Updated: Aug 30, 2022
***Disclaimer - for those that are skeptical about Poland, this article is only about the positives I see, it does not address the negative sides of this country and yes some of the points may be a little generic, though they are based on my experiences after living in Warsaw for 4 and a half years and visiting over 30 cities***
From the very first time 99% of people hear that I have moved to Poland, they want to know why I choose to live here...
"Why? Oh Why did you move here?"
A lot of Polish people are quite shocked to see a Brit living here, especially since for many of them their dream is to move away from Poland, with a despair towards their government, a move away from the traditions of the church...a lot of the citizens of Warsaw whom I have met carry a very different view of their country from myself...
So...I want to go on record on saying my personal reasons for living here and to justify my story!
Before I moved here I was stuck in a dead end job, was living at home with my family, had no partner...children...or home of my own, or even the realistic prospects of finding those things, even though I loved my family and friends back home...life felt a little empty, repetitive and perhaps even futile, yet I had no intention of leaving the UK, it was the last thing on my mind...it's something that seemed to carry too many challenges...
I am not here to detail the story of how I got here, you can read 'My Polish Story' Blog for that, but I will say in the first three months of living here due to a temporary work placement, I decided that Poland was a country that I could be very happy living in...these are the reasons that made me stay:
Friendship/The people of Poland:
Perhaps one of the main things that happened in those first three months are the people I met, they were intelligent and great to talk to. I could actually talk to people about most subjects and I was never talked down to, my opinion never dismissed even when others held the opposite view. I could actually debate with people and have reasoned discussion...this was a very different experience to the one I had felt in the UK...where open discussion came with descension and mockery.
I was lucky in where I was working, surrounded by a lot of people who I could enjoy a good talk, who enjoyed a fun drink and carried a determination and passion for life which was inspiring to me.
I was made to feel welcome in time, after proving myself a little I may add...people helped me with everything from paying my taxes, to filling in government paperwork, to getting train tickets...I was very happy to get so much help, it made life a lot easier for me and it made me feel valued. The best class of people I have met in life are the people I have met here and I couldn't ask for better friends and colleagues!
I want to note that the proficiency of English has really helped me with living here as well, of course it is not 100% and as a whole better in the bigger cities, but here in work and day to day living I can get by quite easily without being fluent in Polish...though the more Polish you know the easier it is to live here!
I also want to note how safe I feel living here, I have never felt threatened, rarely see people acting in a violent manner and feel the level of respect people have for each other is better on the whole!
2. The cost of living in Poland:
Even though when I was working in the UK I was on the lower end of the payscale...I found that same wage allowed me to actually live a full life here, I could pay rent, buy groceries, travel and go to events/socialise and still make it to the end of the month. Yes with inflation this is maybe not the case now, but also I have begun to earn more money to counteract that.
The cost of food is very low in comparison to the UK, the cost of going out to bars is also a lot lower. You can have a decent meal for say £6, buy a standard beer for say £2/£3. Rent...well Warsaw is not cheap for sure, but compared to say London or Oxford where I am from it is very affordable.
Public transport such as trains, buses and trams are also a lot cheaper than the UK, allowing me to travel not just around Warsaw with ease but also to most places in Poland without breaking the bank! When I think of trains back in the UK I laugh at how crazy those prices are compared to here, and trains are more reliable here too!
Warsaw is a city that is developing at a fast pace, I've seen entirely new neighbourhoods spring up in the short time I've lived here, companies are moving work here...mainly because they can pay less for wages, but also because the standard of peoples work is very solid on the whole.
If you have some experience there are a lot of chances out here to find employment, I think for someone who is a native English speaker, those chances are even higher.
True a lot of the Brits I have met here have gone into the teaching route and do quite well from it, while I come from an office background and have found my way here in that direction.
In the time I have lived here I have been promoted within one company 3 times and now find myself in a new company in a better position, I like to think going forward I have some good chances to continue my growth and to make life all the more stable as I do.
4. Food and drink of Poland:
So not only talking about price but the quality of food and drink in Poland is very good, I can rarely think of a time I had a bad meal in a restaurant, have found very good quality beer and craft beer here. Also home made beverages such as Nalewka and Bimber have also been very pleasant. I feel the quality and variety of what you can find is exceptional and for that matter and a lot of it feels healthier too!
Also in a big city like Warsaw there is virtually any kind of restaurant you could hope for with food from all over the globe available, the only problem...too much choice!
5. The Towns/Cities/Villages of Poland:
So in the beginning this wasn't so clear to me, but over the years I have found exploring Poland to be something I enjoy a great deal. Every place I have visited is unique in some fashion, architecture can vary depending on the part of the country you are in, there are a lot of local foods to enjoy.
Nature also offers much variety, with the Baltic Sea to the North, Mountains mainly in the South, dense forests, great lakes...each area of Poland carries its own token of nature to enjoy which simply adds to the variety.
Also with the history that Poland has...you can understand much about the country, why it can differ so much from place to place, with multiple occupations and an ever changing map...it's something of a miracle that there are Polish people at all...the people of this country have always had to fight for their existence, to preserve their culture...and you have to respect that!
The architecture can be quite breathtaking, with so many gems scattered around...beautiful squares, old dramatic castles, towering cathedrals...even underground shrines...you will find so much diversity in the man made sights of Poland, and again every region with its different history adds furthermore to the variety that you see!
6. The Polish Weather:
This can be a less obvious point for most...this isn't a Mediterranean climate after all...but coming from the UK almost any country can offer an improvement...!
When I first got here it was cold...-20 with a lot of snow on the ground, however even with such a low temperature you didn't have the humidity to cling to your bones like weather in the UK...plus having proper snow was so refreshing, I felt like it was a decent winter, and the grey skies of the UK were behind me!
The Spring was distinct, beautiful flowers and rising temperatures produced a promising environment, you can see the change in peoples spirits, the hope and optimism that emerges and its a wave of energy you want to be a part of, that carries you along for the ride!
Summer carries with it great warmth and also dramatic storms, it's a time where you want to be outside with your friends, to go on great walks and to really explore, for me it is a time that fills me with energy and is the perfect weather to enjoy a nice cold beer!
The Autumn carries with it the beautiful colours of the changing leaves on the trees, without being too cold or too wet you can still enjoy being outdoors, even still feel free to travel and explore!
Having these distinct seasons, these more extreme weathers...it is something I enjoy very much, even if I wouldn't mind it being warmer in the winter...
7. The ways of thinking here in Poland:
One thing that struck me here is that you do not feel the need to censor yourself as much as you would in the UK, Poland on the whole does not care as much about political correctness, the sense of humour here is fantastic and you can joke about almost anything...unless you go way overboard in terms of offence, people here are free thinking and enjoy a good discourse!
Also you find people care more about themselves, being healthier in terms of exercise, in terms of what they eat, being open minded about psychiatric help, people look after themselves much better on average here compared to the UK and it is very inspiring, I too have started caring more about my health and wellbeing while living here!
There is more care for the environment, with many preserved parks and natural areas, directly looked after by the government, there is even a lot less rubbish on the streets, people care more about the places that they live on the whole
8. Polish Women:
There are many reasons to be impressed by the Women in this country, for one they look after themselves a great deal, look presentable and care for their appearance and health. They work hard and educate themselves to a high standard, generally you find yourself surrounded by beautiful and high quality Women...and the best part, they are not arrogant, they generally are very warm and kind.
I have a lot of female friends here that I value very highly, that I can enjoy good talks, take a nice walk or share a good drink with, very rarely do I see Women get out of control or act like drama queens, they can be very humble and natural and much easier to talk to and relate to.
I feel very lucky to meet new and interesting Women, to see them having a more equal status in the workplace, truly they help to make this country a paradise!
9. The level of education:
I have already mentioned that I have good talks with the people here, people tend to get degrees...often getting a second over time, people care very much about their level of knowledge...while at the same time keeping an open mind on the matters of the World. I have had discussions about everything from history to Politics, from Science to literature...I truly feel that my level of intelligence has improved since living here.
People tend to read a lot here, I am always hearing about the latest book that someone is reading, or being recommended something to pick up, there are many libraries and bookshops here, there are even some stations where you can leave and pick up books for free, like an open exchange!
I feel my World view has evolved and I carry an even more open mind since moving to this country and it really inspires me and I feel encouraged to speak my mind an to listen to others more.
Since moving here I feel I have evolved in such an incredible way, I have more optimism, feel healthier, push myself harder, carry more ambition...I feel more in control of my life and my future while living in this country.
I feel I have a better standard of living, that I can evolve in a better way, that I care about myself more, that I feel more respected...
I feel that I have a promising future here and that life is taking a much better direction than the one it had while I lived in the UK.
My only regret is that I didn't move here earlier in life!
Poland for sure is not a perfect country...but this blog is there to highlight the positives!
Thank you for reading...I hope you found this interesting, educational or inspiring...I invite you to share your own reasons for loving Poland in the comments :)