Tag Archives: Opinions on Poland

What (some) foreigners think about Poland


Thanks to the fine investigative journalism of onet.tv, we are able to watch a video in which 11 foreigners pass on their words of wisdom about life in Poland and Poles in general. As Polandian is dedicated to bringing you all the latest (and more importantly – accurate) international insight into matters Polski, I’ve watched the video a few times now and even taken notes! At the end of it all I’m left wondering whether it is meant to be a; documentary, educational tool or a comedy. So far, I’m leaning in the direction of the latter.

Here’s what Polandian’s own Ciocia Dorota has to say about what they had to say, so to say………

Rafael, Spanish, 3 years in PL

  • When the Police stop me I  just pretend not to speak Polish or English, only Spanish. The police keep asking me for money.
  • When Poles go to Carrefour they only buy “two lemons and a little milk”. If they want to do that they should go to the shop downstairs. When I go to Carrefour I buys tons of stuff.

Rafael clearly needs introducing to Brad Zimmerman, Polandian’s own Law & Justice party, who will put him straight about how to handle the police and how not to meet them in the first place.

As for Carrefour, I don’t know what to say! Firstly, nobody in their right mind would buy fruit or veg in Carrefour and secondly, what is a “little” milk? What I enjoyed most about Rafael’s sketch was the way he says he has to “pretend” he can’t speak English. I couldn’t understand a word he was saying!

Analisa, American, 2 years in PL

  • Polish bureaucracy is a disaster! Nobody wants to help me and nobody speaks even a word of English.
  • Old women want to take my seat on trams and the metro.

I think foreigner’s impressions of our wonderful bureaucratic system depend on two things; what system they are used to at home and how much involvement they have to have with the Polish version. For example, Brits and Yanks whine on relentlessly about Polish bureaucracy because at home it’s made a lot easier for them. Ever hear an Italian or a Spaniard moaning about Polish bureaucracy…no, point made. Then there’s the obvious problem that most foreigners who want to stay in our beautiful kraj will need to go begging to quite a few governmental institutions. This is a bad situation to be in, even for Poles.

Old women, especially those with mohair berets and army-surplus boots, will want to take everything you have, Analisa, get used to it!

Vanessa, South African, 2 years in PL

  • In the immigration department nobody speaks English.
  • “Wow! Someone smiled at me'”
  • “People ask me if I’m from another planet” {she has slightly brown skin – ED}

Vanessa, darling. Regarding immigration you can read above about Polish bureaucracy but also understand that Poland does not actually encourage immigration. I think we’re worried they will partition the country.

People smile at me all the time but perhaps that’s because I’m such a happy person and I smile at them first! Don’t worry, be happy!

The “other planet” comment is really just a by-product of not encouraging immigration. We don’t often see brown people in Poland so unless there’s a circus in town you can expect some comments like this.

Nashuk, Bangladeshi, 4 years in PL

  • Poles like to drive “fastly” (100 km/hr)
  • Poles are sad people who don’t know how to smile or look at other people.
  • I like blonde Polish girls but the Polish guys get angry about it.

Gosh, we really do have some issues here, Nashuk! Driving is a subject often discussed on Polandian so my best advice is to read through here first. Generally I have to agree that Poles drive too fastly but it may be it seems faster to you because rickshaws are very much slower? You do have rickshaws in Bangladesh, right?

Poles are sad and can’t smile or look at people. You know this came up with another person of colour, Vanessa, could it be that Poles are either scared or shy of people who look different? Perhaps they don’t want to be accused of staring?

Our blonde girls are really very nice but not the brightest of the bunch. Having said that, our very own Doda has an IQ of over 700 so perhaps I’m doing blondies and injustice? I’m a brunette myself. Polish guys get jealous at the drop of a hat, don’t worry about that.

Samitra, Thai, 3 years in PL

  • Poles just go to bus stop, go to metro……..???
  • A lot of people try to imitate Chinese people around me.

I wish I could understand you better, Samitra, but Polish people have to get places and so they travel on buses and metros. Hope that helps.

Again we have Poles being ‘awkward’ around strange looking people. Then again, it may be that they are actually speaking Chinese and you just don’t understand? Might that be it? We Poles are very well educated you know!

Hussein, Turkish, 3 years in PL

  • It’s better to be English or American in Poland than to be an Arab / Turk.
  • Poles manage to find lots of vodka whenever anyone comes around and then they drink a lot of it in small glasses.

Hussein, bravo to you for speaking Polish so well after only three years. Running a kebab shop as you do is obviously one way to quickly get up the Polish język learning curve. Is it not better to be British or American in any country, other than Turkey or Arabia of course? Just a thought.

Vodka, yes, it’s a dying art but we are still quite good at that.

Yusif, Azerbaijani, 6 months in PL

  • Poles get aggressive when they get drunk.
  • Poles think everything in Poland is great.

Yusif, I think you just need more time. If you think Poles get aggressive when drunk, you should hear what my son has to say about living in England!

As for Poles thinking Poland is great, I would only ask what you think about Azerbijan? Perhaps not.

Marco, Italian, 14 years in PL

  • Something about not being able to handle 5 vodkas and liking to drink juice??

Marco, top marks for speaking Polish but after fourteen years I did expect to be able to understand more than 25% of what you said! Anyway, each to his own on the drinks front. You like juice, go for it, you’re Italian so you can probably escape the accusations of being gay! He he.

Robert, Austrian, 3 years in the basement, PL

  • Some people get drunk.
  • A lot of people say kurwa.

Robert, might I suggest that these two points are connected? Nice and concise summary though, as expected from a good Austrian!

Luigi, Italian, 4 years in PL

  • The espresso in Poland is horrible but the cappuccino może być.

Luigi, did we really need to add the word ‘Italian’ after that I wonder?! Last time I spoke to a coffee expert they said the stuff Italians drink every day was pretty naff but then you’re a lawyer so perhaps you can afford the good stuff and need it to stay awake! Anyway, try Coffee Heaven, we all love it. If that doesn’t work, find something more important to worry about or just stick to cappuccino.

Jure, Slovenian, 6 months in PL

  • There are too many people handing out flyers (fliers?)

Jure, after only six months you manage to come up with more  sense than the combined 38.5 years of your colleagues! Good for you, you see it takes a fellow Slav to really understand what’s going on here. Yes, this is a problem and we ALL hope it ends soon. Fiddling with other people’s windscreen wipers should carry a death sentence!

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