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What are the things which cause culture shock in Poland?


zetigrek
21 Jul 2010  #1
I've read lots of massages about how "different" is life in Poland, and how difficuly is to adjust for a foreigner. But u never say what exactly u mean. Can someone give some examples?

As a person who never was abroad I have a shady idead how life can be different in countries u came from. I mean I understand that American who come to Poland is visiting different world (as I consider Americans to be mentally completely diffrenet than Poles). But Brits? Or other European nations? I always thought that there are minor diffrences among european countries.
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Jul 2010  #2
good Q, ZY..

for starters English is not the prevailing language.. no fish and chips, no haggis, beautiful girls, vodka.. lol
convex 20 | 3,978
21 Jul 2010  #3
If it's the first foray into central Europe, "dirty" seems to come up quite often. "Dysfunctional" rears its head when you try to get things done.
OP zetigrek
21 Jul 2010  #4
vodka

Most often ppl drink beer. Vodka is more when celebrating something or when doing a private party.

"Dysfunctional" rears its head when you try to get things done.

??? what's dysfunctional rears mean?
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Jul 2010  #5
??? what's dysfunctional rears mean?

bureaucracy?

rears its head means pokazuje się
OP zetigrek
21 Jul 2010  #6
aaa, dzięki ;)
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,884
21 Jul 2010  #7
well, for starters, they don't use ice in Poland! :) hahaha, kidding.

convex wrote:

If it's the first foray into central Europe, "dirty" seems to come up quite often. "Dysfunctional" rears its head when you try to get things done.

yep.

also, personal space, or lack there of in public.

lack of inconvenience in general hit me really hard, and still nags me.

another thing that hit me was the fact that nobody owns a house so i was never going from a house to another house. everyone i met in the begining, and even today, all live in tiny apts. it's rare to find someone in Wroclaw that says, "hey, i'm having a party at my HOUSE, you should come." in America, every adult owns a home, people under 30 have 100+ sq. meter apts., so that lack of space gave me a major feeling of being smothered when i first came. coupled with the language barrier, it's much stronger.

work ethic was and still is a culture shock to me.

good thread, i just hope it doesn't turn into the usual "us vs. them" argument.
mafketis 20 | 7,053
21 Jul 2010  #8
I'd say the biggest difference and the hardest for anglophones, me included, to fully come to grips with) comes under the general heading of 'rules'.

For a Brit, according to stereotypes (mostly accurate imho at the individual level), there shouldn't be too many rules*. For Polish people (IME) there need to be a lot of rules, the more the better (which is why government efforts to trim the bureaucracy are bound to fail - despite what they say, Polish people want there to be bureacracies with lots of rules.

For British people rules need to make sense and be fair. Polish people just don't care whether or not rules make sense or are fair (the reason for this in a moment).

Brits also think everybody needs to follow the rules while Poles think other people should follow them and treat the question of whether or not to follow them themselves as one of personal discretion. If you don't like a rule and think you can get around it, more power to you!

Another area is medical care. British people think most illness will naturally work themselves out and oddly enough doctors seem to think that too. The British press is full of people dieing after 6 British doctors fail to recognize some really hard to miss disease.

That happens much less often in Poland where people tend toward hypochondria and are supported in all their most dire predictions by most doctors. Anything out of the ordinary is thought to probably be dangerous and you can go to the doctor for something minor that seems obvious and you'll wind up taking 6 tests for other things and have three new prescriptions. (post operative care is also more thorough a former British colleague had a procedure done in Britain and their Polish doctor was horrified at how little follow up there was.

*I know this is not backed up by UK governments over the last 15 years or so, but I'm pretty certain that UK governments over the last 15 years or so have been purposefully trying to destroy the British state and build something different so I'm not sure if that counts.
lowfunk99 10 | 397
21 Jul 2010  #9
This is a great question.

1. cabbage on hamburgers
2. cabbage on hotdogs
OP zetigrek
21 Jul 2010  #10
n Poland where people tend toward hypochondria and are supported in all their most dire predictions by most doctors

AGREE! ;)

Polish people just don't care whether or not rules make sense or are fair (the reason for this in a moment).

Well i think its just because Poles are too artful... so that the bureaucrats have to be artful twice! ;)
king polkakamon - | 544
21 Jul 2010  #11
culture shock

Mainly the appearance of girls.You cannot understand why you were in the wrong place for so long.
smurf 39 | 1,982
21 Jul 2010  #12
Too many ads on tv for medical stuff, waaaay too many
Not enough funny ads on the tv.

Beaurocracy
and the nasty ******* that work in govt buildings

Herrings, like, seriously who had the idea to pickle a fish, fish should be fresh :-)
Err...bigos, oh man, why?

polish beer is fantastic, so are polish sausages, actually all polish food is great with the exception of herring & bigos.

Polish people dont touch each other as much as in Ireland, prob same in britain, I mean things like clapping each other on the back or hitting someone's shoulder when they tell a joke etc. or a hug, y'know it's actually ok to hug a man.

Also Poles dont really give each other the finger, or the V, which'd be fairly common at home too.

The amount of stunning looking women you have here is unbelievable, I shoulda moved here years ago.

one thing I cannot get my head around is the formal language and not being able to swear in front of older people, for me that's like a submission by treating people differently just because they're older than me and it doesn't float my boat.

Oh and women aren't treated like sex objects here like the are in Ireland and britain, I like that.

too many people wear dark & boring clothes too, nothing wrong with a bit of colour boys and girls, also this thing of white socks with shorts that ***** just nasty looking, oh and why do I see men queueing outside a solarium, wtf is that all about :-P
peter_olsztyn 6 | 1,098
21 Jul 2010  #13
For British people rules need to make sense and be fair.

very tempting

people tend toward hypochondria

yup, pushy radio/tv drug adverts :/
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Jul 2010  #14
one thing I cannot get my head around is the formal language and not being able to swear in front of older people, for me that's like a submission by treating people differently just because they're older than me and it doesn't float my boat.

it's called respect

Also Poles dont really give each other the finger, or the V, which'd be fairly common at home too.

how about the bent arm thing?

also this thing of white socks with shorts that ***** just nasty looking,

but not the socks with sandals? that's normal? lol
peterweg 36 | 2,316
21 Jul 2010  #15
This is a great question.

1. cabbage on hamburgers
2. cabbage on hotdogs

3. Cabbage with everything else. Mexican food for instance.

Having lived in Krakow for a year now I have found nothing that is a culture shock (from London). The food is a bit crap, even the expensive shops sell meat or fish that has gone off. As a big fish eater its difficult..

The state of the roads and pavements is disgusting, I've twisted my ankles several times just walking. Living in London I'm used to small apartments, but here they live in every room - no living and dining rooms (not for sleeping) like the UK. Apartments are pretty well made if a little drab on the outside.

Too many ads on tv for medical stuff, waaaay too many

And a hell of a lot of Pharmacy's. I suspect its becuase self administration is better than going to the health service.

Most other things are basically the same, just in a rather complicated language.
smurf 39 | 1,982
21 Jul 2010  #16
t's called respect

Naw, i dont really agree with ya there, you can respect someone and still swear around them.
If i wanna just say hi to my neighbour/local shopkeeper coz I've seen him everyday for the last year I wanna say Czesc and not Dzien Dobre and if I wanna complain about the weather to them I wanna say k*rwa pogoda y'know?

There's nothing wrong with swearing, it adds colour and flavour to the language

how about the bent arm thing?

I've never seen that here, isn't that an Italian thing to do? But ok, I'll start using that :-P

but not the socks with sandals? that's normal? lol

Why would anybody do that? It's horrible isn't it? You see people at home doing that too and it makes people just look like proper dorks :-)
OP zetigrek
21 Jul 2010  #17
3. Cabbage with everything else. Mexican food for instance.

You can please no cabbage and they give you a dish without cabbage ;)

Mainly the appearance of girls.You cannot understand why you were in the wrong place for so long.

Personally I dont think that in Poland there is so many pretty girls. Have no idea why guys are so overwhelmed...

Herrings, like, seriously who had the idea to pickle a fish, fish should be fresh

Norwegians?

actually all polish food is great with the exception of herring & bigos.

and I guess u forgot karp ;)

Also Poles dont really give each other the finger, or the V, which'd be fairly common at home too.

but they sometimes give so called "gest kozakiewicza". Btw is she showing the thing what i think it is or its just the coincidence?

one thing I cannot get my head around is the formal language and not being able to swear in front of older people, for me that's like a submission by treating people differently just because they're older than me and it doesn't float my boat.

Yep. Mind that in Poland we have age chauvinism very advanced. The elders thinks that we will be never as good as they were in their youth, they think that we r less intelligent, dumb **** and have no voice until turn 18 (at least).

white socks with shorts that ***** just nasty looking, oh and why do I see men queueing outside a solarium, wtf is that all about :-P

Shorts? Oh, i dint know that something wrong with that ;)

but not the socks with sandals?

Its our national symbol ;D

why do I see men queueing outside a solarium, wtf is that all about

they just want nice tan to match their new white tracksuit ;P
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Jul 2010  #18
I've never seen that here, isn't that an Italian thing to do?

not off the chin but one arm crossing through the inside of an elbow while that arm is bent.. can't think of the name for it at the moment..

Why would anybody do that? It's horrible isn't it? You see people at home doing that too and it makes people just look like proper dorks :-)

no, it's soooooo sexy. ;) :D :D

Herrings, like, seriously who had the idea to pickle a fish, ....

jooz
OP zetigrek
21 Jul 2010  #19
not off the chin but one arm crossing through the inside of an elbow while that arm is bent.. can't think of the name for it at the moment..

Gest Kozakiewicza in polish, bras d'honneur in french, gesto dell'ombrello (umbrella gesture) in italian, arm of honor in english and... banana in Brasil :|
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Jul 2010  #20
Gest Kozakiewicza in polish,

hmm.. there used to be a different name for that.. i never heard of this one..
pgtx 29 | 3,159
21 Jul 2010  #21
there used to be a different name for that..

like?
maybe it has changed? ;)
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Jul 2010  #22
like?

i dunno.. fikus? figel?

maybe it has changed? ;)

definitely has.. that was not the name that i remember.
pgtx 29 | 3,159
21 Jul 2010  #23
that was not the name that i remember.

tu sie zgina dziob pingwina... ;)
OP zetigrek
21 Jul 2010  #24
hmm.. there used to be a different name for that.. i never heard of this one..

ur kidding. Wow it seems u weren't in Poland since 1980.
U know who is Kazkiewicz, do u?
pgtx 29 | 3,159
21 Jul 2010  #25
U know who is Kazkiewicz, do u?

Kozakiewicz? pole vault jumper...
Kozakiewicz's gesture
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W%C5%82adys%C5%82aw_Kozakiewicz
smurf 39 | 1,982
21 Jul 2010  #26
Shorts? Oh, i dint know that something wrong with that ;)

haha, you know what i mean

Its our national symbol ;D

sori, i didn't mean to cause offence :P

hey just want nice tan to match their new white tracksuit ;P

please put this guy on stage he's crackin me up! :-)

not off the chin but one arm crossing through the inside of an elbow while that arm is bent.. can't think of the name for it at the moment..

Cant wait to try this out on saturday night!
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Jul 2010  #27
U know who is Kazkiewicz, do u?

lol.. you know Lato or Dayna did that too in a world cup game or something.. i couldn't find the pic.. could be wrong of course.

tu sie zgina dziob pingwina... ;)

that's not it either.. hmm
pgtx 29 | 3,159
21 Jul 2010  #28
hmm

The official response of the Polish government was that the gesture had been an involuntary muscle spasm caused by his exertion.

that's funny... :)
plk123 8 | 4,150
21 Jul 2010  #29
yeah, that's freaking hilarious. hahahaha and that was under Jaruzelski already..
Zed - | 195
21 Jul 2010  #30
I think "wał" would be the alternative name to call this gesture. One would make the gesture while saying at the same time: wała!!! (i.e., roughly: stay away from me!) I think all he meant was: "fcuk you!" The "gest Kozakiewicza" came into use during 1980 Olympics in Moscow, when the overwhelmingly Russian spectators booed Kozakiewicz and that's how he reacted to them. It was televised live: all Poland was so proud of him :-)


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