-Where were you born?
I was born in James Hospital in Dublin 8, Ireland.
-In which country and city are you living now?
I'm living back in Ireland at the moment for financial purposes but do intend to return to Poland shortly.
-Are you living alone or with your family?
I live with my fiancee Anna and my son Grzegorz.
-How long have you been living there?
I rent apartments at the moment so different place every few months usually.
-What is your age?
I'm at the ripe old age of 2.
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Poland?
I first visited Poland in.... think it was April of 2004 as Aer Lingus had just started flying there and I asked a friend to come with me, no reason to go there other than that I worked with one Polish guy and I was curious to see where he came from.
I returned from the holiday, which was rather eventful, including my friend's bag being stolen, having barney with the police, cancelling excursions due to being hung over, being low on money. However, it was a great time there (Krakow). So I just keep going back over there all the time.
I met my fiancee in 2004 and we went over there, then in 2007 we decided to move there to work... no reason especially. I had great visions of living there for about 2 years but I quit after just 3 months of being there.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
No, I just bought a cheap flight and went there.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
I don't even have Medical Insurance in Ireland so no it wasn't hard, I must get some of that crazy stuff.
-How did you make your living in Poland? Did you have any type of income generated?
First day I got there I had like 2-3 interviews lined up. I started my first job within 4 days. Let's be honest, the schools are crying out for native speakers as all the students want to learn from the NS rather than the PL teacher who is speaking incorrect English. Basically we went on the net, saw an advertisement, emailed the school, they called back and we got an interview; actually it wasn't really an interview, more of a 'when can you start' scenario. Bear in mind I had no experience or TEFL whatsover, so that was good.
-Do you speak Polish and do you think it's important to speak the local language?
I know as much Polish as a 3-year-old would know, I've got all these language books which I need to take advantage of still. I hadn't learned before I went and was so lonely there, it was quite a horrible and lonely experience and it played a major factor in my leaving Poland.
-Did you miss home and family sometimes?
I moved back home because I really missed family and shopping and just the simple things you take for granted that you would say in English if you were to go out somewhere.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
I have plans to build our own house in the next year or two providing we get financial support from the banks.
-What about housing, did you buy or rent a home? How much did you pay for it?
We want to build a home there, we got the project plans, just waiting for the government to pull their finger out as planning permission and putting land in someone else's names seemingly takes forever and a day. Actually for us it's been 2 years and still waiting.
-What is the cost of living in Poland?
Depends on what your lifestyle is, I mean we rented in Piaseczno, Warsaw, for 1350zl per month for a good spec studio apartment but I'm sure you can get cheaper of course. Basically in Poland the choice of food is really bland; you won't be buying your usual junk food so that would be considered cheaper. Don't bother buying expensive clothes there because not a lot of people do, at some of the markets you can get nice nicked clothing, lol.
-What did you think about the Polish?
Where I lived I think I was one of only some of the foreigners in the region. I was stared at, when I spoke English people would whisper but whatever, I didn't expect to be welcomed there anyways. I'm not really accepted by my gf's family either, so that's another thing.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Poland?
Positives would be the cheaper cost of living. However, then again the salary is much less. However, there is better quality of life, not so fast paced, more time is given to family quality time there, which is what I like. Also there are better places to go visit on the weekends.
Negatives - People (some) do look down on foreigners there but you must try to win them over.They don't offer a lot of benefits for foreigners, such as won't let foreigners drive cars from native country, can't get loans or mortgages and some banks won't let you open an account unless you have a pesel which is a nightmare to get if you're getting paid into the hand like I was.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Poland?
I'd say take a Polish beginners course at least before coming, it's essential. Some people living there years and still haven't picked up the language, probably due to laziness and that their partner is doing all the talking for them, but the goal to moving abroad and the point of it and so you have a new life, new experience, integrate with the community, new food and new wellbeing and a sense of independence which comes along with living abroad.
It's hard and you will really miss your family, miss your favourite foods and miss going to the local shops and most of all you will miss that conversational aspect of talking to your friends all the time, unless you are blessed enough to have English speaking friends there.
Don't be a wimp and run home like I did, stick at it because Poland's actually not a bad place to live once you have embraced it.