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Spanish engineering student is moving to Bialystok - cost of life and information about the city.


Manpaslop 1 | 7
20 Sep 2015 #1
Hello, my name is Manuel and I am a 24 years old Spanish engineering student. I will move on October to Bialystok to work as an intern for a local company.

I will get paid around 500€/month and I'd like to know if this is enough to live there. (I have been told that I can get a place in a dorm for about 100€/month.

Also, I'd like to know what do Polish people think of Spaniards and if I will have any problem to communicate, because I dont speak a word of polish.

How is Bialystok? What can you tell me about they city? is it a good place to live?

If anyone from there wants to go out for a drink or something just say it here!

Regards,

Manuel
InPolska 9 | 1,805
20 Sep 2015 #2
Hi! Have you already a dorm room? If not, be aware that places are very scarce and students need to reserve well in advance (the academic year is about to start). I also know that some students have prority because of their parents' low incomes. You cannot just arrive and get a room. Now, check private accommodation but of course it'll be much more expensive than university dorms. Good luck! :)
OP Manpaslop 1 | 7
20 Sep 2015 #3
I've been told by the hiring comapny that they will handle that for me.
DominicB - | 2,707
20 Sep 2015 #4
Agree with InPolska. There is a huge difference between being told that you can get a dorm room and actually having a dorm room reserved already. If you don't, chances are extremely low that you will be able to find one after you arrive unless your company has a special agreement. Private accommodation will cost substantially more.

With a dorm room for 100 Euro, you would have enough left over to cover basic expenses for a student lifestyle. If you have to pay for private accommodation, it will mean that you will have significantly less disposable income, but probably enough to survive if you are very frugal.

A lot has to do with what you expect to get out of your internship, and what your plans for the future are. If the only thing you are going to get out of it is a line in your CV, then it's probably not worth it. If, however, you make valuable contacts within the industry who can help you in your future career, then go for it. However, there are almost certainly better options available for you to do that, and I advise that you explore them.

As for language, people your age, especially students, will be able to communicate at least in basic English. Older people not at all. Poles consider Spaniards "exotic", but in a generally good way.

Bialystok has about 300,000 people, but it has a very strong provincial small-town feel to it. Personally, I sort of like it, but if you are expecting big city life like Warsaw, Wrocław or Kraków, you will be in for a shock. As a student, though, you should find life quite tolerable and perhaps even enjoyable, depending on how assertive you are and how aggressive you are about approaching people and becoming friends with them. Poles are rather reserved about breaking the ice with foreigners, so a lot depends on how willing you are to make the first move. As long as you are not the shy and reserved type, you'll do just fine.
Roger5 1 | 1,443
20 Sep 2015 #5
Manuel, Białystok university offers 'English with Spanish' studies. PM me when you get settled here and I'll introduce you to someone in the department. PM me sooner if you want specific information about the city.
Jardinero 1 | 402
21 Sep 2015 #6
what do Polish people think of Spaniards

Most people, at least those following football a bit, will at least have heard of (Real) Madrid and (FC) Barcelona. But expect most people to be quite ignorant about the vast regional differences (so if you were, for instance, Gallician, be patient and ready to explain), not to mention politics or culture (corrida and flamenco maybe)... Most people do not realise Castellano is just one of the Spanish languages - but having said that, the good news is that it seems to be gaining popularity.

How is Bialystok? What can you tell me about they city? is it a good place to live?

Unfortunately, IMHO the town itself has probably got to be the most boring, provincial and depressing city for size in Poland. And cold winters, too. On the bright side, there are great nature escapes available all around the region. Also, recent grants form the EU have improved the city's road network - it has recently ranked #1 in terms of "driver friendliness" of all the 16 voivodship capital cities in PL.

Good luck with all!
Roger5 1 | 1,443
21 Sep 2015 #7
the most boring, provincial and depressing city for size in Poland

Białystok may not have as many clubs, museums, theatres, etc. as the bigger cities, but boring? Students rate it as a good place to live and study. It has lots of clubs, with regular student nights, well-regarded theatres, two multiplex cinemas, a brand new opera house (I'm going to 'Carmen' later this month), a fine professional philharmonic orchestra, a good selection of restaurants and cafes, and plenty of green spaces. When young people do get bored with the city, Warsaw is a couple of hours away, and when they've finished upgrading the track (next year?) the journey will be just over an hour. For its size Białystok is not a bad place. The most important thing is for Manuel to find friends. Let's face it, Las Vegas would be boring if you're alone.
DominicB - | 2,707
21 Sep 2015 #8
For its size Białystok is not a bad place.

Except for the polar bears wandering the streets covered in five meters of snow, of course! And those pesky penguins! And that's in July! Peak woolly mammoth season starts in September!

But seriously, it does have its charm, especially in the spring and summer. It's not Radom or Sosnowiec by a long stretch, An inventive and socially assertive student who's open and curious about the world could do a lot worse (Bochum and Coventry come to mind). The key, as you said, is making friends. You have to have someone to huddle together with to conserve body heat in the eleven-and-a-half month-long Siberian winter!
OP Manpaslop 1 | 7
21 Sep 2015 #9
Thanks everyone for your kind answers. Is there any website to look for share appartments to rent a room? (in case I dont get a place in a dorm).

Thanks again
Roger5 1 | 1,443
21 Sep 2015 #10
You said earlier that the company were going to find you a place. You should leave the problem in their hands. 2000 PLN is very little money. If you rent in the private sector, you are going to spend everything on accommodation. If you were here, you might be able to find a flat share with students, but from Spain this would be very difficult to organise. The company knows they are paying peanuts. If they want you, they'll find something.
Jardinero 1 | 402
21 Sep 2015 #11
Is there any website to look for share appartments to rent a room

olx.pl/nieruchomosci/mieszkania/wynajem/q-bialystok/
but seems to be in POlish only...
OP Manpaslop 1 | 7
21 Sep 2015 #12
2000 PLN is very little money.

Is it really 500€ a low salary in Bialystok for an internship? In Sevilla, where I am from, with higher prices, intern earn 400-500€.

Regards,

Manuel
Jardinero 1 | 402
21 Sep 2015 #13
500€ is not low - what field is it in, if not a secret?
OP Manpaslop 1 | 7
21 Sep 2015 #14
I will be working as an intern in an engineering company that provides heating solutions & components.

Job description:

Intern will be responsible for building strong relationship with current and new partners abroad. Intern will represent the company during negotiations with potential partners and during international fairs and exhibitions. Intern will be responsible for correspondence with partners (write commercial offers, etc). Intern will be responsible for commercial transactions and serve customers from participant country. Intern will be responsible for creating market research and analysis of modern heating and cooling solutions market.

Intern will prepare marketing materials needed for the company promotion. Intern schould have technical background for getting to know well companies products. When intern will back form internship still will work for the company. Intern will have opportunity to run XXXXX representative office in his/her mother country.
Jardinero 1 | 402
21 Sep 2015 #15
500€ should suffice as long as you plan your expenses... If you're coming from Sevilla for the winter, one final word of advice: dress warm! Although the winters in Poland in recent rears have been mild... Buena suerte!
DominicB - | 2,707
21 Sep 2015 #16
If you get the dorm room for 100 Euro, then you will have enough to live a frugal student lifestyle, with a modicum of student life comfort, even. If you have to rent a private apartment, then there is no point in coming to Poland at all. You will barely have enough left over to survive, if that. And finding a room in a shared student apartment is quite difficult for foreigners who do not speak Polish.

It all depends on whether you actually have that dorm room, or not. Do not leave Spain without an absolute guarantee of this from your company. Don't be naive and assume that they will just take care of this. If they don't, then you would probably not be able to afford to stay in Poland, and if you do, you are going to have to be careful with every penny. You could do it, but it certainly isn't going to be much fun, especially during the depressing winter.
Jardinero 1 | 402
21 Sep 2015 #17
Yes, I was going to suggest, since your written English seems fine, why not try the UK?
Lyzko 45 | 9,477
21 Sep 2015 #18
Manuel,

What are your plans for learning at least basic Polish? Kinda tough not to have even a rudimentary knowledge of the target language before moving clear across the continent:-) Contemporary Poles will doubtless want to try out their basic English on you, but without knowing what they're really saying/thinking, I'd advise you not to think you can rely solely on English or Spanish!

Buena suerte/Powodzenia,
Marek
OP Manpaslop 1 | 7
21 Sep 2015 #19
If you get the dorm room for 100 Euro, then you will have enough to live a frugal student lifestyle, with a modicum of student life comfort, even. If you have to rent a private apartment, then there is no point in coming to Poland at all.

I have lived in Sevilla all my student life with 400€ a month, and rent costed me 200€ so I refuse to think that I cant live with 500€ euros in Bialystok:

Consumer Prices in Bialystok are 24.41% lower than in Sevilla
Consumer Prices Including Rent in Bialystok are 29.66% lower than in Sevilla
Rent Prices in Bialystok are 45.69% lower than in Sevilla
Restaurant Prices in Bialystok are 45.94% lower than in Sevilla
Groceries Prices in Bialystok are 31.31% lower than in Sevilla
Local Purchasing Power in Bialystok is 24.41% lower than in Sevilla

numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Spain&country2=Poland&city1=Sevilla&city2=Bialystok

I am doing this internship because:

A) Get international working experience.
B) Opportunity to set up and run an office of the company in my country, for Spain and Hispanoamerica.

Why do you have such a depressive opinion of this plan?

What are your plans for learning at least basic Polish?

I will try to learn basic Polish once I am there.

P.S.: I will get to Bialystok on 4th of October, I mean, I am not deciding whether I will go or not, I am going :D
Lyzko 45 | 9,477
21 Sep 2015 #20
Once again best of luck to you, companero! You're going to need it. I'm pleased to see you've decided to "take the plunge" ( as we say here in the States) and learn some Polish. Even a simple "Dzień dobry!" (!Buenos dias!) etc. will take you a long way.

Poles, except the most wrongheadedly nationalistic, scarcely expect the average foreigner to speak their wonderfully intricate language, so any attempts in that direction are always greatly appreciated:-) Unlike certain other nationalities, if you make mistakes, you'll hardly be laughed at or belittled, you'll only garner the respect of the Poles.
Jardinero 1 | 402
21 Sep 2015 #21
There are many perpetually pessimistic types on this forum in case you haven't noticed already... you will be fine, you are not ging to Bhutan - in case you were really unhappy, you can always pack up and catch a coach home the same day...
DominicB - | 2,707
21 Sep 2015 #22
First of all, when comparing cost of living between cities, you have to remember that you are comparing the cost of living for a native Spaniard in Seville to that of a native Pole in Białystok. But you are not a native Pole. You don't speak the language and you don't know the ways that native Poles save money on living costs. You don't have any friends or family here, or any network whatsoever. That means that life for you will cost substantially more than for a Pole.

You're also forgetting that you are not in Poland. If you have to pay for your travel to and from Poland, you have to deduct that amount from your monthly salary. And you are going to have to buy proper winter clothes, too. While I was exaggerating in jest about the polar bears and penguins, winter in Białystok is a lot more harsh than winter in Seville, to say the least. The cost of those clothes also has to be deducted from your earnings.

Believe what you want, but you're getting advice from native Poles and foreigners who have lived in Poland for a long time. I lived there twelve years myself.

The third thing you are ignoring completely is, like I said before and Jardinero pointed out, that there are almost certainly better opportunities available to you in the richer countries of Western Europe. It would definitely be worthwhile exploring these.

On 2000 PLN a month, you are certainly not going to be living the high life. If your goals are that important to you, then you will probably be able to tolerate spending a year if you have that dorm room for sure, and, if you cannot find anything better in a richer country, then go for it. If not you don't get the dorm room, there is a very high chance that you will not be able to tolerate it, and chances are high that you will leave Poland after a month or two.

Personally, I would take the time to explore better opportunities in richer Western countries. But you have to decide for yourself if what you will get out of the internship is worth the sacrifice.
Marsupial - | 877
22 Sep 2015 #23
Hi Manuel I live in Australia and just In my area I know 3 people who got their qualifications in poland as well as experience. One is a ceo earns heaps drives ridiculous cars all that, heading up ozzie company after running two in poland. Another is a nurse in a hospital not far from my place she had to learn english in addition. The last owns a little shop complex with 7 shops in it which get rented. But yeah you will probably learn nothing lol.
OP Manpaslop 1 | 7
22 Sep 2015 #24
First of all, when comparing cost of living between cities, you have to remember that you are comparing the cost of living for a native Spaniard in Seville to that of a native Pole in Białystok.

A friend of mine is living in krakow, and I know a girl that spent her Erasmus year with me in Milan that is from bialystok. And I agree with you, the first couple of months you are in a new place you always spend more but I have lived in several different places I have always managed to make friends fast, I am a sociable person.

You're also forgetting that you are not in Poland. If you have to pay for your travel to and from Poland, you have to deduct that amount from your monthly salary.

I agree I will have to pay for the plane, but I have money already. I am not going to Poland for the salary, of course not. I am going to get some more international working experience, and because the company offered me to set up and run an office in Spain for Spainish and Hispano-American market after the 6-months internship

Personally, I would take the time to explore better opportunities in richer Western countries. But you have to decide for yourself if what you will get out of the internship is worth the sacrifice

I have already spent time working in the USA, living in UK and Italy, I have made an internship at General Motors, I mean, I do not plan to stay forever in Poland, I just like to travel and visit new countries and I think It will be an enrichment experience.

I have plenty of time of working in western countries after it.

I even have better paid offers here in Spain which I have turned down because I like going out of my comfort zone because I think that is what makes you grow as a person.

Thanks for you answers,

Regards,

Manuel
Jardinero 1 | 402
22 Sep 2015 #25
I know a girl ... from Białystok

Well, why didn't you mention that in the first place? Even better, if there's a way she or her friends can help you out if needed, there's no need to worry further...

the company offered me to set up and run an office in Spain for Spainish and Hispano-American market after the 6-months internship

Sounds really interesting - let me know in case you needed a business partner...

I have already spent time working in the USA, living in UK and Italy, I have made an internship at General Motors...
...I like going out of my comfort zone because I think that is what makes you grow as a person.

Glad to hear - you will be fine wherever you go, be it only because of your positive attitude.

Please let us know how your impressions.
Billy106
22 Sep 2015 #26
So the company hires a student as an intern for 6 months on minimum wage and proceeds to let them run their entire Spainish and Hispano-American setup. Can anyone else smell fish?
OP Manpaslop 1 | 7
22 Sep 2015 #27
I am not confident that it would happend, but I dont have reasons to doubt it since it is a big company and it is owned by a bigger company from one of the most "serious" countries in Europe.

Anyways, my floor is that I get away with 6 months of international working experience which is good and my ceiling is pretty high dont you think?

I dont think I am going to lose anything.

Also the offer is for graduates, but I only have left to do my final thesis so they agreed that it was acceptable.
Marsupial - | 877
23 Sep 2015 #28
You will learn heaps, go for it I say and don't look back. You will experience new people, culture, weather, food, arse and lot's more. Or you can stay at home, drink the same coffee at same place in Seville.
Jardinero 1 | 402
23 Sep 2015 #29
Again,nothing to worry about, the biggest inconvenience will probably be the weather factor - if not cold, then humid, gloomy and foggy from November. through March... but for someone coming from Andalusia that could actually be an experience...
Roger5 1 | 1,443
23 Sep 2015 #30
if not cold, then humid, gloomy and foggy from November.

Jardinero, I don't know how extensive your experience of living in Białystok is, but what you describe is not something I recognise, apart from the cold. Why should this region be any more humid, gloomy or foggy than Warsaw, which is two hours west? I can't remember the last time I saw fog in the city. As for gloomy, it's gloomy when it's cloudy, and the region doesn't get any more cloud than anywhere else in Poland. In fact, due to the better atmospheric conditions here, autumn and winter are a lot brighter than in bigger cities.

Manuel just needs to go shopping for warm clothing when it gets cold. There's no bad weather; just bad clothes.


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