Life in Poland Vs. life in the USA

Poland and The USA are two different worlds entirely. The USA is sunny and positive and casual. Poland is cold, dark and romantic. There is an ancient feel in Poland, something almost mystical. I have often said that in the USA life is easy, in Poland life is beautiful.

However, not to romanticized too much about Poland there are some difficult sides. The people had the War then communism. As a result people can be difficult and not as friendly initially as you might be use to. I would say this applies to the cities like Warsaw, Krakow etc, not to the villages.

Village life is totally different and people are more easy-going. In the cities they are charging ahead and trying to get and take as much as they can. I would say Polish cities have the feel of NYC in the 1970s, that is a lot of unfriendly and rude people. Polish people taking advantage of Polish people and foreigners coupled with long faces and a low-level of customer service. I think this is most seen in the people in their 50s. People in the 20s are like Americans, positive and friendly as are Poles in their 30s.. The character of American cities have change a lot over forty years and I suspect this will happen in Poland also. I do not want to say anything bad about Poland, but just want to give some people a heads up that sometimes you might encounter some rude people and this is because of communism. It has nothing to do with Poland or the Polish people, just a group of people that are going away that learned the way to interact with people under communism.

Poland is gothic, romantic and something to explore - in contrast the USA can be cookie cutter or seem plastic at times

I am almost 100% positive on Poland, however, there are some things to be aware of. I can not tell you the number of people who have tried to use me in Poland. In the USA it would not happen as much, but it does happen. So you have to be vigilant. When I moved to Poland I thought Polish people could do not wrong. I learned they were just people like all over the world, some are sheeps and some are wolves.

It is easy to go to the dark side and get sucked into the negativity around you. I am sure it was communism that changed the attitude of Polish people. It is not all Polish people just those who have an attitude from communism that nothing good can come from Poland. It is not true. Poland is a blessed nation.

On the other hand, I lived in Poland about ten years and did so for a reason, because I love Poland and it is one of the most amazing places on earth.  I think the women are beautiful, slim and attractive as well as educated if you are a single guy, hint – hint. The history and culture are rich, it is in the center of Europe and it has beautiful nature.

My day in Poland Vs. My day in the USA

I moved to St. Augustine, Florida recently. I would say that life is different from Poland. Not in prices as much as what I do.

My day here in the USA is, writing, swimming surfing, biking and sun.
My day in Poland was writing, and rocking Auchen or Alma or other shopping malls (because it was too cold). On the weekends or vacation I travelled all over Europe and Poland.

I tend to think you need more money in Poland to have the same standard of life.  I have said all along, with one million zlotys in Poland, you can have a big car (automatic), full cable on a flat screen, travel Europe to sunny locations, a nice wooden house in the countryside where you actually keep the heat cranked. A very nice life. This way you can insulate yourself from the darkness and cold.

On the other hand you can live much cheaper in Poland if you want to, and do not have suh high expectations about lifestyle. You could rent a basic flat in a block and eat at the milk bars. Its an interesting life. Nothing like the USA, it has a rustic authentic feel.

In contrast in Florida where I live now, it is a different world here. The water is still warm.  I think December and January and February I will be going to the gym more than ocean, basically winter. I am enjoying the easy going life in warm weather and friendly customer service.

Polish people say – ‘ our weather is normal  we have 4 seasons’.  No it is not normal.  It is three season.  PA is normal, NC is normal. It is because they are used to it, they say it is normal. But most of the world’s population does not live that high north in the globe. I am not saying it is bad, a lot of smart people come from northern places as they are inside living a surreal existence of  cold blue dark winter.

  • Poland has 3 seasons     Winter, Spring, fall
  • St. Augustine has 3 seasons.  Summer, fall, spring – the exact opposite 3 seasons in the other direction.  I might go surfing today, we have this boggy board.
  • NC and PA has a true 4 seasons.

If you like skiing and winter sports like skating Poland is fun.   I was going to get x-country ski in Poland.   We went ice skating and that was fun.  Also it is a lot of fun if you need to focus on work and you can be cozy watching the snow fall from your window.  Steven King writes in Maine and it does not stop him.  Cold weather is great for working too.

So this is a short post to get a discussion going on Poland Vs. the USA. I would be curious to hear other people’s experiences.

 

20 Replies to “Life in Poland Vs. life in the USA”

  1. This is fascinating. Thank you very much.

    Coming from London, England my view is very different. I find the extreme heat of the Polish summer much harder to bear than the cold in winter. Being outside in 38C/100F temperature is impossible for me: tough when I’m trying to work in the garden. I just reread Lake Woebegon Days about the Minnesota area and was thinking how the weather description in that matched the way I feel about Poland. (I think the extremes are narrowerin Poland in reality.) Poland is definitely a four season country, with the weather of the four seasons each being distinct and prolonged, though not consistent in timing. We are hovering on the borders of autumn and winter at the moment.

    One of the desirable costs I have not yet faced up to is summer air-conditioning, but if I had had a million złoties that wouldn’t be a problem, even with everything is else on your list. In London (200,000 pounds), I’d probably have a flat and be worried about heating costs and little else. Is property really so cheap in the US (in places where they have winter and have to pay for heating) that you could everything on your list for 300,000 dollars?

    1. Well London has less extreme weather than Poland. If I had to move back to Europe maybe I would like in the UK because ironically the weather is better. I am in Florida now and really do not use air conditioning yet. remember people lived in hot Florida for hundreds of years without it. Poland has cool summers. It is mostly in the 60s F or like 20 C. I have never experienced 38 c or 100 F in Poland in all the years I live there.Maybe it happens but if you look at the average temperature it is cool.

      1. Mark,

        So you moved back to Florida? Look at you? Aha? Missed USA after all, the best. I love USA and I love Ppland but feel better in USA, I forgot to add I LoVE your articles about Poland vs USA, so great.

        1. Thanks for the kind words Eva. I moved back to the USA from Poland, for several reasons, but not really that I missed the USA but mostly I like to do things outside. Here in Florida I surf and play outside twelve months out of the year. Also I wanted to improve my daughters English. However, when I have more cash I intend to build a house in the Polish countryside and spend the summers there.
          I do feel good in the USA, but I love Poland and will do both countries. My brother is an American and UK citizen and has commuted back and forth most of his life. He has a flat in London and a place in Florida and Boston.

          I think the weather is great in the USA and now that prices are equalizing, if you hold two passports or have a visa it depends what you like, romantic, dark cold, gothic cultured Europe or fun in the sun but generic unicultured USA. If we have Global warming and I can surf in the Baltic in January than I will move back full-time.

          There is a difference in culture in the way people relate to each other, for example when you walk into a shop in Poland the clerks watch you and follow you. But in the USA people help you or leave you alone. However, Poland is like Mayberry, it does not have serious crimes, although I was involved in one in Poland and it was not fun. But generally it is safer, it is a sweet society.

    2. My wife and I plus two sons were in Poland in 1997 and I assume that is has changed much since we visited. We did find the people in the villages to be friendly, more so than in Cracow. My family originally came from southern Poland and we visited some family there. He was a part of the AK, the national Polish Army, Anti Communist. He was also in the Warsaw uprising, the one which caused the destruction of Warsaw. I believe the people of Poland still have that aura about them of nobility about them, a gentility which is where the Pan came from, equal to our Sir. My grandfather came from Poland prior to 1900 and it at that time was still a part of Austria called the Kroneland of Austria or Galicia. It was relatively a poor area and farming was difficult. I could see it when I was there. Actually my family, on my father’s side were imports, Walddeutsche or Germans who were imported by the Emperor to take the place of farmers who died in one of the epidemics. Like in America’s west, 40 acres and a mule. Anyway the poor Poles still have to get rid of the residual mentality of communism they suffered under the Soviet Union. Ukraine seems to be the worst of it since they were occupied since WWI, prior to that by the Poles and the Austrians.

      1. No disrespect but you seem to be in a time warp. You are right much has changed. I right this a little bit to tease you so do not take it personally. But you rehash things that more than a century ago.

        It is like going to the South in the USA and talking about the US Civil War. Poland is a modern EU country and in many ways the USA is behind. The USA uses checks in banking still and does not have good public transport for example. Malls often look outdated and run down while in Poland the malls are new and with the best stores. Americans are one paycheck away from being behind in the bills while Poles have their houses paid in cash. Poland is an advanced cultural country and economically I defy any American to go there and teach them about capitalism as I think you will come back with a lesson yourself.

  2. I have been in Poland for almost a year now, having moved from Australia with my Wife and newborn child. The summer of 2012 was the hottest and longest on record. Last year, there were definitely several days approaching 40 degrees. However, this is the exception to the rule, I hear!
    It really started snowing for the first time yesterday, the 14th of January 2012. Very late by Polish standards.

    Business in the European marketplace is different from both Australia and the US (I lived and worked in Chicago for several years previously). Sure it’s a free market economy in these post-communistic days, however…. doing business in Europe is much more competitive and is often by invitation. Having the cash doesn’t guarantee the deal but understand the culture and being at least conversational in several European languages matching the intended markets goes a long way indeed!

    To live successfully in Europe, including Poland, you need to be tough but not overly aggressive. I think that being taken for a ride is not exclusively the domain of Poland and in the US it happens on a grander and more subtle scale than here!

    Europeans don’t really tolerate BS and treat you accordingly. Whereas in the US, being a BS’er is considered to be more of an endearing personality trait.

  3. I have never been in US. I would love to be able to compare it as you. Maybe once 😉 I have been in England for some, in Belgium more than a year and I must say that the weather of these countries I couldn’t stand positively… so I moved. Much better I feel myself in warmer countries as Italy or Spain. But also I am interested in checking how it is in Finland, especially in a winter time.. but currently in the central Europe close to me in Romania or even in mentioned just before Italy they could have enough of snow too 😉

  4. Are there waves big enough in the Baltic to surf? I really don’t know, but looking at the map it looks so closed in – like there would not be a long stretch for wind to build up the waves. On the other hand, if the water is shallow enough then waves will build up quickly. I have heard that some of the most dangerous sailing in the world is on the Great Lakes in USA because the water is so shallow that big waves can build up without much wind.

    1. You can wind surf it and maybe in a storm but compared to Florida or Hawaii, the Baltic does not have the big waves, except during stormy days, then you can surf it. Gues use wet suits and and are out in force.

  5. Hi, I am Polish. Did college in the US in experimental animation and a few years in the businesses at dream works etc now but always want to go back to my country but don’t know anymore because I am in have my sculpture gallery and secure job here. I want to know if I can have a future in the field I work as an artist like I do here, what do thing is the best step for me?

    1. The chances are virtually the same. It is all about making the right connections in Europe. Try to think of Poland as Europe. Films are being made all over. I think animation on the web and movies, especially out of Hollywood movies are exponentially increasing. This is because the film industry is not about the movie theaters but the market to Netflix and other streaming content providers that demand a constant flow of material that no one can keep up with. In the USA everyone is looking for the next kids movie or animation.
      Your possibilities are limitless, yet it is the marketing and connections that will determine your future in the traditional route or your own ability to market with channels like Youtube. Yes, if you do a few good animations you can market it on Youtube and make money. You need a website etc and all that might take years to learn. But I am doing things like this and so can you. Learn yourself and do it yourself if the new trend.
      My friend wrote a book with a major publisher was on CNN and Time magazine, yet did not make much money, then did one himself and he made money. Understand? The world as we know it and operates is changing and you want to be self educated and ahead of the curve.

  6. Hi Mark-

    You have lots of great information. I am in my mid-twenties and I have been thinking about going to Poland to teach English on a 6th month contract. I would have my TEFEL cert if I do this. Do you know options if I was interested in staying afterwards? Do schools like to hire Americans to teach English? Its a big commitment to come over and I would prefer to stay and not leave after 6 months. I have a decent job in the US and I’m debating on what to do. Any suggestions or information would be greatly appreciated. I have been to Krakow and Warsaw once before for a short visit.

    1. You are a native speaker. You can get a job no problem. You do not need any certification as you are a native speaker. I taught for eight years at many schools and no certification needed. Just make sure you go with a good school that pays you right. Worst case, which is not really bad, you can teach at a Callan school to start, that is what I did.

  7. Cześć Mark,
    I am a US citizen moving to Poland. I was lucky enough to meet and fall in love with a Polish woman this summer. I am currently exploring my options to live there permanently. It seems that the easiest and most common way to do this is to become a native speaking English teacher. Unfortunately I do not have any certification and my research had lead me to believe that certification was necessary. I see that you believe otherwise, which is encouraging. I have no connections to Poland (other than a wonderful girlfriend). What information and advice do you have for me to get a job as a native speaking English teacher? Where do I start?
    I am hoping to move there as soon as possible.
    Thank you for your time,
    Jake

    1. You need no certification, just move there and you can start teaching privately or with any private school. Only in public schools might you need certifications, but the private sector pays more.

  8. I stubbled across this blog and wanted to join the conversation. I am 35 years of age and came to the USA-NYC in 1987. I am currently married and we have two kids. I have been thinking of returning back to Poland for good for about 2 years now. Last time I was in Poland was 4 years ago. I really loved it. The only thing that is holding me back is that I am afraid I will go there and won’t find a decent paying job. I currently hold a Masters Degree and work with the disabled population. I know that in Poland these types of jobs are not welled paid. I do also have my small photography business on the side. Which I intend on doing in Poland as well. I am originally from Wroclaw and my wife is from Minsk-Mazowiecki. I was also thinking of teaching English privately on the side. Not sure what I can do in Poland with my education and English. I am not fluent in Polish. I can speak speak and comprehend everything but my reading and writting is not that strong.

    Mark I do have to disagree with you when it comes to the 3 seasons in Poland. My parents live there and they tell me it is actually warmer in Poland during the summer then it is in NYC.

  9. I can attest to the ridiculous rent, at least in NJ. We pay 1850 for a three bedroom townhouse, plus all utilities. Everything else around is also really expensive. There are far too many families living here that are below middle class, which no longer exists.. My fiancée is from Poland and I am from America.. I have been begging him to go back to Europe ( I think he’s cracking ). The move would be expensive, but in two years living here we have barely been able to make even ends meet.

  10. I see that the view of the writer is based mainly on Florida’s point of view. I do not like the opinion that Poles are unfriendly, especially in big cities. This is based on the writer experience who maybe landed in some unfriendly areas. A similar situation is here, in the “bakward” communities where some foreigners are treated like a 13 category citizens. I believe that any generalization is risky without providing reliable data.

    I left Poland just before the Martial Law. Since, I have visited my old country many times, mainly on business trips. However, I also spent weeks of vacation there. Many Americans were in my business group while visiting Poland. They were super-sized with the progress that Poland had made since their first visit in 1992. Now, Poland looks like a new country with beautiful cities, rebuilt villages, good public transportation, good standard of living. Are there poor people? Yes, they are; however, they are in every country.

    I am an old man. The homesickness is a difficult part of my psychology now. I plan to come back to Poland not because life there is cheaper and it is not as hot as it is in overcrowded Florida. I missed my Mazowsze, Bemowo (a part of Warsaw), beautiful churches, and my friends. What keeps me here? My children and grandchildren.

    I am a person who greatly succeeded in the USA, despite the fact that was 42 when arriving here and with zero knowledge of English. In other words, the economical situation is not an issue for me. I just missed Poland.

    Sincerely,

    Tadeusz

    1. I love Poland. Poland is a beautiful European country and I would say that Americans are friendly when you first meet them but, not always after. That is the culture. Poland in contrast people can be reserved but when you know them they are wonderful. Each person is an individual of course. At this juncture, Poland is a fairly wealthy country, however, you measure that. I live in Florida now but could equally live in Poland and be just as happy. There are a lot of subjective utility preference measure and indifference curves that determine what is economically and socially optimal for an individual.

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