Moving to Poland
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, a 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 rentals, 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. Santa Fe temporary housing assistance.
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).
Lifestyle and culture
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.
Costs of living
Living in Poland is generally much cheaper than living in other European countries. Lower costs of food, entertainment and rent make it an attractive destination, however you may need to take into consideration the likelihood that you will be earning less than you may be used to. This is because the average Polish salary in the second quarter of 2019 was around 4900PLN per month, which is roughly 830EUR after-tax.
As with any country, there are cheaper and more expensive regions to settle in, with Bydgoszcz being the cheapest large city and Warsaw being the most expensive. Despite Warsaw and Krakow being the more popular relocation destinations, it’s worth considering cities like Lublin where the cost of living could be less than half.
Rent for a furnished flat would be around 450 EUR for a studio, to 674 EUR for a flat, with approximately 200 EUR needed for bills. Food prices are generally around 50% lower than other European countries, with a basic meal including a drink in a business district costing around 7 EUR. Clothes, on the other hand, tend to be expensive comparatively with a pair of jeans costing about 70 EUR.
Train is by far the most popular way for people to travel in Poland. They are usually on time and tickets are reasonably priced, roughly 25 EUR for a monthly ticket. They are also a great choice for longer distances as the rail network is connected with other major European cities, such as Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Budapest.
For destinations not on the railway line, the buses are very well connected and allow access to even some of the most remote areas of the country.
Cars have been becoming an increasingly popular mode of transport, but they aren’t without risk as vehicle theft remains an issue. If you are planning on driving there, make sure you invest in good car insurance and only park in secured parking lots. As an alternative, taxis are widely available and fairly inexpensive – with them costing around 1.40 EUR to flag down and a further 0.52 EUR per km there after.
Flying has become increasingly popular in recent years, with LOT Polish Airlines providing domestic flights across the country.
Good to know
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 opportunities 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 of annual leave if employed for less than 10 years, or 26 days if more.
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