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With over a thousand years of rich history, all set between the southern mountains and the Baltic Sea, more and more people are moving to Poland. This country is a perfect choice for those looking for a mix of Eastern and Western Europe, combination of castles, moderate climate and a unique cultural tradition.
It’s more than just history, however. Poland’s stock exchange is the largest in Eastern Europe, generating billions of złoty that are spent on a strong educational system, universal health care and a developed public transport system, especially in the country’s two cosmopolitan hubs of Krakow and Warsaw.
Warsaw is the beating heart of Poland. A modern European city with strong nightlife, thriving green spaces, and Europe’s wildest river, it also has a much higher percentage of English speakers than the rest of the country, helping to ease your transition into Poland.
Most accommodations are available either to buy or to short-term rent, with many landlords taking advantage of summer tourism by renting properties for a few months at a time at most.
Long-term rentals do exist, but tend not to be advertised so it is useful to have someone to help you with the process. There are, however, a large variety of accommodations available, from rooms in city centre apartment blocks to semi-detached houses and villas. Housing agencies should be able to help you find places to live for at least six months.
Poland’s education system was rated the 10th best in the world in 2014. Children here begin with six years of primary school, followed by three years of lower secondary school as part of their compulsory education. Afterwards, they take an exam and either move on to three years at an academic school or four years at a technical one.
Although more and more schools and universities are offering classes taught in English, non-Polish speakers may wish to opt for the international schools, located in many of Poland’s major cities. Most of them are in Warsaw and offer the International Baccalaureate (IB).
In general, the country’s culture is heavily influenced by its fellow Slavic states, especially when it comes to its food and its historical monuments. Polish cuisine has a reputation for being mostly sausage-based dishes, but in fact, it is actually far more varied. A particular highlight is ‘bigos’, a delicious meat stew with sauerkraut and cabbage.
The very large percentage of the country is Catholic, making for a conservative country with strong family values. This does also mean that there are 10 religious holidays across the year, such as Corpus Christi and Easter, along with three more celebrating the country’s constitution, independence and labour force.
The country offers relatively cheap private healthcare, which many ex-pats opt for over the slightly overworked public healthcare system.
Hopefully, however, you will spend little time using the healthcare system, giving you plenty of opportunity to explore the country’s rich history. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including some of the world’s most beautiful castles.
In addition to this, workers are entitled to 20 days annual leave if employed for less than 10 years, or 26 days if more.
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