Cultural shock in Poland

Coming from a tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to a big cold Eastern European country was very exciting to me. Even though some people told me about the cultural shock and how I wouldn’t like it here because it’s so different. Well, guess what? I couldn’t be happier!

Having the same routine back at home got really boring. I really needed to escape from that mess. Coming to poland was the perfect solution. The language, the currency, the climate, the people, the food, everything is different. Which is great because that´s why im here. To experience different stuff and see beyond my reality on the island. You really need to get out of your comfort zone in order to grow. Two months here and i already react differently to multiple situations.

But anyways, people are not the same. And because it wasn´t a big shock for me, it doesn´t mean it won´t be for you. So here are some things that suprised me (in a good way) when I got here, that may surprise you too, this way you´ll be ready.

  • Poker faces – people here don´t walk with a smile on their faces. They usually have a poker face and won´t smile at you. Unless you say something funny.
  • Language – polish is like chinese, but worse. For me it was very surprising when I first heard people around me talk. But luckly, young peope have a pretty good english level, so u´ll be fine.
  • Overall cheap prices – you won´t starve in Poland. Food prices are very cheap comparing for ex. to Portugal. I eat a lot and in a healthy way. Which is usually expensive. But not here. I can have a full week of groceries for only 100zl.
  • Nature – Poland is known as the land of fields, and you´d be shocked with the amount of fields they have. The mountains and lakes you find here, you wont find anywhere. Theres a particular beauty to them. A train trip between cities is the perfect way of seeing this. 3 hours will seem like 15 min. when you´re surounded by those views.
  • Currency – going from euro to zloty was confusing. 1 euro equals 4,62 zl. So you can imagine my shock when I bought a sandwich in the airport for 6,92 zl, I immediatly thought it was 6 euro. It actually was only 1.50 eur, which is very cheap. But you´lll get used to it.
  • Paying for the toilet in some places (???).
  • Poles will buy flowers for every occasion.
  • Poles are extremely religious so on Sundays everything is closed and the streets are empty.
  • Be careful when crossing the road, people here dont seem to respect the crosswalks.

Now a little begginer tip, when someone speaks to you and you dont understand, in order to make the situation less akward and uncomfortable, just pretend you are deaf, works everytime.

No place on earth is the same, being able to change according to where you are is not for everyone. Adaptation is part of growing. And traveling is the best way of doing it.

Mafalda A.


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