Life in Poland – What is it like?

Everyday life in Poland

As an American who has spent a good part of his life in Poland (I am a Polish citizen also) I have a unique perceptive on life in Poland. I can see this better than a native Pole in some ways as I have something to compare it with.The bottom line here is life in American is easy but life in Poland is beautiful.

Despite the fact that Poles love to complain and be contradictory and argue that things are wrong, the reality I think most of them in their hearts know how beautiful of a country it is.

The way I see Poland

The first thing you will notice about Poland is life is sweeter. You do not make as much money or have all the niceties of living in the US or UK but life has a quality all its own. It is like living in another century. If you have ever seen the movie ‘Kate and Leopold’, you have the idea. Life has a different feel to it that you can not describe. Yes, in the States we have more Playstation, but so what.

beautiful life Poland
It would be hard to argue life in Poland is anything but beautiful

What I mean is there are just as many things in Poland as in the USA to buy and consume, however, the culture here is people would rather spend their time in a park reading a book than a mall. People are much closer to their families and often live three generation in the same house. Unless you live in a city, every Polish person I know has a small piece of land and they grow something.

Being a good human and Christian is the focus of most unless you are one of these new rich metro men.

Polish life Krakow
Green Krakow – note the monestary on the right

Economics of Poland

The first thing people ask is what is it like in terms of the economy.  What is the cost of living in Poland? Well Poland is a modern EU country that left communism a quarter of a century ago. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit you can make as much money as you want in Poland. Working at job is harder you need to have concrete skills. If you are an entrepreneur or a manager you will be richer than your counterparts in London or New York if you factor in the Polish standard of living and lifestyle. I know people will disagree with me on this, but human labor, from baby sitters to house cleaners, special tutors for your children, personal trainers and massage people and garners are very cheap. You can buy local organic vegetables that cost a lot in the USA. You can take vacations to places like Crimea or the Baltic for relatively little money.

Bonarka Krakow Poland
How can you say Poland is poor?

If you are a worker you will be about 20% poor than in the USA. That is the reality because Poland had the war and communism.But not everything is about Złoty and dollars. Further, Poles get around the system a lot so what they report might not be the reality. I see a lot of big cars in Poland and nice houses.

mall in Poland
Small mall in Poland

It will take until about 2025 until Poland is on par with the West in terms of worker. But in terms of managers and business owners, except for the extremes it is already there, actually higher as reported in the Economist magzine. I wrote an article on Why Polish wages are low.

economic life in Poland
If you make money, you have a nice life in Poland

Dating life in Poland

It is 100% better for love and marriage. If you are marriage in Poland you wife will stand by your side and be very loyal. She will not care about money and it would be considered gouache to focus on such things. Not every Polish girl is like this as there are new Poles who are as bad or worse than the US and will divorce you or not date you if you are not making money. But generally Polish dating is all about marriage and having a family. If you are not married it is a great place to find a spouse. Ask me if you have questions.

Day to-day life in Poland

It is the same as all over the world, except things move at a slower pace. People are more relaxed and easy-going. If you send someone and e-mail do not expect it to be returned right away. Even me, I am lazy about this but in the USA I would not do this.

It depends if you live in the city or country in Poland.

Polish farm house
Polish farm house in anytown, Poland – the coutryside is amazing.

In Poland I shop for food everyday. My wife cooks homemade meals from scratch everyday. Poles do not go out to eat too much as if you have a Polish wife cooking what is the point, the food will be of lower quality at a restaurant.

nature Poland house
Garden house in Krakow – at least I hope it is a garden house.

Living in Poland is like living anywhere else in Europe. I think the Poles tend to be more connected to nature as manifest by the large percentage of people in Poland who have farms or gardens. Even in Krakow, there are a number of garden houses.

garden house krakow Poland city center
Now this is a charming garden house in Krakow

Polish weather is not the best

I would say six months you stay inside because of winter. Three months are 50-50 and three months are ideal. Summer all business basically slow down to a snail’s pace.

Try to get something done in the summer. You will notice the whole country is on vacation. Krakow, the Baltic coast Warsaw even is left for the tourists.

People are not smiling as much in Poland,  I think mostly because of the weather. It is a micro climate where moisture from the Atalanta meets cold weather from the north and it is mostly damp, cloudy and cool.

I would say only one in five days are really sunny at best.

Are Polish people friendly?

I think generally Polish people are friendly. You always have more primitive people who are negative and angry about life, but in my experience people are very nice in Poland. If someone is upset at life they will be upset at the world. It is not you. While in America, I think people are more friendly, at least on a superficial level. It is more like it takes people time to trust you and you have to earn your respect.

Customer service in Poland

It is getting better but not the best. Basically if something breaks it is your problem, even if the EU grants you a two-year warranty. To get a return on a defective product you need to prove everything and they will still tell you no. But in the end if you argue you will get it, because that is the law. Do not yield to intimidation. The first answer will always be ‘no’. It is your problem. Why are you bothering me. You need to complain to the top.

Government in Poland

It is exactly like customer service. At the basic level it makes paperwork hard. People take it easy and do not know their job. However, at a higher level, the people in charge are very responsible and want to improve the system. I think Poland is still a socialist country weighted down by an army of bureaucrats. It is changing fast but not fast enough. Poland could be one of the richest countries in Europe, in seven years, if it eliminated the income tax. However, to do this it would have to modernized, computerize all aspects of government. It would have to privatize the social state. In return it would be a rich country for all.

Demographically Poland is going from 40 million to 35 million very soon. People have few kids and many leave for the USA, UK and now Germany as the EU is one market. In some ways this is great, housing prices in Poland should continue to fall, but on the other hand the fat government will not be able to pay the bills and will tax the people or to p[ay for the fat bureaucrats pensions. I do not know what will happen. I think eventually Poland will invite immigrants from Ukraine and Asia and Turkey. If you want to get a Polish citizenship and you have Polish roots, you are welcome.

Transportation in Poland

Going on a decade of living here and I do not need a car. Does that say something. Every small town as a good bus or rail connection and every city has trams and buses. It is very easy to get around Europe without a car. I have never had a problem. Polish people complain about Polish roads but there is less traffic here. In Krakow you can get from one end of the city to another in 1/2 hour. Try doing that in Boston, maybe you can on a Sunday, but not Monday morning rush hour.

Sports in Poland

People are not as into sports as in the USA. except for soccer every one is pretty much just walking for fitness. There are gyms of course, but people ride bikes and walk and look very thin, not as meaty as American guys for example, more intellectual. But Americans are very smart people, just more like the ancient Romans and the European like the ancient Greeks. People play chess a lot like in all Eastern European post communist countries.

Education in Poland

It is a classical education, focused on literature, languages, history and religious as well as science and math. No Political correctness added. More about know Polish literature and history and liberal arts. I like this ideal. The average Poles is much more aware of the world than most people in the west about geography and art and literature. No question, however, people in the West have a more realistic view of business and understanding of markets. Poeple in the USA understand a job is to make money and do a service. In Poland people granduate with Masters degrees and think it is below them to work in a shop. This is crazy, just because you have a degree means nothing. Polish students need to realize this.

Religious life is important in Poland

Do not be mislead that region is gone. Religious families have many children, not religious new Poles do not have kids. Do the math. New Poles might win out, however, I think no one can predict the future. Today, faith is very alive in Poland and the center of life for most.

Family and faith is the center.

normal life everyday park
Everyday life centers on faith and family in Eastern Europe.

I love living in Poland and if you have any questions or are thinking of moving to Poland, just write.




132 responses to “Life in Poland – What is it like?”

  1. Eesha

    Hello Mark. Thank you so much for all the useful information you’ve shared. I’m an Indian, currently working in telecom industry, in customer service and I’m planning to move to Poland. I will be alone and all on my own in Poland. But I’m a bit nervous about the rent and kind of apartments or houses available there. I will be on a strict budget. There is no point in spending too much on living expenses, when you are moving to another country so you may earn and save more.. What do you suggest?

    1. Mark Biernat

      Poland is modern in terms of standards. In the US I see much worse standards often. I am a Realtor in the USA, I know. Nothing to worry about, it is a modern honest country and just using your own economic judgement you can survive easily in Poland as in any country.

  2. Patricia Stulc

    Wow, I’m surprised how many comments you have received in such a short time. I am an RN in the U.S. with several decades of experience and my husband has been a farmer/rancher with all the skills needed to farm, fix equipment including tractors and vehicles. How difficult is it to get a Residence Visa so we can move there with our two young children? We tend to be self sufficient so we would like to find a place with at least 40 acres and a home but still be within a half hour of a decent sized city, preferably in the warmer part of Poland. Do you think, given my husband’s many skills and my specific ones, that we could find something reasonably priced for what we are looking for and both be able to find jobs in our fields?

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