Expat Life in Poland
Fewer expatriates seem to have chosen Poland than any of the other three countries, yet teaching jobs are widely available. Other business opportunities, however, are more difficult to find, unless you work with a large international corporation. But things are changing very rapidly in Poland, so it’s still difficult to say what’s going to happen with the economy.
In Poland’s case, economic uncertainty hasn’t meant that the doors are closed. To the contrary, it may mean that the country is ripe for opportunity. Poland’s young people are not standing around worrying about their future. Many are pursuing higher education in order to ensure more secure futures. Some are starting small businesses. Regardless, all of this means that willing and energetic expatriates can help to bring about change in Poland. You only have to read the following interviews to see that persistence can pay off.
Compared to the Czech Republic, there hasn’t been a sizable enough expat community anywhere in Poland to really set a precedent for the kinds of opportunities that might become available. It’s hard to know exactly what kinds of obstacles there are to creating small businesses as well as other kinds of opportunities. But if you want to teach English, you shouldn’t have much trouble, even without formal qualifications. Many school administrators seem to be willing to train native speakers if they agree to stay on and teach at their school.
Poland is large enough to present certain kinds of future opportunities that the other countries under discussion will never be able to. Sharing its western border with Germany and its eastern border with Russia, the Baltic states, and the Ukraine puts it at the crossroads of an enormous and quickly evolving region. With the Baltic Sea to the north, Poland has greater opportunity to trade with the Scandinavian countries, and greater access to sea lanes. What all of this means for expats who wish to stay in Poland remains to be seen, but it definitely means that Poland’s stature on the international stage can only grow.
Of the expatriates who have settled in Poland, many seem to integrate better into the local communities and get involved in local activities than they do in places like Prague and Budapest, Hungary, where it’s relatively easy to avoid the locals by hanging out in places where only expats congregate. So if you want to find your own little niche among an ordinarily friendly and open people, Poland might be just the place for you. It will definitely challenge you in ways that the other countries won’t simply because it seems more of a frontier than the Czech Republic or Hungary.