone plz expand on this???
newpip - | 140
28 Apr 2013 #5
I see muslim women in Warsaw all the time. You have nothing to worry about. The racism here is like in any country. the staring is out of curiosity. Like in any country there are also extremists but these could be grouped with soccer hooligans. Same mentality and the all look the same.

monitor is an ass, don't listen to him.
ExperienceLife - | 4
28 Apr 2013 #6
Thank you newpip, I was really excited to go to Poland, so I'm happy that the issue is not as serious as Monitor made it out to be.
newpip - | 140
28 Apr 2013 #7
I see people of different nationalities all the time. There are places, like in any country, that you shouldn't go. This is not specific to Poland. It is all about enjoying your time here and making wise decisions. There is a mosque in my end of the city so I see many Muslim people. Poland is not a multicultural country but there are Vietnamese, Indian and other groups living here quite peacefully.

Don't let some idiot prevent you from coming to Warsaw. You will probably have a great time.
phtoa 9 | 236
29 Apr 2013 #8
Because of racism in Poland I don't recommend you coming here.

Harsh as it is, being a native Danish person living in Poland for the past 2 year's, I wouldn't recommend you to go here either..

Warsaw is not a nice city if your a black female wearing a Hijab.
ExperienceLife - | 4
30 Apr 2013 #9
Er du dansker?? Og hvad har du da oplevet siden du siger jeg ikke skal tage til Warsaw?? Jeg skal afleverer min ansøgning imorgen, så det ville være dejligt hvis du kunne svare ærligt, så jeg ikke ender med at tage afsted også spilder min tid....

Tak på forhånd!

If you didn't understand then ...
p3undone 8 | 1,135
30 Apr 2013 #10
Experience,Life please provide a translation for that post?English only,except in Rozmowy po Polsku.
wang - | 19
30 Apr 2013 #11
Hello about studies in Warsaw you can check this blog and opinion with students from Warsaw.

Some opinion :

1) The most surprising thing in Poland, has been the weather. I arrived during February and I waited 3 weeks to see the sun. It was disturbing because I love to take my coffee outside with the sun in the morning.

The second thing wich surprised me was the way to say "Hello" to girls. Because in my country, we kiss on the cheeks but here we have to shake hands. Gabin from France and his time in Warsaw.
Monitor 14 | 1,820
30 Apr 2013 #12
The page you linked doesn't seem to be reliable source of information, because their goal is to encourage people for studying in Poland, so they may simply not publish negative opinions. But as I wrote that I don't recommend, if you have no other option and want a little bit of risk then go for it. It should be interesting. Maybe pleasant.
Karczoch - | 4
30 Apr 2013 #13
Cześć :)
Poland is not the best place for introverts - we don't talk and smile to strangers, simply we don't trust them. But inside Poles are totally different! I write this because I had some experience with foreign students and most of them think that somebody suppose to take care of them only because they're from another country. Once we had German girl from Erasmus and she was VERY suprised that Poles from western Poland don't speak German. She didn't speak English and I'm pretty sure that her Erasmus in Poland was the worst time of her life :) The thing is that you have to articulate your needs - if you want to go out and you don't want to go alone - just ask your roommate :)

About Polish customs oms-traditions-should-know-51690/
I think that your colour of skin and your religion and your Hajib won't be a problem specially in Warsaw. If you think otherwise don't go outside, stay home - freeks are everywhere ;)

Let us know what did you decide since tomorrow you'll submit your aplication (damn you Google Translator! ;)
Wish you well.
Archyski - | 45
30 Apr 2013 #14

Take the opportunity and go to Poland. racism is not greater than in Denmark, where the Danish People's Party gets a third of all votes.

But you can expect that Poland is very homogeneous, therefor you will not see as many muslims as in the bigger cities in Denmark.

For at uddybe bedre på dansk, så er kvinder med tørklæder ikke lige så tydeligt på gadebilledet som herhjemme, men derfor eksisterer de stadig og Warszawa er om noget, en by hvor tolerance og gæstfrihed er højt, sammenlignet med landsbyer hvor man hertil møder mindre af dette. Ligesom herhjemme. Så jeg synes ærlig talt du skal tage derned, og møder du bestemte ansigtudtryk på grund af dit udseende, så hold hovedet højt og repræsenter at multikulturralismen også skal til Polen :)
nataliaklo - | 3
30 Apr 2013 #15
While it is true that some racism still lingers in Poland, it is more common in small towns and villages and since you're coming to the capital, you shouldn't experience any problems with that. Then again, I'd kinda sorta discourage you from going to the Southern Praga district (eastern bank of Vistula), things can get pretty dangerous there, even for people who don't stand out from the crowd. I've lived in Warsaw for 3 years now and I'm still a bit scared of going there.

But apart from that Warsaw is a very open city and you will surely enjoy your time here. Try to use as many Polish phrases as posible, Poles find it absolutely endearing when you try to speak Polish :)
Archyski - | 45
30 Apr 2013 #16
It's settled then, go to Warsaw :)

Eat the food, see the culture, try to say some phrases, it's hard but polish is truly one of the most beautiful language in the world, and get to know a couple of people. I always hear that poles are the most hospitable people, ones you get to know them !
Pooledogg 1 | 11
30 Apr 2013 #17
It's not an eay life in Poland for 6 months you will have a great time. everything is very cheap here. You may experience racism but there are muslims here. I first came here in 2004 to visit and when a black guy got on the bus everyone stared at him. Now there are lots of different nationalities and people from all over the world in the bigger cities. They'll surprised you're Danish though :P
Karczoch - | 4
30 Apr 2013 #18
They'll surprised you're Danish though :P

:))) Come on! We still think all French are white!
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,163
30 Apr 2013 #19
wearing a hijab

Can't you take it off ? We won't tell anyone.
ExperienceLife - | 4
1 May 2013 #20
Hi everyone, I sincerely thank you all for all the advice and I will definitely go, no doubt about it. I am already training my polish and I plan to be an 'expect when I leave Poland in February of 2014, as I love learning new languages and I seem to have a natural ability for this. I speak Danish, English, Somalian and Norwegian fluently while also knowing some Swahili, German and Turkish.. So adding Polish to this list, would be lovely.
Pooledogg 1 | 11
1 May 2013 #21
Good luck. some people can do it but it's not easy. I struggle massively especially with declination.

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