Why living in Poland is like living in Hollywood

Poland the Hollywood of Europe

Many Poles are puzzled why I am living in Poland. Poles love Poland. Poland is a great country. But why would a foofy American from Boston live in Poland? Some Poles, but certainly not all, dream of the converse, to live in NYC, Boston or Hollywood.
Besides having a Polish family connection, wanting to learn Polish, among other reasons, I live in Poland because to me this is like living in Hollywood for them. Yes living in Krakow is like living in Hollywood. Its far away from what I know, exotic, and a different culture experience. Do we have Nowa Huta in Boston? No. Do we have ‘milk bars’ in Boston no. Living is in Poland is very different from Boston.  All the things the Poles take for granted is something fascinating and exotic and outside the ordinary for me.  It would be like for them to move to Hollywood.

My version of Hollywood

Polish people often imagine America as a country where everybody’s  rich or at least richer than Poles and more sophisticated – take any TV show where an average family lives in a nice, spacious house and for 16-th birthday kids get their cars. Now when I am back in Florida I like to take day trips with my wife and daughter. When we were driving through Clay County I told my Polish spouse that it’s pretty nice out there to which she replied :”Oh Mark please don’t make me move here just to prove how much I love you”. She said that not because the place is off the beach or it’s a country side, she said that because the place is far from civilization, houses are often mobile and if you don’t have a car there is no way to go anywhere.

May in Polish countryside

Polish girls and guys sometimes criticize one another over some wardrobe trifle – sure thing I do see Polish man waking in sandals and socks or girls wrapping themselves in scarfs or wearing calves – it is appealing for female but not male part of the population, but apart from this observation, let me tell you, Polish people dress very well. It’s not only when you walk through the big city but even in the countryside any day you see that most people do pay attention to their look – younger, older, they put thought into it. When Polish people come to America they imagine that Americans look like Hollywood actors in hots seen on tabloids – stylish handbags, perfect hair, oversized sunglasses, and although dressed in a regular t-shirt and jeans, carrying around they non-fat non-sugar latte, everybody knows that certain amount of money is behind that outfit. Well, let me tell you how wrong you are. In the middle of a day without any distinct reason, you will see girls shopping in whatever pajamas. And it’s not because it’s late in the evening or early in the morning and they run out of some crucial item, it’s because they don’t care. Rarely, even in crowded Disney, you will see well dressed Americans – most people are size L+. I understand that buying stylish clothes can be difficult but you don’t have to give up on yourself because of the size. What do however wonders me, is the amount of people using wheel chairs, one would think that we have a major percentage of disable people in this country but the truth is they are nothing more but overweight . It is a puzzle to me why do people use this wheel chairs instead of just take their chance to move – in theme parks you do have to walk a lot, so if you stay for few days it would be a great opportunity to exercise and lose some pounds. In Poland when you see disable people you will notice that their problems don’t come from uncontrollable but socially approved eating.

You are not seeing things, Poland really like Hollywood in the most positive way

Every country has its problems and its advantages. When you are an outsider though, I assure – you will have some fun identifying both.

Author: Mark Biernat

I live in with family between two worlds, US and Europe where I create tools for language learning. If you found my site you probability share my passion to be a life long learner. Please explore my site and comment.

126 thoughts on “Why living in Poland is like living in Hollywood”

  1. It is not very understandable for me, why people enjoy my town (Kraków) and my country (Poland). Besides cheap… everything, it’s dirty, laud and the traffic is very problematic. Especially now, with all this roadways repair. From my point of view, Poland s. High costs of living, low income. Almost nothing to offer to the young people. Bureaucracy kills every good idea.
    After 2nd World War and Soviet regime there is still a lot to change and improve in every single field.

    I feel as if someone played a joke on me. Why birth determines people’s lives? Why wasn’t I given a chance to be born in some other country, yes why not in NYC? Sometimes I am just ashamed I’m the Polish citizen, we do not have a lot to be proud of. Except fof Shopin, Sklodowska-Curie, Walesa, John Paul II… Oh and look! 3/4 of them lived abroad, far away from their motherland.

    And our government… People pecome politicians just to be rich and famous, with some exceptions of course, but still, we should soak the experience from the western countries, because they succeeded. Smaller and poorer country – Slovakia or Czech Republic are doing a lot more better than we…

    I could go on and on like this, but I don’t want to waste your preciuos time, dear reader:)

    Best Wishes for the author!

    PS: No iTunes Store, no iPhone and pricy Macs and iPods 🙁

    1. Joanna you just forgot one thing that Poland it will be always perfect. It has the most beautiful, sweet and interesting women of the world. The perfect girls for love and marriage. So everything else does not matter, at least for me.

      Dimitris From Athens

    2. How disappointing, Joanna! It took you only a few words within first few lines to come across negative and complaining, with the attitude ‘ the grass is greener everywhere else but where I live’. This is one of those negative things so characteristic for the Poles. We have tendency to be martyrs.
      I assure you, the grass can be greener wherever you live, if you water it. If you are unhappy in Poland, for whatever reason, move, you are not a tree! And really these days moving around, especially in Europe, it isn’t an issue. I wonder what you would say if you had lived in communism, when getting a passport in order to go abroad, was a challenge and a half! But remember, things are hardly ever free and life is not an American movie. I wasn’t happy in Poland, also for the reasons given above, our mentality is a little bit depressing…so I decided to change it. I knew, however, from the very beginning, that I have to work hard, and I have been for the last 9 years, to progress and achieve my goals. But I still believe that our country has many great things about it, the history, geography, culture, that I will always cherish. Every country has its problems, unemployment, poverty, crime etc. and everywhere there are people who complain about it, and if you ask people in any country at any given time, many of them will say that their government is rubbish, no matter which side it represents, left, right or the middle, because it’s easier, it’s almost a ‘comfort zone’. If i was waiting for the government, any government, to make me happy and rich, I would be waisting my time. Also, waiting for someone to appear unexpectedly in your life to make you rich and comfortable, is usually based on fiction. You may, of course, desire this as a way of living, and you might be very lucky, if that’s what you want and what ‘happiness’ means to you, but I suggest, from my own experience, that you use your skills and abilities to built and achieve what you want and look for happiness in non materialistic things. Try to try, before you say it’s impossible. I am far from being an optimist, I am rather someone what one would call a realist, I have my frustration and had my failures but I’m not deluded and I know I can either give up and stay where I am, being miserable or I can live the way I want. It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s damn hard, but depending on others, remaining idle and waiting for things to happen or be done for us, is even harder….you may be waiting a long time for nothing. Save yourself time and disappointment. Good luck!

      1. I was born in Germany and I dislike Germany. I would prefer to live in Danzig Poland, it’s so beautiful there. Polish people are not so arrogant like Germans. Don’t thing so bad about Poland, your country is much better that you think. Germany is dictatorship called democracy, Poland is a true democracy called post communist country.

        Polish wages would be much higher, if Polish government would fix polish zloty 1:1 with Euro or USD.

    3. Joanna, it’s those kind of people like you that are making the country (Poland) not do so great like the other countries you named. People like you are leading the country, for the same reasons that you said but also another yet vital reason, they are not patriotic. If a true (Polish) patriot was president of the country and was running the country then everything would’ve been much better, Poland would have ran smoother. It also hurts me to hear that you are ashamed of being a Polish citizen, to have Polish blood run through your veins. Clearly of what I’ve seen in your comment is that you don’t know much of Poland’s history, if you had any clue of what Poland once was (and i hope it will be once more)and what it went through and what it had then you would says other wise.
      Actually if you’re going to say things like that then you might as well keep them to yourself and not say them in public because if you do and you meet someone like me then I hope you are a good runner and you manage to get away alive. In other words Shut up. Have a nice mothering day whoever you are.
      PS. Don’t even call yourself a pole or that you’re even Polish.

    4. I can’t believe you say those things about your own country. I was traveling around Europe last year as I was an student in France. The country I felt more at home was in Poland! People are very nice (besides what some thing, polish are very welcoming), guys are gentleman (specially my boyfriend who is polish, but also all of the other guys I met), there’re beautiful places to see, delicious food, everything is cheaper than in other countries, vodka is awesome, parties are great, everything is clean, traditions are awesome too, etc.

      I have no idea why you’re saying those bad things about Poland, but Poland is great! You should be ashamed of saying that.

    5. Dreaming of Poland. I am a 66 year old American whose son (American) and his beautiful wife and child are Polish. I fell in love with Krakow last year in a too short visit, but am now giving serious thought to applying for an “native English only” teaching position in Warsaw. I have taught in the U.S. for 28 years and have taught multiple subjects from 6th grade through college. Despite my age, I feel both great and energetic. My part-time teaching job in the U.S. pays slightly over twice what I could earn in Warsaw: but, it is not about the money. I would simply hope to earn enough to have a very modest lifestyle in Warsaw, small clean apartment, safe neighborhood, no car, but the ability to get to work,and occasionally travel. I do not speak Polish, but it seems (is this true?) that there are jobs for English only teachers?
      I know that 10 years from now it would not be likely to happen (optimistic view), so I am truly interested in doing so now. Thoughts? Advice? Suggestions? All would be appreciated.
      Thank you in advance.

      1. You do not need to speak Polish to live in Poland but you do need a visa. That is the only issue. If you teach you will earn a upper middle class income but it will not be like the USA. It is a more rustic life, but in many ways more beautiful.

    6. 1. I think politicians are the same in every country.
      2. The dirty cities: come to NYC and you will see Manhattan’s streets full of trash, sidewalks full of garbage bags and rats in the morning. The broken pavement on the streets damaging the cars. If you know NYC only from the pictures, you should see the realty!
      3. Nothing to do: for young Americans living in the suburbs there is no cultural events. Most of them travels nowhere, goes nowhere besides working two jobs.
      My son studied in Warsaw, moved to Boston, he would never come back to the little town in New Jersey. It is too depressing for young people. So I think it is the same in Poland.

      1. “Nothing to do: for young Americans living in the suburbs there is no cultural events. Most of them travels nowhere, goes nowhere besides working two jobs.
        My son studied in Warsaw, moved to Boston, he would never come back to the little town in New Jersey. It is too depressing for young people. So I think it is the same in Poland.”

        Well, in some way it is the same in Poland. But with one expection – the distances. Even if you live in the smallest village, you always have some bigger od big city around. 20-50km, even 100km is not that much to go.

    7. Joanna, I live in NJ , for 20-something years already, across the river with the view of Manhattan skyline, to be more specific. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yes, from the Krakow perspective it might. Speaking of dirt, pollution, falling apart buildings, traffic,cost of living, healthcare system, cost of the colleges,etc (not even mention people),there is probably one of the worst palaces you could chose to live. I can go on and on, I never was able to figure the roots of the “American dream” being so deeply ingrained in Polish culture and minds.
      Anyway, to make a long story short, I used to live in Krakow, pretty much as long as I live in the US and I plan to go back to retire in Poland. Whatever you say, think twice, the grass is hardly ever greener on the other side.

    8. Stop saying such things! Poland is one of the tidiest countries in Europe (believe me). The traffic it is, indeed, problematic, but you don’t have to commute by car – the public transport here is great. Is it bad they repairing rouadways? Well, no, but I imagine with your attitude you would say rather “the roads in Poland are in bad condition and it s”). The costs of living is not that high. Try living elsewhere, you may get higher salary but you also have to pay more for things you take for granted in Poland. Bureaucracy kills everything, anywhere. We have a lot to be proud of – the list is very long. The people you mentioned lived abroad because of partitions or because they had to (e.g. JPII). By the way, Czech and Slovakia are not poor – in fact they are richer than Poland.

      Birth does not detemine anything. I’m form rather poor family, we don’t have much, but I menaged to study (in Kraków, btw) and to be happy without possesing much things. Well, maybe due to that I enjoy the little things. I want to see other places, but I never thought about leaving my motherland.

      The only joke here is the bad attitude of some individuals.

      PS: No itunes? Really? I managed to get an iPhone, not because it’s in the USA style, but it’s working good. Really not a big deal. I pay as much as for other phone.

  2. @Joanna I hear what you are saying about Poland and Krakow and thank you for your comment. 1) Poland is not a poor country. Although Polish people like to complain. If you consider the 6 billion people in the world, Poland is in the top 90 or 99% in terms of wealth. I am not joking. Look it up. I studied Economics and this is true. Think of Africa, or South America or Asia. There are billions of people who live in true poverty. I have been to these places and that is real dirt and poverty. Krakow has more large shopping malls downtown then my hometown of Boston. Gallerias, shopping plazas etc, Polish people are flying all over Europe, taking trips to Egypt on holiday, while people in Africa are starving. I have not seen any starving people in Poland. In fact Poland has great food. Not just rice like some Asia countries but ham, pork , fruits. Poland might have the best food in the world, not poverty and starvation. Poland is a rich modern EU country compared to the rest of the world.
    2) Poland had the Germans and the Russians destroy a great culture in the last 70 years. All economics problems of Poland were caused by WWII and the Soviets. This is a fact. Look at the difference that existed between East and West Germany before West Germany bailed out the east. – Get real. The USA pumped trillions of dollars to build Germany, if we did that to Poland, Poland would be richer than any country in Europe, Trillions of dollars under the Marshall plan, Trillions. So of course it will take time to be at the same level as Western Europe. But look at Ireland. It was the poorest country in Western Europe when I was growing up and not its rich than England. People use to say that the Irish could only clean houses and get drunk and eat potatoes, now they are richer than England the country that oppressed them. Poland will be richer than Germany. Just as Ireland is richer than England. China will be richer than Japan. This is the way the world works, Money moves very quick and yesterdays underdogs are todays champions.
    3) Poland evolved faster than other counties around it, it became spiritual and democratic, and focused on culture and trade and openness, to all people including inviting the Jews into Poland. The great Jewish culture grew in Poland. While other counties were autocratic and ruled by military idiots. This was Poland’s only mistake. They were very advanced. So your not comparing Poland to these countries I hope? Your not comparing Poland to the countries that did not help Poland in WWII or after or destroyed Poland during WWII and before?
    4) Krakow, has more churches and cafes than any other city in Europe, per sq. meter. Fact. Krakow is the most amazing city like all Polish cities, from Sopot, to the mountains. Do you know how much history there is? Its clean and beautiful. Paris on the other hand is very dirty and has all kinds of ethic riots etc. I love Paris but Krakow is less toursty and calmer and cheaper and cleaner.
    5) Aristotle said ‘ man is a political animal’ Do you think Polish Politics is different than the west or any other government since Aristotle? or America? look up ‘the big dig’ Its 20 billion dollars of Boston corruption. Poland has nothing like that. The governor of CT is in jail as is the mayor of Providence and majors and governors of many US cities and states in the US for bribes. Look up the ‘Clintons and murder’ some people connect them to over 100 murders. I do not believe it, but who knows. Poland is like any other place, actually better, in terms of politics.
    6) Do you know that Polish industrial growth rate is 15%? Czech has like 4% Poland 15%, meet a copy of the “Economist” magazine the facts are in the back about growth. Poland is second only to China.
    7) I could go on, but instead of complaining do something for Poland.
    8) Poland is a great country and its faith, spiritual values, literature, culture and contribution to history is amazing.

    1. I am Polish and have lived in both Poland and have lived 30 years in Sydney, Australia being one of the top cities of the World and winner of many awards. I work in the tourism industry and have travelled extensively. I guess we all take things for granted but I really couldn’t agree with Mark more! Absolutely everything he mentioned and more.
      The ultimate question that I want to ask any Polish person complaining about Poland “Why do you think our history shows that all Poland’s neighbours always want a piece of it? Because it is a top country full of rich culture, strong tradition, very spiritual country-Queen of Poland is Mary Mother of Jesus!That’s gutsy. The cities like Sopot, Gdynia, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Krakow, Zakopane , Warszawa rich in architecture, great shopping, fantastic arts and good food. These top cities are unexplored by the rest of the World and offer the full experience and uniqueness.
      Polish People, unfortunately what I have noticed, are generally always looking towards the west however look at yourself as “You are united bunch” – look how you have progressed and how far you have come. How you showed the World the unity in the 80s Solidarity Days and when the president was sacrificed with the crème de la crème of your top officials last year.
      You should hold your head up high. Studies show that Polish people meet a foreign language the fastest in Europe why because they are smart, clever, motivated and love to communicate with others. They work hard and have high standards – Never ever be embarrassed or ashamed of whom you are. Each country has people that do wrong are lazy and people that do good aim high and get there by not giving up.
      I love Poland and please stop underestimating your abilities as a nation and how much this country and its people have to offer.
      People who complain need to get off the back side and just do it.

    2. Hey man – I am moving to Wroclaw, would be great to get some offline advice from you….. I worked in Waltham ! From Hull, MA.


      1. Any advice you want. Just ask. I think basically look on Gumtree for most things like flats, go to IKEA to funish you place and shop at Alma for quality food. Use this tool for comparing cost of living in Poland. http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/ Learn a little Polish before you get there, mostly learning words not grammar, but I have a website http://www.polishgrammar.com with a lot of information.
        Take weekend trips to Slovakia for cordial springs in the winter to get though the darkness.
        If you want to meet girls be very slective as many Polish girls are like American girls. Just try to find a normal humble one that does not want to just practice her English on you, better not meet in a pub. If you are religious church is great, if not meet girls in yoga or dance class or on onet.pl dating.
        Aks any questions you need to about Poland.

    3. Mark,
      Thank you so much for presenting my country in such a beautiful light. Only people who did not travel can use arguments like Joanna did- not valid, totally baseless.
      You are so patient, and understanding, and helpful. It takes a special person to have such tolerance for ignorance. I will try to learn from you.
      I am so glad to hear that you love living in Poland.
      All the best to you and your beautiful wife.

    4. Another great, inspiring argument. You are an excellent ambassador for Poland. I salute you.

      P.s Wow I did not know about the Marshall Plan and the trillions of dollars spent on rebuilding Germany? How very interesting.


    5. Thank you so much for saying what you just said about Poland. People really need to get their facts straight! Poland is a beautiful rich country! I don’t know where this Joanna person got her info but she is way off and saying she is embarrassed of being polish makes me sick! I am embarrassed that such a jerk exists trying to put down my beautiful country! We are planning on moving to Poland in 4 years and we are very excited. Polish people live better than people from NY. Joanna you are a narrowed minded fool.Go to Poland yourself, live there for a while and you will see! And if you did already and feel this way than obviously you are blind and ignorant, I love Poland.

    6. I would like to say that when I read what you have to say I am proud and also proud of you. I was born in Canada and moved to Poland eight years ago. I always have to stand up for Poland, As when people hear I moved from Canada to Poland it starts ( how bad it is). I think Poland is a great country and will only get better. Just worried about what will happen when the euro will come in. Your site and comments I find on the web really help me. Just wanted to say thank you. If your ever in the Lublin area say hello.

  3. @Joanna You are not one of those people who expect the government to help you are you? You want to be born with a silver spoon in your hand or someone to knock on your door and say here is a million dollars? Sorry the world does not work like this. I had bleeding in my brain, I have horrible pain everyday. I worked 11pm at night to 7am in the morning 7 days a week. I paid for my own University. I moved to Poland from Boston and I do not expect the Polish government to help me. Why do you expect the government to help you? Or think it matters where you were born? In a free economy it takes brain and courage to succeed in life. I got a legal job myself and will start a business in a few years. My advice to you is count your blessings and your health. And see all you have around you. Poland is a beautiful place and I know many people who on their own courage got rich. Polish people in Poland, who are honest. Some Polish students complain about Poland, but usually they are the ones who will never really do anything with their lives. No one gives you anything in this life, you have to go an get it for yourself.

  4. I’m an American, living in Chicago suburbs. I have Polish ancestry and I speak a bit of Polish. I’ve visited Poland about three times before. What I noticed is that Poles are great at planning cities, (besides Warsaw) Krakow is such a big city, but full of parks. Auschwitz is a sad city to visit in terms of the camp, but having stayed there for 2 weeks, it is a very livable town. There are tons of parks, walkways, restaurant and not too much traffic. The only country where i spent a lot of time other than Poland was Italy. Don’t get me wrong, Italy is great and full of culture, but they are lacking land!!! Everyone has an apartment, there are very few parks and the parks they have are falling apart. You feel claustrophobic too. I enjoy Poland because the architecture is newer and bigger more like America, it is a very liveable country that mixes old tradition with newer ways of thinking and building. Maybe if Polish people didn’t litter so much, the bigger cities would be cleaner. hahaha. But hey, it’s Europe, most big cities are dirty there anyways.

  5. G’Day!
    I have received a job offer based in Warsaw Poland. I am completely unfamiliar with all that is Poland and all that Poland offers in regards to culture, vibe arts, and overall ambiance. Would anyone be able to offer me some insight on what its like living in Warsaw? I speak several European languages, not Polish. However, I’m a quick learner!
    I’m from Brooklyn, New York. Thank you very much!

  6. I don’t believe anything u say here. people come on? Poland is messed post communist place. This country should been thrown away from European union and stew in own juice by ages decade. when all Europe is going up ! people we got else 20 years to to the same level. I think that USA UK and France betrayed Poland. Of course that’s true. The Marshall plan was messed up. too. Because Roosevelt was to easy for Soviets.

    1. What you wrote about history is true. Poland was betrayed during WWII as it was the first ally. However, the west did not want WWIII that is why they did it and the Soviets would have been harder than the Germans to fight. But Poland was betrayed many times.
      However, Poland now is a very nice place to live. In fact in many ways better than the west. It has not been corrupted by western material values or moral decline. Ireland was the poorest nation in Western Europe when I was a kid, now it is the richest. Poland will be richer than Germany. You will see. In fact I think in the cities Poland is at western standards already. I have lived in the West and Poland and it feels the same. But life is not about who is richer. It is who is about each individual and how they live their life according to morality.

    2. Mr Poland, Who are you? And what is your point? There is a lot of negativity, hostility and criticism, but not many, if any, arguments behind it, and certainly no objectivity. I guess some people need to feel that they have something to say, even if it’s not constructive or interesting. We are all entitled to our opinions but yours is so aggressive…I’m guessing any discussion with you is impossible…Being negative and full of criticism, blaming everything and everyone but themselves, is the easiest way to be, but it also says a lot about the person…

      1. Look I lived in Poland much of my life it is a wonderful country, except or those who are not poet enought to see its beauty.

  7. Dear Joanna you are just frustrated and listining to much to the stories about greener grass somewhere there .Definitely Poland is not a poor country there is a lot to be sorted out but don’t be naive there are problems in many so called rich countries , our young Irish friend mentioned his native Ireland , well unfortunately Ireland is not the richest country of western Europe and my friend long way to go to get to this level and just to mention , Irish citizens are one of the most indebted people in EU and Ireland by no means is richer than England , Germany or Holland and in many points Poland is better. The present crisis didn’t drop just like that from the Havens. As a person who traveled to many parts of this planet and been living in Ireland too, I would like to tell you Joanna you can always try your lack ,why don’t you just cross the western border of Poland or board the airplane and fly to hmm New Zeland ,they may take you, but I have a small problem I don’t think you will be much richer there, what stops you from going to Canada or Australia and what is so appealing in living in NYC. Poland is not a poor country and I am quite sure that you haven’t been to Czech Republic or Slovakia you have never traveled those countries because if you would you would never say that the two
    are richer than Poland . Mr. Poland is looking at his own country in very specific way, as It was betrayed in WWII it was betrayed by its own politicians after 1989 and by its own people too. Many people keep comparing Poland to the better off countries like France , Germany, UK forgetting about colonial past ,Marshal plan and as if it is possible to move over the night from the soviet dominated state to a free country. USA is printing dollars so is Western Europe euro and UK pounds ,so called crisis is hitting hard at any level of the society in any country . There are poor people in Poland but there are poor people everywhere and in many places much much poorer than in Poland.
    Joanna is expecting everything to be given to her and I agree with young friend from Boston you want to be born with a silver spoon, look around there is plenty of people in their 50/60s most of them the silent heroes of 70and 80s and with exception of masters of the deception who will “believe” to their death , that whatever they were doing was for the best of the country, this silent people are the people who made a difference , what kind of difference you make, would you be able to do what they did, and yet they not rich. Fact bureaucracy can kill anything , but this can be changed and this is actually the easy part. What stops you from living your dream, is it you ?opsticles that you know about but not saying,you want to fly away ,do it, what are you waiting for. Just take into consideration that everything comes with a price there is plenty places where little racisms are looming like a smell from the sewage , a car ,a house (comes usually with ~30 years bond ) and sometimes it kills too.Get a ticket and maybe one day
    you will get on a big screen , who knows.All the best. Ask the Greeks are they Happy, How about Spanish, Portuguese ohh I would forget ,Ireland they are happy,and why would so many of them be on the way to Australia ( just happened that OZ shut the door for them not so long ago). And could be worse haw about being born in central Africa.

    1. Joanna is not entirely wrong. If anything, she is speaking honestly, and from experience and from being a native, and not a spoiled foreigner. I can understand her point of view very well because I’ve lived in Poland for over 18 months myself, before coming back home to Australia very relieved at last.

      I lived in Wroclaw mainly, and other towns too. I went through hell with all the bureaucracy, establishing documents, etc. My parents are Polish living in Australia. I can speak polish fluently. So I had the perfect opportunity to learn everything about Poland because I was thinking of moving there, buying a house etc. I found out most people are very sad, boring, and incredible snobbish to each other, and treat the poor very badly. If they find out your from overseas then they treat you like kings, but they just want your money, and to learn English. The really gifted young people are hammered down and not allowed to flourish, inject strength and culture, and challenge the previous generation, because they just get beaten up on the street. Anyway, the big cities make me sick, they are cramped and polluted. There is very little art/culture, and friends groups are very closed and close-minded. Most foreigners soon find themselves very lonely, especially if they don’t speak the language. Every few months there was some interesting festival to go to but no fun if your alone as a foreigner, but I had family. People with disabilities are rarely seen because they receive no assistance from the government and are beaten up, scared, made fun of. Dark skinned and Asian people are beaten up frequently.

      I worked as a tour guide and most of the loveliest people I met and ones I actually found interesting were half-polish like me, and travelers like me. If I had a choice to live in Poland, then I would live in a nice country town, establish community spirit, art, culture, bring people to visit. It’s true that westernization has no place in Poland – its killing everything of value, but on the other hand Poland is full of paranoid, frightened, oppressed people which need to see the outside world. Krakow, Gdansk are nice, but they are tourist towns. Most beautiful country towns are empty because of joblessness and poverty. Poland needs more artists and geniuses, unfortunately they all ran away overseas as soon as they got the chance. There is very little pride for their country which is sad. The first thing I noticed back in Australia is how everything smelled like tropical fruit and flowers, and not like piss and decomposing wood like in Poland which has no free public toilets. If your a nature lover, then Poland is great, but if you want to make friends and meet people then you will only find other foreigners interesting and inspiring.

      Poland is like a broken rocking horse, it’s only fun in a kind of dark, sad way, until you get splinters in your skin and start to bleed. I’d rather make a living as a poor artist on some city street in Spain. Such a happy lively place, full of culture and interesting people, a great place for artist and dreamers and geniuses.

      1. Hmmm that’s an interesting personal assessment. But think of it like this….

        Poland escaped the iron curtain just over 20 years ago. Yes there is still that mentality there from the communist era but attitudes will eventually change and for the better. She is catching up (rather quickly) with the west. Her people now have a chance to flourish and become richer which in turn will help them become more worldly and see themselves from an outside perspective if that makes sense.

        Poland is still undergoing a massive transformation and modernisation. Give it a bit more time. I just hope Poland avoids the mistakes other countries has made and preserves her unique culture.

        i was born in Sydney but my parents are polish. I am flying to Poland 8 Aug and will be there for 3 months. I can’t wait 🙂

        Regards Louis

        P.s peeps feel free to email me if you want to get in touch – legodulski@cordialmail.com

  8. Joanna, you are certainly wrong, I’m 18 and im not planning to leave Poland, in fact, most of my peers don’t want to leave it anymore. There was big boom, when Polish people were leaving Poland (most of them are uneducated, and they are wondering why Poland is considered dump?), but now its over. I want to stay, and make it a better country, despise red bastards trying to gain control here again!

    1. I live in Krakow, Poland and from Boston, USA. I studied economics and worked in business in banking and investments for 15 years.
      Krakow, Warsaw, Sopot, Gdansk, Wrocław, Poznań and many others are rich cities. I am sorry, I live in Poland, Poland is a rich EU country. Maybe not like the USA over all but if you want a life style like the USA move to Warsaw or Krakow. I think you can make just as much money in Poland, if not more, than the USA if you are educated or creative. The world has changed and living in Poland is the best place in the world if you consider all factors.

    2. Drum,

      I can’t emphasis enough how much you are so right on it. I am the one who has no education therefore I moved to USA. Even though I don’t have much of education and I wish I would have I am can make OK money here is USA. But if I had a PhD I would be making big money in USA not just OK. So I agree on that. I love Poland I came from Poland but I also happened to love USA. I believe your please is where you heart belongs to,it doesn’t matter where you live Poland or USA. Because in USA we have a lot I mean a lot of poor people and I know that some readers would agree with me on that and not every person in USA is mega rich.

      Yes don’t leave Poland bc if you think you can make it in Poland than no reason to live this country bc after all is all about money so if you can make that living in there what is the point to leave Poland.

      Good luck to you,

      1. I meant to say:

        I believe your place is where you heart belongs to.

  9. Hehe interesting topic!
    I am 23 years old and live in Australia,I live in my own house and building an investment property with my husband, we earn good money, but something has always made us come back to Krakow, I think it’s only when you live outside of Poland that you realize how good it is. Yeah its probably harder to get ahead in life, but trust me your not going to get rich just by leaving your country.

    1. Ania, you are right, Krakow is a magical city and I love it.
      About getting rich outside of Poland.
      If you can make reasonable money in Poland, it is better to live in Poland because it is much less expensive. If I had a business I would rather live in Poland.
      The year is not 2004, Poland is doing very well, and is the only country in the Americas and Europe that is growing. That is true.
      But again life is not about money, it never was and lifestyle and other factors are more important. Life abroad my ‘seem easy’ but life in Poland is beautiful. What do you want an easy life or a beautiful life?

      1. I disagree with the comment that Poland is cheap I am from Scotland and met my wife in 2005 we are now married and are seriously considering moving to Poland but not because it is cheaper than the UK in fact if you compare cars , electrical goods they are cheaper in the UK and the personal tax allowance is £10,100 when I checked last Poland was £800 and France zero.

        And what you need to keep in mind that the wages you earn in the UK are three times more, Why do you think so many Polish work in the UK and I know many Polish families that are now settled in the UK if you don’t work in Poland the state will not give you near as much as the UK this in my option is where the UK needs to get tougher on there own people as we now have a generation that live off the state and others further a field than Europe who come with the full intension to live of the state with out saying to much !!. Where the Polish people want to work and get on in life.

        I like Poland as it has not got the problems other countries have with out saying too much..Just go down to London,Birmingham and the big cities. I also think the education system is better than the UK and the medical system is better, There driving is a bit scary compared to Scotland. I love when I go over to vista my in laws as they have there own fruit and veg etc where in the UK everything is from the big supermarkets and the taste is miles apart. Poland has also been one of the least affected by this recession that was caused by greedy banks. And one last comment Please keep the Zoty please do not give it up for the Euro.

        1. If we are being objective we can look at this: numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp I recommend this website.

          However, if we are being subjective Poland can be much cheaper than the UK many times cheaper. But it depends how you live. My wife is from the countryside and her folks grow food or we buy it at the market. I paid 300 dollars a month for rent in the old town of Krakow 70 meters, I think you can not do that in a nice city in the UK. It was a beautiful flat.

          Trains are cheaper as are other things.

          But if you want to live an American life in Poland, than it will be more expensive. I guess it depends how you life.

          I think the wages will not be the same as the west for years so relative to wages you are right. But if you are making GBP or USD you will feel rich.

          I think Poland should not go on the Euro and that is one reason why prices are increasing.

          But I would still say if you want to live a nice life, you can in Poland, you just have to live with the frugality of a Pole. I mean lets be honest it is the EU and I bought a lot of my stuff on Amazon UK. So the consummer market is the same, it is food and housing that is the big variable cost.

    2. Mark you are the kind of person that Poland needs. I’ve seen every single one of your comments and I agree with you every single step of the way. You have my support when it comes to talking about Poland. Mark I salute you. You are an honorable man and a true Patriot. Poland I love you.

  10. yeh thats very true
    If I could find a job in Krakow I would probably go back
    but i think it would be quite hard to find a job

  11. Poland is a beautiful counrty. I have lived in the USA for 25 years now, my kids were born in the US but we never forgot out roots. We travel to Poland every 2-3 years to visit a few relatives that are still alive. We always enjoy the Polish hospitality. My friends from Highschool are all doing well and it’s nice to keep in touch with them. I definitely would consider to go back to Poland for my retirement.

    1. I was just in Florida, the retirement capital of the USA, and for me it would be more interesting to retire in Poland. But that is just me. Florida has sunshine and I love it, but everyone there is retired. I live culture and a mix of different people. This is what I get living in the center of Europe.

  12. I’m Polish and I won’t retire in Poland. I guess I’m too used to L.A. I can spend a month or two tops in Poland but anything longer is simply torture. Its not that I don’t like it there, there just isn’t much to do. You only want to meet your relative so many times and then it get boring. And, no offence, Poland is really boring. Unless you are 40, then you can’t do much anyways.

    1. I am American and Polish, live in both places. The USA is fine, but Poland rocks. It is the center of Europe, you can go to scores of countries in a short trip, there is so much history and you have the Alps right next door, Poland is like one state in the EU. LA is OK but it is plastic and a lot of pollution. But look the reason you think like this is you are from Poland and when you leave everything is new, therefore better. But if you were an American you would see it in the reserve way. Plus you are a girl I think, and for an American guy going to Poland it is like a Polish girl going to the USA. You get a lot of attention, right?

    2. When you are 40 you can’t do much anyway. What a joke. When you are 40+ you have seen a bit of the world, have more money than when you were in your 20’s and still have the ability to do everything. You wait ’til you are 40+. It’s incredible. Believe me. (plus if you have your children in your 20’s they have grown up and are living independently so can either enjoy doing things with you or are busy doing their own thing). I love Poland and love dividing my time between England and Poland.

    3. Aggy, if there is nothing to do in Warsaw tell me what are you doing in LA. I am in Poland only every few years,but I go to theater, all concerts I can get the tickets for. I visit new exposition in the museums and find the places I did not visit yet in the country. I wish I have enough time to do more. My relatives are complaining that I don’t see them enough.
      What else do you do in LA? I am just wondering. Most of Polish people I know hardly go anywhere, maybe shopping, church, beach in the summer and visit friends.

  13. Hello..this is a very interesting thread. I am an American from New Orleans.I lived in Spain the past few years and I also lived in the Cariibean for 7 years.

    I am moving to Poland in 2 months and I am very excited. My fiancee is from Ruda Slaska and that is where I will be living…..could anyone give me some input on renting a large apartment and how much would a 3 bedroom place cost? I have been studying Poland and the more I learn about the country the more I want to be there.

    1. Three bedrooms is a large apartment. Most things go by square meter which is about 1/10 square ft when you convert it. So I 120 meter apartment is 1200 square feet, basically. This is a three bedroom apartment. In a major city you can expect to pay up to 1500 dollars (but could be much less if you are frugal). I live in 70 meters (about 700 square feet) and pay about 300 dollars in the center of Krakow.
      If you are talking a small town, you pay half.
      If you want to live like a European, that is not in a three bedroom, in a modest place you could pay 500 dollars.
      Poland is a great place, I love living here. I guess the bottom line is it cost what you want to spend.
      If you give me more details of where, size standard I can answer in more detail.

      1. Hi Mark,
        First of all, I really appreciate your comments, I got a offer to work in Poland 22K per month and I am quite keen on moving to Poland from UK . But my only concern is International schools, looks like they are very expensive. I have 2 kids , 4 and 14 , Can you please give me your honest feed back on international schools?


        1. I guess my first question is 22k what per month? I imagine Polish Złoty. If this is the case you will be rich and can afford any school no matter what. My second reply is at that age they can learn Polish and English is taught in schools. It would be hard the first six months but after that they would have a mental advantage better than going to Cambridge or Oxford quite frankly. Better to give your children the gift of language than send them to a fancy school. Further there are many private schools which are not the international schools. They can get as much English as they want in these schools. But for 22k a month you are a rich person and can afford anything in my opinion in Poland.
          Please ask questions about Poland.

  14. Thank you for the great info! My husband is polish (although has a German passport) and I have been trying to learn the language with marginal success. We think the only way for me to really learn is to move to Poland for one year. We are thinking of either Krakow or Gdansk. Do you know the best way for me to find out the legal requirements of living there for a year? Or best ways to evaluate the cities when we visit to scope it out?

    1. I live in Krakow and really love it. I am from Boston. I think Boston is the Krakow of the USA. I lived mostly in Beacon Hill and Waltham. Now I love Krakow. More shopping, lower prices,close to the mountains like NH or VT. Easy access to trains and international travel. We have gone on 300 dollar vacations to Egypt for example, hotels and air and food included for 2 weeks with last minute. I think Krakow is great. The Polish sea is beautiful but its more like Maine, too cold to enjoy except for a few months.
      Please ask any questions. Your an American married to an EU citizen, no problem with visas.
      Please Anya as questions.
      Polish is hard to learn but I learned it and I am no good with languages, so can you. 🙂

  15. I should add to above comment/question that I am American (also in the Boston area!)

  16. Hi Mark….thanks so much for your info…I just spoke to my girlfriend in Ruda Slaska and she found a 3 bedroom flat for 350US.I am very excited to move to Poland and to embrace its rich culture. She has 2 children..the reason for a bigger flat. Once again…many thanks Mark

    One more question….is it true that once divorced from a previous marriage… one can never get married in the Catholic Church in Poland??

    1. Hi that is great about your flat.
      About the divorce issue it depends. 1) Where you or here married in the catholic church in the previous marriage. If it was church of England or something than no problem or just a civil marriage no problem. If it was the Catholic church and one person did not want to have kids for example it is not a marriage and you can get remarried.
      So yes you can get married in the Catholic church. But even if not you can do a civil or non-denominational wedding no problem no matter what. If you have questions about this or give me more specifics just ask.

  17. Thanks Mark….I was married and had one child in a Catholic Church in New Orleans….my wife was married in Spain but was born in Poland and has children also. We are both divorced…my marriage was anulled..hers was not…we plan on getting married by the government but she mentioned to me that since we were both married previously in a Catholic Church….then it is not allowed by the Polish Church to get remarried in Poland…sounds confusing…

    1. Do not listen to that. 🙂 The Polish church is the same as the Catholics church anywhere. Poles believe that the you can not get annulled because that is what they were told. It is wrong. You can get annulled if and only if a church council approves just like in the USA or Rome or anywhere. You can go to a large city like Krakow or Warsaw and talk to a priest who will advise you. Your future wife feels guilty maybe but an annulment might (I do not know) be possible. I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I think Jesus would agree.
      There might be resistance and people and priests who tell you no, but this is your life and chance for a new life. Try not to be intimidated and try to get this for your future wife. In Poland in the catholic church this can be done like you did in the USA. Same church, same Vatican law.

  18. Thanks for the scoop. I felt the same way,that the Vatican is the gold standard everywhere. Not that important anyway, we are both recovering Catholics. I firmly believe in Jesus and that is most important to me and her……thanks for your opinions though. now the real important question I have and I surely hope you can help, I need to get all the NFL games for my TV. We just won the Superbowl in Spain I could not find games anywhere, please let me know if it is possible to get the games on cable or satellite there in Poland, would be a great help, thanks Boston Mark

    1. I have ESPN and about five other international sports stations in Krakow where I live, but I do not watch sports that much so I can not tell you if it is possible. However, I know there are a few pubs for sure that have TVs that get all the major games. Many expats go there during the matches.

  19. Thank you Mark…..I researched also where I can find all NFL games via the internet..I appreciate your help…..Ted

  20. Do they allow older Americans to live and work in Poland? I have English teaching experience while I lived in Prague, but that was back in 94-96-I am 59 years old, and know it is impossible to find work at that age in so called western countries. I live in Hollywood, btw and I want to get out. Krakow sounds like it would be great for me, I think, and I was almost fluent in Czech, which is very similar to Polish. What are the immigration regulations, etc? Do you need to have a job before you get there? DO you have to be fluent in Polish before you can work? etc?

    1. Just like in the USA or EU you need either a work visa, green card or citizenship. Age does not matter, just visa. Of course many people just go and apply at a school and work I think without visa’s but you need something or you will only be able to stay on your passport for 3 months maybe 6.

  21. What’s the weather like in Poland?

    1. If you know the weather in New England, that is what it is like. It is beautiful from April to the end of October. From November to March people hibernate. I basically live like Bilbo Baggins in his Hobbit hole during these months.

  22. You know how in Russia most (but not all) of the people have blonde hair and blue eyes,is Poland the same way?

  23. Poland is a very interesting country, it is getting beautiful and richer.
    I have to say that Iv’e been to Poland and it was amazing. Polish people are wonderful and the food is delicious!!!
    I’d rather live on Warsaw than in Hollywood.

    1. Poland is the greatest country on earth. How is that?

  24. Hi guys, I am Polish. Joanna, I want to make Poland a richer or a better country as well, but we can certainly do it! We cannon just sit on a chair and think about how bad Poland is.
    If we all work together then we can do a lot, trust me!
    If we only find more people then that would be great but even if we don’t that doesn’t matter.

    Think about Hollywood, think about how people make Hollywood such a popular and a rich place! The answer is they take care of Hollywood!! a lot of rich people!! they make tons of movies.

    I certainly want to make people care about Poland!
    I certainly want to have a life like in Hollywood!
    I certainly want Poland to be the richest and the most beautiful country in Europe.

    and we certainly can do it as long as we want to and believe that if we work together we’ll make Poland a fabulous country.

    I seriously do.

  25. Well that is true Mark.
    In my life Poland is the greatest country.

  26. Well i’m not going to poland. Or I don’t live there. But i’m doing a project on it. And I found on a website and it said that poland was a really poor country. But here people have been saying that its not, that its a rich country. So I would really like to know weather its a rich or a poor country.

    1. I am an American. I have lived in Poland for seven years. I am also a Polish citizen. Poland is not that poor. It is an EU country. If you like in Warsaw, Krakow or any major city it is very nice. If you live in the countryside it is beautiful but you make less. Rich and poor is a relative thing. I am from Boston and live the same life teaching English here and there as I did in Boston making six figures. There I saved more but here I live more.
      Poland rocks in my opinion if you have skills and an education and have imagination.
      That being said the average person here is not making what people do in the UK or USA of course. But it is not that bad here. I like it a lot.

  27. I am Polish and I live in Wales and it’s a better life here because we are richer, we have a bigger house and we have safer conditions.

    1. Did you know Poland has the second lowest murder rate in the EU, only after Austria? I think you think it is safe there but statistically compared to Poland it is not.
      Further, if you are a worker, than you are right you have higher earnings when you go to your factory or cube, but if you consider PPI it is not the whole story. The economist magazine wrote how a senior manager in Warsaw is better off in terms of lifestyle than a senior manager in London. The UK is extremely expensive.
      If you are a capitalist or a creative person or have ideas and dynamic thinking, it is much better in Poland. If you work in a cube or factory it is better in the UK.

  28. Czesc Mark!

    I’m an American living in Florida. I had a friend that was Polish when I was younger and he use to tell me great stories about that country and I always had a fasination with it ever since.

    I went to college and got a degree in graphic art but since then I have not been able to find steady work here…

    More and more I find myself thinking of moving to a place like Poland and teaching English.. ESL(of course after getting the proper certification)…

    Ive always wanted to travel and I think maybe teaching English abroad would be PERFECT! Plus I have known a few Polish girls and WOW so different then American girls : )

    I have a few questions…

    I am 23… is that considered too young there to teach English?

    I only know a few words and phrases in Polish so would that hurt me?(I have byki language learning software for polish and I try to learn as much as I can)

    Would you think it would be better if I got a degree in English before?

    Do schools there prefer UK native English speakers or US or does it not matter?

    What do Polish girls think of American guys? : )

    What do older Polish people think of Americans?

    And what (if you know) is the art field like in Poland? Teaching English would be easiest at first for me but art is my passion and one day I would love to have a steady career in it..

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Your fine to teach English as you are a native speaker. As a native speaker you need no degrees or anything. Just bring your brain and be creative and passionate about it. Poles in general like Americans, they are good allies and many Poles in the USA.
      I am married to a Polish girl and she loves me and I love her.
      I have another part of this site claritaslux.com/girls/ check it out a lot of things written there.
      I highly recommend you consider what you are thinking.

  29. Would you recommend Poznan for someone like me?

    Fresh with no experience ever in teaching with no degree as well.. only CELTA.

  30. Mark, I live in wales and i would never have such a big house in Poland as i do here.

    1. The question is why not? Prices of houses are cheaper in Poland. Labor costs are much cheaper. If you took that same money in Poland you could build a castle I am sure. Lets say you paid the average home price in the UK which is 246,387 GBP. That equals about 1.2 million PLN. If you build a 1.2 million PLN house outside of Krakow in the countryside, you would have a castle, with a swimming pool, tennis courts, a greenhouse etc, with a maid also. In the UK just an average house.

  31. Hello!! At he beginning I would like to congratulate You Mark the excellent blog on Poland.

    I would like to ask you, is it correct? (how do you say it in English),

    I never rest on my laurels?

    I’ll be grateful for your help.

  32. Mark she might have meant that in Wales she earns more then she ever would in Poland maybe?

    Speaking of money. What are some common things in America that are down right cheap in Poland? Is there anything that’s more expensive?


    Is Poznan a good city to teach in?


    btw I lOVE this blog. I’m leanring so much from it!

    You’re awesome mark…

    1. It depends on the lifestyle you choose. If you have to have American brand name clothes and food in packages it will be more expensive in Poland. But if you eat Polish local food everything will be cheaper. Shop at Auchen.
      Use allegro.pl or ebay.co.uk to buy things that are cheaper in the states. Therefore, you can get consumer goods the same price. But Auchen is really like Walmart.
      Gas, electric, is also more pricey in Poland.
      Poznan is good to teach, any major city.

      Important the price thing comes down to how you eat and rent. Because those are your two biggest expenses. You are not buying a new laptop every month.
      transport you take a tram instead of a car.
      So food and rent. If you get ripped off with your rent, it eat your savings.
      If you know how to cook and eat natural food, your fine. Potatoes, ladyen, vegetable. But if you need frozen dinners and bags of chips and cola it will be more.

      The home in wales, I disagree, you will make marginally better in terms of PPI, but it depends on your level. Five years ago maybe, but in Poland you can make as much as you want if you have skills. Most guys I know choose to stay in Poland. If you have no skills and not developed in any way and do not want to innovate or develop yourself and prefer to work in a factory or cube it is better in the west, but not by much. So cube slaves maybe, but people who innovate and develop themselves there is more opportunity in a dynamic economy.
      And further because of the exchange rate if she came back home with GBP in her account she could build a much bigger house here.

  33. Hi Mark,

    I have to say that your blog has been incredibly helpful. I am a US citizen living and working in Spain. Recently, I began working with a company that is interested in the Polish market. As I was studying the market and Poland in general I realized that I lacked information about what Polish people like, do, read, etc. We manufacture and sell steel home security doors with home automation options (smart cards, fingerprint scanners, touch screens, etc), and if this works out we may think about opening a store in Poland where I may relocate to in the future. We have a wide product range, but the main door system that I am interested in selling is geared to the upper class and I was wondering two things:

    1. Is home security an issue for wealthier Poles? For Poles in general?
    2. I want to reach the final consumer (pull marketing strategy) by buying advertisement slots in luxury magazines. Could you possibly be able to tell me which are the most popular?

    If I end up going to Poland I am sure I will have many more questions for you.

    Good luck with everything.


    1. Security is an issue for Polish people just like Americans. The wealthier ones, and I do not know how you define this, all have fences and security cameras. the middle class just have fences. Really almost everyone has a fence around their house in the countryside.

      Further, right now there is a building boom in the suburbs as Poles are moving out of the city as prices are too high. So I think there is opportunity within the middle market more than a select few of wealthy. Also I think it would be better to target Polish builders and contractors in addition to the wealthy. But you know the market more than I do.

      About magazines, I do not know, do people read magazines as much as the Internet? I think well targeted ads from the big G are the best effective as you can monitor the cost and benefit very closely. Forbes is an example of a magazine that does sell as well as Newsweek, with the latter having more influence proportionally than in the States. There is the Warsaw business journal, building magazines in every Kiosk.

      Murator Projekty Domów is one I would recommend as well as something like domy drewniane, even if these are for the middle market in Poland.

      There are scores of b But Poles are tech oriented and plugged into the Internet so I would consider this options also..

    2. “I want to reach the final consumer (pull marketing strategy) by buying advertisement slots in luxury magazines. Could you possibly be able to tell me which are the most popular?”

      I guess best would be to contact some advertisement company, but one advice would be to use ‘opinion magazines’ as those are usually read by middle to high class, while ‘luxury magazines’ will be treated as snobbiest and without good taste. Due to politics in Poland people read either left or right wing policy magazines, therefore it would be good to reach both societies. Best choice would be “Newsweek”, “Polityka” for left side and “Do rzeczy”, “W sieci” for right side.

  34. Hi Mark:

    I just realized I never thanked you for your help. It is so nice to ask these questions to someone actually living there. I am off to Poland next month to check out the market more and visit stores. Do you have any restaurant recomendations for the Warsaw area? I can’t wait to visit this place that is like living in Hollywood!

    Thanks again!

    1. I am not a Warsaw guy, more a Krakowian. So I am sorry, in Warsaw I usually shop at supermarkets and make something fresh. You will love Warsaw I think, just focus on the Old town if you want to meet girls by the way, or near the University.

  35. Czesc Mark,

    I am thrilled to find this site and have many questions! I am a Polish American born in the US. My father was in Czerniwice, Russia in 1918, and I understand that the borders shifted. Ojciec was an officer in the Polish Army, and was a POW held by the Nazis for 5 1/2 years. I recently discovered that I may have dual citizenship. I have traveled throughout Poland twice,(last time in 2009) and was able to navigate with my rudimentary Polish and English. Krakow is my favorite city.

    I went to Polish Catholic School in NY, taught Polish Dance, my parents spoke Polish at home. I am retired from the US Air Force, owned a real estate company, worked for the US Federal Government, and am University educated in Business and Counseling.

    I would like to teach English in Krakow. I am not looking for paid employment, but would love to volunteer (even if only for a month)in my favorite city in Europe.

    I would be very grateful if you can give me any assistance in realizing my dream.


    Karen Wierz Stern

    1. Karen, you can get a Polish greencard with your background. When you get to krakow got to the office of foreigners in Krakow between Rondo Mogilskie and Rondo Grzegorzeckie – it is an Uząd city.
      Find a apartment to rent in Krakow on Gumtree.
      Go to a school, maybe a Catholic school as they need this type of charity the most. Many priests from Poland are exported to the USA and need English or teach kids. Teaching just at any school will exhaust you and I recommend you get paid, as Poland is the EU and not cheap Poland any more.

      Also me any questions if you have them.

      1. Never thought of that. Do I need to contact the Polish Embassy to get paperwork done or Polish Citizenship or Passport before I come there? My retirement income is currently the equivalent of $15000 PLN/month (3zl/1USD?), so just need basic subsistence. I plan to be in Poland in September. but wanted to get more info or contacts made before then. I actually knew a priest n Syracuse who went back to Rzeszow, but have lost contact. Do you or your Kasia have any contacts with the Church in Poland? I live in Melbourne Beach, Florida. My Jewish Polish husband and I are looking forward to our visit.

        Thank you,


        1. You are rich. You have a lot of money so you do not need to work in Poland. You can live a very good life and travel all over Europe. I would start with contacting the Polish embassy near where you live. You can e-mail them or phone them. You can do the work before you get there it would be easier or at least get it started.

          Once you get there is an office called, malopolska.uw.gov.pl/default.aspx?page=Registration_of_invitations_for_foreigners This is where I went in Krakow and had my paperwork done. They will help you and in English.

          Also if you have Jewish connection contact jcckrakow.org it is run by an American and everyone speaks English.

          I would start with the Polish embassy.

          If you want to teach you could teach at a Catholic or Jewish place, which is really a nice thing as it helps either Priests or young Jewish students you could start with, krakow.dominikanie.pl/ Krakow Dominican church or the equivalent in the town you want to settle in.

  36. Hi Mark,

    I have a couple of questions to ask. I am an Asian who lives in Philippines. I have a boyfriend who is a Polish. Would it be difficult for me to get in Poland regarding getting the visa from him? How long do you think it will take? At present, he is studying at Bialystok. I wonder if they will deny it thinking he won’t be able to support me when I get there. He worries that I may not be happy there because of the language and culture barrier. I finished Nursing in my country, I am thinking of what kind of job I could possibly get there. I only know a little bit of Polish too but I am determined to learn because I want to be with him. I hope to hear from you.

    Thank you and God Bless You.

    1. I came from rich Boston in the USA and I loved Poland. It all depends on your personality. If you see things as an adventure then they are, if you see everything grey and cold then they are. Poland is the center of Europe and you can travel anywhere and this is a lot to do. However, it is a Northern cold country and you could get depressed in the winter. I use to go to the cordial spas in the mountains and do fun things like that in the winter.

      Nursing is not paid a lot in Poland. But if you can speak Spanish or are a native speaker of English you can be relatively rich teaching English. Some of my friends make like $4,000 a month teaching English, that is dollar not pln. But you have to position yourself right, like teaching to doctors.

      But also consider London. How can you go wrong with such a metropolitan city. My brother has lived there for twenty-five years. It is an International city.

      The visa is more about being married to him and him being able to show that he will support you. You can not get a girlfriend visa, just a marriage, student or work visa.

  37. First of all I’d like to say Poland is amazing! <3 I am a Polish New Yorker and visit every summer and absolutely love it. There is just so much history and culture and the people are great. A lot of Polish people complain about Poland but what they complain about is mostly jobs and wages. What do they not take into consideration is the quality of living. I plan on attending college in Poland next year and I could not be more stoked! For those who say Poland is boring you obviously have not partied with Polish people. Everywhere is boring if you just sit at home and watch television. Poland has so many places to visit and so many things to do. And if you are bored of Poland then you can simply get in your car and take a road trip to basically anywhere in Europe. Don't get me wrong New York is great but nothing beats Krakow. If you're looking for the best nalesniki and pierogi go to Rozowy Slon, by the Jagiellonian University. Or go visit some small towns like Nowy Wisnicz for example they have a beautiful castle there! Or there is this great tiny movie theater just next to Krakows rynek named Ars Sztuka. It is so homy and nice, probably one of my favorite places in the world. Go to Poland. I promise you won't regret it.

  38. My name is Denis. I took me 33 years to find my place in this world.
    Used to live in USA, in Philadelphia for 7 years – studied there. In 2008 I went on a trip with friends, to see Europe: France – Denmark – Germany – Poland – Czech rep – Croatia – Greece, when I returned to US I was a different person. I realized that I was brain-washed before, all this talk about ‘the greatest country in the world’, the ‘American way of life’, the American fear about the rest of the world – it’s all just bull**it. The culture of people living in Europe, the food, the women – it’s just something USA will never have. There is something about those over a thousand years old streets, ancient statues, something mystique. America, with her fake smiles, nonsense traditions, plastic food, those people just don’t know what they are missing. Americans don’t even know that the rest of the world perceive them as dangerous and well, ‘not so smart’. In mostly all European countries there are terms like ‘a law becoming American’, which means that this particular law is starting to sound nonsense, or ‘nice girl but with American shape’ – meaning corpulent bottom, an ‘American logic’ meaning for example that you can ride a bike on water, if the bike’s instruction doesn’t say that you can’t, ‘American democracy’ – meaning smith like I have a gun and you can do whatever you like, as long as it’s what I tell you to do.
    I’m not telling that Europe is perfect, but it’s far more “normal”, you cannot own a gun if you don’t need it for work, if you touch your baby-daughter private parts during showering, the court will send you to a psychologist to check if you were washing your daughter or doing smith else, not automatically send you to jail for 16 years, if you go for a walk, you walk and meet nice people, not end up scordial by some street gang, if you want to date a woman you must show her respect, prove that you are a good person, not a rich person, if you open a business the people around try to help you, instead of wishing you the best and hoping that you will fail.
    I’ve chosen Poland (because I feel in love with a Polish girl), and I live here since 2011, rented a flat in the center of Gdansk (Baltic coast), I must tell you that all the stereotypes you hear about Poland, that is like a countryside,that they are thieves, that they drink etc – it’s all not true, it’s an advanced country, with same sh*t as everywhere else – skyscrapers, PlayStation, iPhone, fashion shows, clubs etc. The common mistake is to mix Poland with Russia, because Poland is between Germany and all those Russian countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus etc), Poland never was a part of Russia, and has nothing to do with those countries, different language, customs, high standard (Polish 3 stars hotel is like 5 stars in Russia or Tunisia) etc. As Poland is in EU It’s also a great place for ‘jumping’ to other countries – from where I live Its 5 hours drive to Germany, it’s 1 hour flight to UK (if you book earlier flight can cost 10 EUR), it’s 2 hrs flight to Greek islands, or 1 day drive to beautiful Croatia, living is OK- everybody speaks English, I came here in March, in September I already had good work, eared money, rented a flat in the center and hired a cleaning lady from Ukraine (she cooks and cleans, while I party in clubs)
    Hey fellow Americans, take a trip to Europe, see what you’re missing.

    1. “Poland never was a part of Russia”

      Yes she was, XIX century – partition of Poland – check the map:


      1. Yes, Poland was partly part of Russia – but nothing more. We’re joking about Russian mentality, it’s not so familiar to us. A lot of Poles don’t like Russia – well, not Russians as we always can drink together. In some way they are our Slavic brothers and sisters, but our mentality is different. We were always western country, just forget Soviet occupation. Nobody wanted that.

  39. I live in NYC, I lived here for the past 11 years since moving from Poland with my family. I’ve been visiting every summer, and I’m planning to move to Krakow in August. For the people saying NYC is all that even Americans living in the south, come here and you’ll find out how it is. In my opinion its a good place to visit but not to live in, its a concrete jungle.

  40. Hi Mark

    I am not one to read blogs but then I came across yours and that was 2 hours ago! You have some very interesting articles and I really enjoyed reading them especially the info on Poland (and the dating tips which I totally agree with haha). Your views, ideas and philosophy are very much similar to my own.

    I am a 38yr old Australian with Polish roots and I am planning my first trip to the mother country in approx 2 weeks. My plan is to get my Polish citizenship so I can live and work in the EU and then hopefully come back to Poland and start a small business.

    I will be visiting Krakow early Aug to lodge my citizenship application with my lawyer. It would be really cool to meet up for a drink if you are not busy.

    Please let me know.

    Best regards,


    1. I would love to meet but right now I am in Florida. Sorry but let me know how it goes.

      1. All good, maybe some other time 🙂

        I will keep you posted.



  41. Hi Mark,
    first of all i want to say thank you, because you are a great ambassador of Poland, especially because you are a foreigner and you are more convincing. Kraków is in my opinion the most beautiful city in Poland, you are lucky because of living there. If anyone wants to live in a magic place with a great history I recommend you this city. I live in Szczecin, near Germany, but my boy friend was studying in Kraków and it’s stunning. I was in many capitals and cities of Europe but I’m still in love with Kraków. It’s also great for foreiners because everyone, even shopkeeper or waitress is speaking English, and there are of course a lot of tourists from all over the world.
    I also wanted to say, that i think polish tendency to complain about everything comes from inferiority complex. Maybe for foreigners it isn’t obvious but for many years living in USA was a synonym of being rich and free as a bird. In comparision to communistic Poland it was true. Now things are changing, but in our minds there is still a stereotype of wealthy Americans or Western people. I’m not saying that living in Poland is easy, but it’s worth to try living there, have more time for your family and friends and not thinking mostly about career. The time goes more slowly and you can enjoy it! People, come to Poland, taste our culture, cuisine, hospitality and see our customs, especially for X-mas or Easter. I recommend you! 🙂

  42. Enjoyed your article. I have been married to a Polish girl for the last 3 years. Everything you say about Polish women is true. This summer we spent 6 weeks in Poland (my third trip in all). We are fortunate that my wife has a very large house (to big in fact) and 25 acres in eastern Poland just north of Baiystok. Her family is quite frankly the nicest group of people I have met. Even though most do not speak English we find our ways to communicate. My mom came and visited for a week and was just amazed. She like my wife’s niece and husband so much she let them use her apartment in Sicily and they said it was their best vacation ever. I teach at a small high school in Kansas and the one thing I always encourage my students to do is to travel. There is a great big world out there!

  43. Get off your high horse, Mark! I don’t know where you’re getting your information from, Poles do not think about the States as of a promise land any more, maybe 20-30 years ago, sure, but now, come on. And we do know how Americans look like, it’s always shown as a warning example, actors or no actors. We do have eyes and brains to draw logical conclusions and to know that tv is not (always) the real world.

    And please, don’t generalize – you write ‘the Poles think’ etc. – seriously? Did you talk to so many of us? “but not male part of the population” – seriously? You come to Europe with your American sense of fashion and dare to conclude what we all think about scarves? I know this is your opinion, but hey, this is JUST YOUR opinion! Even if you met a few people (from Cracow!! – not the best representation of the whole country, to be honest) and they happened to agree with you.

    I am writing this because it is a sensitive matter for me: This is how harmful stereotypes emerge – I know a Pole and he thinks that, so I think they all must think that too… Same for Americans, actually, so it’s a two-edged sword, so watch out.

    Yet, all in all, I do agree that people (not only Poles) usually think that the grass is greener elsewhere and I do like the fact that you seem to like living in Poland. My husband is your fellow countryman, so I can relate to your (+family’s) situation – we moved to Poland 1,5 yr ago. Wish you all good luck!

    1. Poland is a great place, did I say anything else? I do think sometimes Poles do not realize it themselves and that is why I wrote the post. Poland I love.

      1. Mark, you restore hope and you help people to find their way to love Poland again, thank you.

        1. Thank you, but really I am telling it like it is. Poland has a great history and culture living there is a high quality of life and undeniable one of the best experience anyone will ever have.

    2. There is no real reason to be so sensitive and emotional Stereotypes are called stereotypes for a good reason. Wether the US is a promised land it is up to an individual interpretation, the fact however remains for a magnificent number of Poles to have left Poland in recent years due to unemployment, costly and complicated process of opening a private enterprise, relatively high taxes among other difficulties, which effectively make people leave. Young people in Poland despite higher education are working in the service sector earning about $400-$500 per months.

      Is Poland rich?
      As Americans have always battled with real estate acquisition, life long loans, refinancing, this is fairly new in Poland which has become rich, much like all Eastern Europe after 89 where almost the entire nation received titles for about 10 cents on a dollar becoming legal owners most often without any further financial obligations. This is of course changing now, however it is interesting to note the per capita percentage of paid real estate in Poland. Now with prices close to housing cost of Los Angeles, yes, some are rich, specially if they were lucky to inherit few properties.

      This may be a sensitive subject to many, however the secret of Polish attraction is in reality the lack of ethnic diversity within Poland. It is a country of one language, one race, almost one religion and immigration is unnoticeable as Poland has never been a financially attractive and is a difficult country to obtain residency. Vietnamese, Africans, Muslims, they all prefer France and Germany, or the Scandinavian countries or US leaving Poland in s state of “virginity”. This preserves a climate of thrust, safety, lack of political complications. Aside from few exotic foreigners here and there, Poland remains virtually a single ethnic country.
      One should also not complain about the cost as in example an internet/tel/tv service provision is laughably cheap compared to AT&T and Charter, where in Poland you will pay today about $35 for the above package, which in the US will run you about 10x!

      Yes, it is great to go a few time to a Polish restaurant, but generally it is significantly worse than the variety you will get in any major US or western European city. Poles statistically still eat out very seldom, so the restaurants are relatively more expensive with lower quality and lack of world standards in service. It is what it is and the “exotic” factor often makes the inexperienced go gaga. Mexican is horrible, Thai is a joke, you have the chains and some private places. Initially it is all interesting, but if you live long term, you will miss NY, LA, Amsterdam, Munich, and of course Paris!

      Communication and language skills
      Poles are nuts about it, in Warsaw fun is made of the “jars” as it is to us Varsovians a no brainer to identify an individual from the south, podlaskie, or Silesia regions by their accent, much less it is of any difficulty to spot a foreigner. Poles in the large cities, specially in Warsaw, wether you like it or not, discriminate and mock people who do not speak Polish well. At the beginning you are a novelty, however long term intimate and close friendships are difficult for non-Poles. It is easier to find a beautiful woman from a rural area (plenty of them for the taking), than have in-depth honest, dependable friendship. Make no mistake here if you ares a social person and like to hang with Poles. Warsaw will be tough on you.

  44. Poland will be a superpower to be reckon with in the next 100 years according to American author George Friedman.

    1. Less than that. Money and power is like water, it moves around. I do not think military superpower as that type of power is passe, but economic, it will. Look at South Korea or Ireland how poor they were and how rich they are. Money is like water it flows based on the current.

  45. Poles generally don’t love Poland, or at least they think they don’t. So they go and look for a different spot, just to realize that they miss their country and can’t live without it.

  46. I have visit Ploand propbalby at least ten times. I live in Sweden and is a bit polish myself and if I could get a swedish salary in Poland (or half of it) I would move immediately to Poland.

    I have been to NY, China and also almost every country in Europe..Poland is better in many ways.

    First of all New York is extremely dirty, and all the good looking people in NY are tourists. I NY they do not have a good system for collecting the trash so the citizens just put out bags of trash on the street like in medieval times. There is a lot of djunkies and corpulent people populating Manhattan. I was there for ten days and it was loud and dirty and I even had to prevent somone robbing my mother. My impression was that I wouldn’t move to Mahattan even if I would get paid for it. Yes it was that bad. I love a real cultural european city like Krakow much more than NY.

    Everytime I am in Poland I start to feel so much better. Perhaps because of the food and because it is possible to create a bussiness in Poland. I have a friend in Poland that pays 19% in tax for his company. In Sweden we can pay up to 70%…yes 70% You cannot rent out an apartment (because of socialism) even if you buy one so for me Poland is a country of possibilities with much better laws than Sweden.

    I like the culture in Poland. It is down to earth and much more common sense than in Sweden and many western countries. The food is great, beer is also really good and the women are even better. Well there is plenty of good looking women in Sweden too, but their personalities are often shallow. If you look at Swedish dating sites you rarely find romantic women. Their favourite interests are often “converse shoes” or “meatballs” while polish women more often have interest such as “art”, “reading” and “poetry”. Sadly few women in my country would like to get flowers or a poem but they like you to send a picture on snapchat, instagram instead. Real romance is harder to find in western countries and that is a well known fact for every guy who travels and dates women.

    Poland feels safer for women than Sweden. Yes, Sweden is unfortnulatey the country with most rapes in Europe and where I live it is pretty bad (not because of me though..) You rarely see beautiful women that dare to walk alone during the night. I was shocked to see beaitiful women in night club outfits going home alone in “rough areas” in Poland. They did not seem afraid…

    I know that a lot of people still believe Sweden is a paradise. In all surveys Sweden scores very high. But we have one of the highest unemployment rates among youths in Europe, it is impossible to see a doctor in Sweden(in poland you can go to a doctor if you have a fever..In Sweden they would get angry at you and send you home) and you have to wait months to get a treatment. We have such high taxes so our salaries are not high, living expenses are high too. If you buy an apartment in Poland you would only pay a couple houndred zlotys for electricity, gas or whatever per mopnth. IN Sweden is it a couple thousand zlotys for heating, water/ month after you bought your expensive apartment.

    Dentist in Sweden is 1500 zlotys for something that in Poland costs 200 zlotys. So polish people are in reality not that poor. But I agree that Polish people seem to believe that every other country on earth is richer and better than Poland. That is not true and in perhaps ten years you will see Swedish people moving to POland for work, for democracy and a better quality of life. So to all polish people, be proud of your country 🙂

  47. I live in Canada and this place is run and ruined by materialistics who force their beliefs on everyone. as a man try to tell a woman that 1+1 does not equal 3 you will be called a misogynist. Attempting to talk to an unknown woman on the street is harassment.

    Try telling someone here that you believe in God, it does not matter if you are Christian or Muslim, the atheists here are extremely intolerant to any religious beliefs and disregard you as some-kind of idiot. Liberal tolerance is extremely intolerant to anyone that does not believe what they believe. As a parent in Canada it is extremely difficult for parents to raise children, raising your voice at your child after telling them not to do something a million times is child abuse and CAS will take your children away. Today Canada is a good country for immigrants who come from really bad countries like that are war-zones like Somalia or Pakistan. However, paradoxically, non-native Canadians look at native Canadians with the an angry glare.

    1. As a Canadian I had wonderful visits to Poland in 2008 and 2010, managing to find relatives of my grandfather in Gliczarow Dolny, and info about my grandmother in Zakopane. I loved Krakow and Warsaw and Zakopane each in its own way. I cannot speak Polish unfortunately and was happy to find many young students who I could speak in English with.People were very helpful when I learned to say “Proche pan/i” I learned a lot. I love nature and old cultual artifacts, including buildings. So many have been reconstructed since the last war.I am planning another visit to see the cousins I found!
      If I felt after a visit or 2 that I know the hearts or minds of the Polish people I would be foolish; even being an Expat and spending a few years in a few carefully chosen locales would not make me an expert in things Polish.
      I read Polish history enough to realize what a great land it was once, culturally and politically. It has not disappeared even though it was partitioned several times; the culture keeps it whole. Poland has a history of tolerance for other cultures and peoples.
      Why a person who has immigrated to Canada must complain about his experiences as if they are the sum of the Canadian people and country I don’t understand. Perhaps he is in Canada when he wished to go to the USA? Perhaps he himself is unwilling to adapt to a new culture?
      The giant wave of American “culture” (consumerism) which has washed over Canada and to a lesser extent, the world, has influenced many younger people to desire goods, things they must purchase, at all cost. The ads show them a world they feel they must emulate and though they know Americans are not all rich or happy they are stuck in a mode of desire and greed. We are all living in the influence of American advertising through their movies in particular; think how they have influenced your desire for owning things you could do without?
      I cannot see how self criticism or insulting other cultures makes anyone better. We all live in the memories of things our countries have done to harm others, or done in our names by politicians, that we would like to forget. Let’s live for eaccordialher as best we can.

  48. I am Polish living in US for 9 years and going to live in Poland now again.
    It is really great to hear such a nice opinions about my home country.
    I also would like to throw in a few comments of mine about PL.
    In general it is obvious that every country has its pros and cons and both US and PL are not different from that. I tried to list some of those below:

    PL pros: (for me, for someone else some might be a cons 🙂

    1. Interesting culture which is the mixture of west and east Europe in my opinion
    2. More family oriented society. Most people try to leave close to the family. Family meetings are pretty common (not like many times in US – once a year)
    3. Famous polish hospitality – mostly people are truly happy to have guests at home. They often prepare great meals, drinks etc. for their guests. People love to visit each other at their houses and not only have a meeting out somewhere.
    4. nice old architecture in plenty of bigger and smaller towns
    5. Growing economy with still many opportunities for new businesses. It is great to see how those are flourish in PL currently
    6. Women are great in general – fantastic mothers – great minds and bodies 🙂
    7. I love polish sense of humor. There are plenty of comics etc. Unfortunately you might need to soak with the culture a bit to understand many of those jokes.
    8. Polish culture – music and especially movies are great but again that might need to step deeper into the culture to grasp it.

    PL cons:
    1. People complain a lot! And this has a bad influence on others. Especially young. I guess Joanna could have some grumpy friends or parents 😉
    2. Incomes are still too low for many professions and this forces people to either do some jobs which they like less or try something overseas. On the other hand is it hard to believe that so many people really live on a very good standard – new great houses, modern electronic, cloths etc. Most of my friends and family are like that. They still complain about their economy status though .
    3. Many consumer goods are too expensive (no wonder as there is 23% of sales tax – VAT)
    4. Many people are too serious about politics and are hard to discuss with (very sensitive topic)
    5. There are many young bully kind of boys with no respect to others, especially older people. They might be dangerous (usually less for women – more for older people and young ‘normal’ men). They are dangerous on the roads in their clunky speeding cars. Fortunately it seems that gradually there is less and less of those.

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