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Have you ever considered relocating to Poland? Jonny Blair did! He did not regret it, not one bit, and dedicated some time to share with us some of his incredible experiences in this stunning country while also giving us some advice. If this is your next landing-place, keep reading it.
Before choosing your next destination, you might consider doing some research online. However, how about learning from someone, who has lived in the location you want to head to? This way, you might be able to learn useful information coming from someone who has actually experienced it all.
As a middle aged wandering Northern Irishman full of stories to tell, Jonny constantly writes about his Polish adventures through his Northern Irishman in Poland blog & his global adventures on his Don't Stop Living blog. After relocating to Gdańsk, Poland and then to its capital, Warszawa, he was able to come up with a few tips and facts for expats wanting to get to know Poland.
This is Poland through an expat’s eyes. Through Jonny’s eyes:
Before Jonny moved to Poland, he had already met some Polish people. His impression was that they were “intelligent, proud and fun.” For him, those are very important things in life, as he loves to enhance his knowledge, “promote his nationalism of being a Northern Irish and to have a laugh.”
One of the most interesting things about this nation seems to be the fact that they transmit a sense of freedom and equality among themselves and even among internationals. According to Jonny, “Poland could teach a lot of other struggling countries how to live in equality with peace, beauty, and intelligence.”
The cost of living in Poland is overall affordable. The salaries tend to cover monthly expenses and allow savings for trips, investments, or whatever your heart desires to do.
Surely, Warsaw is the most expensive city, as it is Poland’s capital. However, there are other locations to choose from, such as Gdańsk and Krakow.
Health system: If you work, you will automatically be paying a 9% insurance that goes directly to your medical plan, which means you have free access to health centers. However, you always have the option to pay for a private plan if you wish.
Transportation system: here you have the option to use the bus, plane, train, taxi, bicycle, or your own car. However, the cheapest option might still be the bus.
Education system: if you plan to relocate and study, the University of Warsaw is one of the best universities in Europe. As most universities in Poland and other countries in this continent, they are either free or have a low cost, such as EUR 2,000 per year.
Housing: When interviewed about the cost of living in Poland, Jonny mentioned he usually avoids talking about money, as having a good life and steady health is more important. However, he stated that although flats and houses can be high depending on the region, there are many other things that make up for it, such as the low cost of beer, bread, and public transportation.
When it comes to choosing and pursuing a career in Poland, Jonny encourages and points out the computer gaming field. Poland seems to be very popular in this department as they are home to top gaming companies, such as 11 Bit Studios and CF Projekt Red. “CD Projekt Red have released The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077, while 11 Bit Studios have released This War of Mine and Frostpunk,” added Jonny.
Overall, IT and Tech jobs are the go-to careers to pursue in Poland, where this type of industry is constantly growing. Therefore, if this is your next destination and you love the tech world, make sure to apply to jobs beforehand. While we're at that, Jonny shares the importance of preparing for the interview process, as the recruiters are very intelligent and have most likely researched every inch of you on the internet. Make sure to be prepared, even for the most difficult questions!
According to him, the Polish are a hardworking nation and their work ethic is admirable. On top of that, he emphasises how women are very powerful in industries and how they play an important role in the workforce.
Here is an interesting tip coming from our interviewed foreigner. You don’t need to know or speak the language of the country you decide to live in. Of course, at some point it would be extremely beneficial to learn the native language of your landing country as you might have a better experience by diving in their culture and learning their words and expressions. However, Jonny has been learning Polish for around 4 years and is on A2 level. In addition, he plans to learn Ulster Scots and Gaelic at some point, but he proves there is a way to make a living in a foreign country, even if you haven’t learned their language fully yet.
Even when you’re living in a specific country, it doesn’t mean you’re stuck there forever. Poland is the perfect place to be your base and as Jonny said, “do some more travelling.” He has been backpacking for a long time, being a writer, teacher, barman, and a public relations professional. He shows there is a space for everyone in this beautiful planet we call earth.
Jonny’s advice is to continue to travel. Why? Apparently, living in Poland, wasn’t part of a set plan, instead, “it just sort of happened as a progression of (his) backpacking journey,” he stated. Before moving to Poland, he went to Hong Kong and Australia, and while he expected to end up living in Moldova or Kyrgyzstan, he found himself captured by Gdańsk’s charms. “I love it here,” Jonny affirms.
Jonny proposes to every expatriate, to “try and escape that bubble, be a bit more patriotic to your home country and the country you live in and try not to be ‘ex’ of anything.” He believes “the current life is most important, we cannot dwell on the past as you will never change what's been and gone,” like Noel Gallagher said in 2002.
Of course, expatriate, expat, international, multinational, or foreign are just words created by humans. One could be called whatever they desire.
It is important to have goals and to pursue them full-hearted. However, it is also important to know who you are and stop for a second to reflect and be grateful for everything you’ve done and accomplished so far.
Before Jonny moved to Poland, he wrote 6 books, which have been released in either print or eBook form. He is currently finishing more books including one about his journey to Poland. Jonny's “Backpacking Centurion” book series covers his global travels. In addition, he teaches and writes articles when available.
This goes to illustrate the importance of telling the world your story and continue to be productive.
Overall, Poland through an expat’s eyes is meant to reflect Jonny’s motto: “countries are not there to accommodate their visitors, they are there to accommodate those, who ordinarily live there. Visitors need to fit in, not the other way around." This sentence demonstrates the beauty of each nation!
Do you think you got to learn enough facts about Poland? How about a quiz to test your knowledge?