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Working in Poland without speaking Polish

26 Mar 2015 #61
Yes of course there are lots of places in Poland where they only speak english and have english speaking bosses
But you might find they still only want Polish people too fill these jobs, regardless of your skills. From what I have seen even if you were the last person on earth, the polish culture is too rather send a polish person for training. I guess with all the invaders from years before, the culture is to oppose
27 Mar 2015 #62
I've been served by a few waiters in Poland whose Polish wasn't great or even non-existent. Mostly they were from the country of the restaurant's main cuisine i.e. Indian, Spanish, Italian. There really is a chance you will get something. Don't pay too much attention to the naysayers, but it would be very good to learn some Polish vocab. Come and see but don't put all your eggs in one basket and if it doesn't work out hop back on the plane.
Lyzko 33 | 7,988
27 Mar 2015 #63
Just to reiterate, there are doubtless tons of jobs in ANY country one can get without knowing the national language! 'Happens here in the States every friggin' day, e.g. the local coffee shop worker who knows only Spanish etc....

Thing is, without knowing, say Polish in Poland, you're simply left out of the rest of society!

But if you're happy living in isolation, congregating with other Yanks, Brits or Aussies, whatever floats yer boat, dude:-)
JollyRomek 7 | 481
27 Mar 2015 #64
Thing is, without knowing, say Polish in Poland, you're simply left out of the rest of society!

How would you know that or come to that conclusion? Seeing that you are based in the U.S., as you have said yourself, would that not be a hard judgement to make?
Lyzko 33 | 7,988
27 Mar 2015 #65
Yes, but I speak the national language! Those ex-pats who live in Poland and don't are left out, period:-)

Perhaps if one is simply travelling on business, being met by a US-pickup service at Modlin Airport and then shuttled to the Warsaw Hilton, or something, so as to avoid contact with the locals, then I'd say for the purposes of sheer practicality, "No reason to know Polish!".

This is though an isolated example. Other than that, I reiterate adamantly that working in a foreign country (even for a flagship firm from the home country or a multi-national) should make it incumbent upon the employee to learn at least a modicum of the language, basic phrases or daily expression etc.
JollyRomek 7 | 481
28 Mar 2015 #66
Lyzko, I have lived abroad for 15 years in different European countries. When i lived in the French speaking part of Switzerland, I did not speak French yet i did not feel excluded. When i lived in the Netherlands, I did not feel excluded (although for me as German it was easy to learn Dutch). When I lived in Czech Republic, I did not feel excluded. When I lived in Greece, I did not feel excluded. And now, that i live in Poland, I do not feel excluded from society. My knowledge of the Polish language is rather poor (even after 3 years) and I have never felt not to be part of society. On the contrary. Poles are very welcoming and happy to to include you, even invite you to their families. You do not have to speak the language to part of society. The only way to be excluded from society in Poland is if you chose to be excluded yourself.
Lyzko 33 | 7,988
28 Mar 2015 #67
The question is, JollyRomek, were you there on business or purely pleasure? In the latter instance, there's some justification for what you said. Most of us err on the side of taking the path of very least resistance:-) The greater the effort however indoubitably yields more rewarding results in the long run!
JollyRomek 7 | 481
28 Mar 2015 #68
were you there on business or purely pleasure?

I assumed that when i said "lived" it would have been self-explanatory. I have managed to integrate into Polish society without knowing the language (or at least not knowing it very well). I even visit the theater and don't understand anything. Yet, it is pleasure for me to go and part of integrating. As I said, if you don't speak the language it does not mean you have to live in exclusion from society.
Lyzko 33 | 7,988
28 Mar 2015 #69
Hmmm, sort of a fool's paradise, if you'll gently allow me for saying so. I might leave for Hawaii tomorrow, basking beneath the palms, a cool drink in my hand, azure waters lapping at my feet and feel as if this were heaven on earth. Were I though to show serious and respectful interest in Hawaian culture, apart from her touristic blandishments, I would probably want to learn something of the language and engage in true communication with her people in THEIR native tongue, not mine, in order to derive some lasting benefit from the experience.

If you though prefer to sit on the sidelines as life in Poland goes by, enjoy her food and entertainment, while letting others do the understanding for you, I guess what's your pleasure is your privilege!


If your partner speaks no German (or even little English) and you even less Polish, seems to me, you're looking for a concubine, rather than a serious relationship:-) Just my two cents worth, that's allLOL
JollyRomek 7 | 481
28 Mar 2015 #70
I would probably want to learn something of the language

Of course! That's part of it. But it is impossible to learn the language of every country you work in if you work here and there. However, I do my best to use the little Polish i know in every day life.

in order to derive some lasting benefit from the experience.

You see, I do not know if I am here for the long-haul. I am in Poland now. Maybe for one more year, maybe two, maybe three maybe for the rest of my live. I do not know how long my Poland stay will last for. But if i ever realize that my stay here will be longer than my working contract indicates, i might put in an extra effort to learn the language properly. Until then, I get by with what I know and still enjoy being part of society as much as the Polish people, who welcome me into their midst, enjoy to speak English to me while teaching me a bit more Polish.

If your partner speaks no German (or even little English) and you even less Polish

Why would you assume that every foreigner going to Poland goes to Poland for a girl? There are plenty of other reasons to move to Poland.

But, when i lived in Holland i dated a Scottish girl. For the first three weeks I didn't have a clue what she was saying to me. Perhaps that was the reason why we got on so well. She could talk and I would just be a good listener........
Lyzko 33 | 7,988
28 Mar 2015 #71
On another note, when I first had any dealings with Polish people, I couldn't speak a syllable of the language either, and so relied on German. Many did not know English. I met a client from Poznań aka Posen and said to me in German that he wished to "absprechen" (odmówić/odmawiać) our appointment for the following day. Thinking he meant "to firm up" or "confirm" as in German, I arrived at the appointed spot, at the appointed hour, but of course he never showed. As the Polish expression means "absagen" (to cancel) in German, the guy figured he was breaking our engagement, rather than confirming it.

Needless to say, there was equal embarrassment on both our sides!

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