Are you dreaming of living in Poland ? Our interview with a French expatriate will give you an idea of the way of life in that country.
If you are tempted to experience life in Poland, this guy will just give you his best advices.
Where are you from ?
From France, close to Lyon's region.
What was the reason for your decision to leave your native country ?
I felt dissatisfied in France, particularly because of the general atmosphere which I find mediocre, too sad and the lack of opportunities to find a job.
Why did you choose Poland ?
I discovered this country during a road trip with a friend. I first discovered Wroclaw (I challenge you to pronounce the name of this city correctly without help !) and then Krakow. I quickly appreciated the security, the calm and the beautiful urban centers.
What kind of expatriate are you ?
Let's say that I like to have my habits in a city but still discover the rest of the country, including the countryside.
What strategy do you recommend ? Finding a job before leaving or after ?
I recommend first to visit the country to see if you like it, to ask questions to the natives about everyday life before eventually looking for a job there.
What would you have done differently ?
I'm not sure...
What have you learned about yourself ?
That I am more resourceful than I imagined ! Even if I still need to make progress on some things.
What have you learned about Poland and Poles ?
Their country has developed well, but they often keep a rather old traditional European side that is not unpleasant.
What stereotype about Poland can you now reject ?
I think that many Poles may seem cold at first glance. But once you get to know them and especially during the festive moments, they change a lot and are much more friendly.
After how long did you feel comfortable and integrated ?
Even after two years of expatriation, there can still be awkward situations. However, I think that after my 4th tourist stay I was already pretty well established. I've been talking with these people and it's true that knowing someone and being invited to parties and events makes things easier.
In which other country would you like to move to ?
I have no idea. At the moment, I don't see myself living anywhere else but in Krakow.
Did you have a language preparation before leaving ?
Not at all ! I was speaking mostly in English. Alas, I'm going to confirm a cliché about the French : after two years, I think I have an A1 level in Polish, knowing the basics. I should make more linguistic efforts...
How do you manage to communicate in Poland ?
English B1 is sufficient for people under 50 years old who often speak not too badly. Otherwise, online translator...
Some anecdote about the language and your initial communication difficulties ?
I told a Polish woman I met in a bar in Krakow that I had gone to Wroclaw. Of course, I pronounced it as it was for a French and she didn't understand anything. She ended up laughing when I wrote her the name. For information, it's pronounced "Vrlotsouav"!
What useful sentence can you teach us ?
Dzień dobre: hello (djiene dobre)
Dziękuję : thank you (djiene kouyé)
About the language barrier, any advice ?
Don't be ashamed and try to express yourself in spite of everything, even if you feel shy.
Did you take language classes once you got there ? In what form ?
No, I confess that I simply learned through conversation with native people.
What do you think about learning in immersion ?
I think it's probably the best way to learna language. I had already been in immersion with host families in England and it's true that the level increases thanks to that.
What about social life in Poland ?
Restaurants and bars are very popular in Poland. Outside of work, it is mostly where you can hang out. If you are invited to a Polish wedding, hold on and be brave, because the vodka is flowing and the party lasts all night long, even over several days sometimes !