Living in Poland can be a great adventure, but it also has its challenges, for both foreigners and locals. Choosing to relocate to Poland, especially if you don’t have Polish roots or connections and know nothing about the country, will likely involve a steep learning curve and adjustment.
What works in Poland and how do you build relations here? Deal With Culture offers you 5 quick yet important tips to consider before making the move.
Don’t get discouraged
Poles can be a bit bizarre, but just like any other nation is has its ups and downs.
What you need to get used to is that irony and sarcasm rule. Once I asked Polish people what advice they would offer to a foreigner who thinks of relocating to Poland. In their answers I received many sarcastic comments such as:
“I would advise a foreigner who desires to move to Poland to seek psychiatric help first.”
“Make sure you really want to live here. I haven’t seen a more racist country.”
Apart from indulging themselves is complaining and gossiping, Polish people can be quite bitter. They seem to be unable to enjoy the success of others. They also have a unique ability of finding what is wrong in every single thing. Luckily that applies to only a certain group of Poles and it would be an unfair generalization to claim that all of polish people think this way.
The longer I lived abroad and the more countries I visited, the more I appreciated Poland. I also saw more and more positive aspects of living here. Such perspective is shared by other people with international living experience.
Learn polish language and make an effort to speak, even if you make mistakes.
Even if you fail to speak correctly, you will win the hearts of Polish people.
Being a foreigner in Poland and not being able to speak polish has its bright sides. For example, when stopped by the police for speeding you are likely to get away with it, as most of the policemen do not speak English. Nevertheless, the majority of situations like bank visits, government offices etc. speaking the local language will be hugely beneficial.
Patience is not only a virtue but also your ally.
Polish bureaucracy will test your limits and your patience. Foreigners who have been brought up with its system claim though it was worth it and you shouldn’t give up too soon.
In order to ease the pain of incoming foreigners more consultancies appear on the market offering help with organizing the residence permit.
“A foreigner should be familiar with residence regulations in Poland. It may be difficult to familiarize yourself with polish laws without ability to speak and read in Polish. “ – Monika Stojek, Expatriada- relocation expert
Poles have a unique way of building relationships
The way of building relationships with polish people will heavily depend on what social class the person derives from, what is their background, education, profession and exposure. In certain circles the best way of building bonds is mutual consumption of strong liquor such as vodka, in other taking part in corporate and trade events such as conferences and trade shows.
Social media is a great way to stay in touch, but initial face to face contact is mandated. Nevertheless social media platforms are widely popular. Groups on LinkedIn or Facebook will allow you to meet likeminded people. Poland is a dynamic and changing society, what works is observation, active participation, being open to ask questions and not being afraid to make mistakes.
Relocate to Poland – it will change the way you see the world
For those who come from Western European countries, USA, Scandinavia or Middle East, the cost of living will be a pleasant surprise.
“That’s the only country where I can buy beer with coins”- I heard once from a man who arrived to Poland from Kuwait for a short holiday break.
“I come to Poland once a year to take up a series of esthetic treatments. It’s a wonderful place. In Norway I could never afford such an expense.”- Eira
Foreigners who have been living in Poland for a minimum of 6 months agree that it’s a good place to live, reasonably priced, fairly safe, offering good education, art and culture scene and beautiful nature and historical sites. Foreign entrepreneurs appreciate a potential in Poland and in its people, who may take a bit longer to get to know better, yet it’s totally worth it.