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15 Pros and Cons of Living in Poland as a Foreigner!

Poland is an amazing country with plenty to offer if you’re considering moving abroad to somewhere new! If you’re having a hard time deciding whether or not to make the move to Poland, then check out this comprehensive list of 15 major pros and cons of living in Poland. Why listen to me? Well, I’ve actually lived in Poland twice, so I have first-hand experience of what it’s like, so read on to find out more!

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What is Poland Famous For?

don'ts of Poland

What is Poland famous for? Poland is a Central/ Eastern European country (depending on who you speak to!). It is most famous for its medieval architecture, traditional folk music, and delicious cuisine.

The UNESCO-listed Old Town of Kraków is a must-see for visitors to Poland. Its cobbled streets and architecture spanning various historical periods make it a photographer’s paradise. From here, visitors can explore attractions like the Wawel Castle, St Mary’s Basilica, and the Jewish Quarter.

Poland is also known for its vibrant culture and incredible music. Traditional folk music is a major part of the country’s culture and is still enjoyed today. The city of Łódź is a hub for the country’s classical music scene, hosting the International Festival of Organ and Chamber Music and the Spring of Culture and the Penderecki Festival.

Polish food is hearty and simple, featuring ingredients like potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, and game. Its dumplings, soups and sausages are particularly popular. Popular dishes include pierogi (the best food 😉), Bigos (kraut and meat stew), Pollekki (thin pancakes) and lots of other delicious meals to try.

Poland is also known for its winter sports scene. Located along the Carpathian Mountains, Zakopane is a popular destination for skiing and hiking. The country also has a wide variety of spas and mineral springs which attract visitors from all over the world – and are great to relax in.

Overall, Poland is a country of picturesque landscapes, centuries-old architecture, diverse culture, and hearty cuisine. It is the perfect place for almost all types of tourists.

15 Pros and Cons of Living in Poland:

If you’re thinking about making the move to Poland, then check out these 15 pros and cons of living in Poland:

Pros and cons of living in Poland

1. Pro: It’s very safe

Poland is considered a very safe country to visit and live in. Despite its turbulent past and current political climate, its crime rate is extremely low. In fact, 85% of Poland’s population feels safe walking down the streets at night.

The country has strict laws which are strictly enforced. For example, it’s even illegal to jaywalk! There is a large police presence and often, people are stopped to be searched if they are suspected of criminal activity, and there is lots of CCTV almost everywhere.

Although Poland is a secure country to visit, it is still advisable to practice basic safety measures, such as keeping your valuables out of sight and being aware of your surroundings.

Related Post: Don’ts of Poland – 8 Things NOT To Do!

2. Con: The economy isn’t the best

Despite being one of the countries that experienced the largest growth after joining the European Union, the Polish economy has slowed down significantly since the 2008 economic crisis. This has resulted in an increase in unemployment from 7.8% in 2008 to 10.2% in 2018.

The sluggish economy in Poland has led to rising inflation, stagnant wages, and increasing inequality. This economic climate has made it difficult for the average person to make ends meet – and is often why foreigners find Poland so “cheap” when visiting. It is cheap for foreigners, but sadly not people living in Poland.

The economic situation in Poland is difficult, which has resulted in a lack of growth and job opportunities. This has had a negative impact on the quality of life for the average Polish citizen – and is one of the major cons of living in Poland.

3. Pro: People are very friendly

One big pros of living in Poland is that Poland is a country full of friendly people. Even though the stereotype is that Polish people don’t smile, most are eager to welcome visitors.

If you are planning to travel to Poland for a holiday or a business trip, you can expect a warm welcome. The Poles are also very helpful and always willing to offer advice and suggestions on things to do and places to visit.

This can be especially useful for tourists who are visiting the country for the first time. In Polish culture, strangers are treated as friends, and there is an emphasis on politeness and respect. This includes simple gestures such as saying ‘dzień dobry’ (good day) when meeting someone new.

Pros and cons of living in Poland

4. Con: LGBTQ+ isn’t well supported

It should be necessary for people to know that Poland is not the most LGBTQ+ friendly country in the world.

Despite progress in a few Polish cities and a growing acceptance in the younger generations, LGBTQ+ rights are far from accepted everywhere in the country. Poland also lacks protection for LGBTQ+ individuals in the workforce, with no existing laws guaranteeing equal pay or employment opportunities.

Schools are also largely unwelcoming, and homophobic attitudes are often seen in the media. LGBTQ+ people in Poland face many challenges, including social stigma, discrimination, and violence.

Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go until full acceptance and equality are achieved, so this can be important if you’re considering the pros and cons of living in Poland.

5. Pro: The food is amazing

Polish food is hearty and full of flavour, and it has influenced cuisines throughout Europe (and if you know me, let me just say one word: Pierogi 🤭) . Traditional dishes are simple yet delicious and feature ingredients like potatoes, cabbage, mushrooms, and game. Popularly served dishes include pierogi (filled dumplings), bigos (kraut and meat stew), pollekki (thin pancakes), and lots of other delicious dishes.

The country is also renowned for its selection of sausages, including Kielbasa and Biala Kiełbasa, made from pork, veal, beef, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In the winter, hot soups like barszcz and żurek are popular.

If you’re a major foodie, then Poland is a great destination for you, as it offers a delicious selection of traditional dishes that will please even the most discerning palate.

Related Post: Do’s and Don’ts of Krakow – 8 Things You NEED To Know!

6. Con: Unfortunately, there can be a lot of racism

Another one of the biggest cons of living in Poland is that racism is a significant problem in Poland.

Racism in Poland is most often expressed against members of Poland’s black, Roma and migrant communities. These communities sadly report facing discrimination when looking for housing, jobs and accessing basic services.

There are several organisations in Poland which are trying to challenge this racism, as well as political movements which are actively campaigning for change. However, there are still a lot of people in the country who harbour negative opinions about minorities.

Unfortunately, racism is still a problem in Poland. It has a severe impact on the lives of those affected and needs to be addressed to create an inclusive and welcoming society for everyone.

One week in Krakow

7. Pro: The education system is strong

One of the biggest pros of living in Poland is that it offers excellent education to its citizens. The country is widely known for its high-quality education system, which is tailored to meet international standards.

Poland’s universities are some of the oldest and most prestigious in the world. The University of Warsaw is one of the country’s most renowned universities and is considered one of the top 200 universities in the world.

In addition, Poland’s education system is highly affordable for both local and international students. Tuition at some universities in Poland is free for citizens, and others cost just a few thousand to attend.

8. Con: Not many people can speak English

A con that some people face when living in Poland is that not many people can speak English. This can make everyday living challenging.

Additionally, most restaurant menus, signs, and other forms of communication are still only printed in Polish. While some tourist destinations are well-prepared to accommodate foreigners, many are not familiar with the language and may not be able to assist when needed.

The lack of English-speaking residents in Poland can lead to communication problems and create an uncomfortable situation for those who do not speak the language. Thus, it is crucial to at least try to learn a bit of Polish.

Related Post: ULTIMATE: Katowice Travel Guide 2023

9. Pro: The summers are warm

One thing that may surprise people about Poland is that Poland is usually very warm in the summer! Poland has a temperate climate with warm summers and cold winters.

The weather in the summer is usually warm and sunny, although occasional rainfall or thunderstorms are not unusual. July is often the warmest month in Poland and is a great time for outdoor activities like swimming, horseback riding, camping, and hiking.

In addition, the average temperature in summer stays above 20°C (68°F), making it a pleasant and comfortable time to enjoy the beauty of the Polish countryside. With its mix of rural and urban environments, Poland is the ideal destination if you’re looking for a warm escape in the summer months.

Zakopane in snow

10. Con: The winters are harsh

While the warm summer months can be the perfect time to visit and explore Poland, the winters can be long and harsh. Snowfall is common throughout the country and often starts in late November and lasts until mid-March. The temperatures during this time frame can dip well below zero.

The harsh winter weather can make daily activities like driving or walking difficult and dangerous. Roads and sidewalks are often slippery with ice, and transportation is sometimes disrupted due to heavy snow and ice. Many people often need to change the tyres on their cars, and the bleak weather can affect people’s moods.

The harsh winter weather in Poland can make life difficult for residents and visitors alike, but it can also be considered both one of the biggest pros and cons of living in Poland – as the winter months can be very beautiful and lead to activities such as skiing. It is essential to be prepared and take proper precautions to stay safe and healthy during this time.

11. Pro: There’s so much beautiful nature

Poland’s natural beauty is one of its greatest assets, and one of the biggest pros of living in Poland. From stunning shorelines along the Baltic Sea and its hundreds of lakes, to the rolling hills of the Carpathian and Sudeten Mountains, the country is teeming with breathtaking landscapes.

For those seeking adventure, the mountainous regions of Poland offer plenty of opportunities for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. Those hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of city life can explore the forests and camp in one of the many national parks.

With its stunning nature, Poland is an excellent destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a beautiful and peaceful place to call home.

Related Post: Zalipie, Poland: Everything You NEED To Know

12. Con: Polish is very hard to learn

Learning Polish can be extremely difficult for foreigners, depending on which country you’re from. This is mainly due to the fact that Polish is vastly different from English or most other European languages.

Polish utilizes a unique alphabet—the Latin alphabet with diacritics—which makes it difficult for those unfamiliar with it.

In addition, the language has seven cases (grammar structures) and uses gender-based declension (words being affected by gender). This can be challenging for anyone who is used to languages like English.

Personally, I can only speak some broken Polish – even after living there twice. I’m still trying my best to learn, though!

trams in Poland

13. Pro: It has amazing transport links and is centrally located

Another pro of living in Poland is that the country is well-connected via an excellent transport network.

With domestic and international transport links, travelling from place to place is easy and inexpensive. Poland’s domestic flight network covers multiple cities, allowing one to reach any part of the country quickly and cheaply – and outside of the country too!

Additionally, the cities in Poland have fantastic public transport networks with efficient and affordable buses, trams, and trains, meaning you don’t even need a car (which can be good if you’re scared to drive on the right like me!).

14. Con: The cost of living is constantly rising

All over the world right now, the cost of living is rising, so it’s no surprise it is rising in Poland, also.

The cost of groceries, rent and utilities are also increasing, meaning everyday expenses can be a huge strain on salaries.

The rising cost of living can make it difficult to make ends meet, but the government gives some aid in the form of tax credits to help – but unfortunately, it doesn’t help a lot.

15. Pro: There are always things to do

Another one of the biggest pros of living in Poland, is that there is always a huge variety of activities to do throughout the country.

From walking tours in Krakow and salt mines to explore and even music concerts in Warsaw Old Town, there are plenty of things to see and do, making Poland an exciting place to live.

With its diverse range of attractions, adventure activities, cultural events and festivals, living in Poland can be a fun and enjoyable experience.

Poland FAQ:

Is it a good idea to live in Poland?

Yes, living in Poland is a great idea! Poland has a vibrant culture, interesting history, and many activities to explore. There are also many job opportunities in the country, so you’ll surely find something that suits your interests.

Is English enough to live in Poland?

English is widely spoken in Poland, so with basic language knowledge, you should be able to communicate in most daily situations. However, if you want to really get to know the country and engage with locals, it will help to learn some Polish.

Is it cheaper to live in Poland than the UK?

Generally speaking, living in Poland is connected with lower living costs than in the UK. Accommodation and transport can be found at much lower prices, and day-to-day expenses such as food, fuel and utilities tend to be much cheaper – but the wages are much lower.

Pros and Cons of Living in Poland – Conclusion

Hopefully, after reading this post, you’ve learnt more about the biggest pros and cons of living in Poland as a foreigner. Which pros and cons of living in Poland surprised you the most? Are there any pros and cons of living in Poland that haven’t been mentioned in this post? If you ever need any help or advice, then feel free to reach out and contact me. If you liked this post all about the pros and cons of living in Poland, and would like to read some other similar posts, then these are the ones I’d recommend that you check out:

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