If living in Warsaw, Poland was ever crossed in your mind, don’t miss the experience of two Argentinians living in one of the cheapest countries to live in Europe.

Two Argentinians living in Warsaw, Poland

  • Basic information: We’re Alejandro and Florencia and we’re both 30 years old
  • Where are you from and what’s your occupation? We are from Buenos Aires, Argentina. We’ve been working for 10 years in a multinational technology company.
  • Where do you actually live? We live in Warsaw, Poland.
  • Why did you move to this country? The area of the company we worked for moved its headquarters to Warsaw and we were offered to move. We chose to come here because it had been a while that the idea of embarking on a long journey crossed our minds, so we took advantage of this opportunity.
  • How long have you been living in Poland? We have been living here for a year.

Procedures for living in Warsaw, Poland

What have been the procedures to be able to stabilize you there (as in, to rent a flat and be able to work)? Did you need some kind of visa?: As for the work, the company took care of absolutely everything.

On the subject of renting the apartment we were asked for the employment contract, a deposit (equal to the total rent) and our IDs.

Regarding the visa, we didn’t need it because we’re both European citizens. However, we did have to process the Polish “personal identification number”, called PESEL. This is a mandatory procedure for all inhabitants living in Poland (including temporary residents). An address in Poland Is required to process it.

Without a PESEL number, for example, you can’t buy prescription drugs or hire internet service at home, etc.

Do you need to learn Polish to live in the country?

How was your adaptation with the language? Is it necessary to know Polish to live in the country?

Polish is a very difficult language (even the Poles themselves say it), so the adaptation with it is a little complicated. However, in our experience, speaking English is enough: we were able to personally verify that professionals actually do speak English too (doctors, customer service, sales, bank, etc.), although obviously not all Poles speak it .

Anyway we recommend that you learn the basic things to be able to communicate for the everyday things.

What was like to get used to the climate difference?

It was very difficult. There were a few sunny days during the whole year. Little heat during spring and summer and the rest of the seasons are really cold. For example, now in autumn there are minimums of -5 degrees and snowfall is about to arrive.

When we arrived in January, the first thing we did was buy warm clothes. We recommend doing that as the clothes here are especially made for this type of cold.

What is it like to live in Poland?

Which cultural differences have caught your attention? Do you have any particular story you want to share?

It’s a really different culture.

They are not warm like Latinos or Spaniards or Italians may be. They are friendly but also reserved and usually they need more time to gain confidence.

One of the things that caught our attention the most is that they don’t normally greet each other with a kiss or a hug, instead they shake hands. However, between family or friends, greetings are more intimate.

It was funny when, in our early days of work, we greeted the whole team with a kiss and their reaction was to stand completely still and laugh.

Another difference is that when they enter a house, they take off their shoes.

The everyday schedules are very different from what we were used to, for example, meal times: we have the dinner routine between 9pm and 10 pm, while here they usually dine around 4pm.

Living in Poland vs. living in Argentina

Shops, except mini markets, are closed on Sundays. In Argentina, we usually go to the bakery on Sunday mornings to buy things for breakfast but here you can’t haha.

Perhaps one of the two cultural differences that caught our attention the most (and which we have a hard time adapting to) is the leisure hours schedules. You’re allowed to make noise until 10pm if you live in a building and party nights end before 3am. We once wanted to go to a bar for dinner and a drink and we couldn’t have dinner. We finally had a drink at the bar and went back to our house for dinner. There we realized (asking our Polish friends) that normally there is no such thing as “drink and food bar”, but that there are few bars called “gastrobar” that offer also food in addition to drinks.

Another difference, surely the strongest, is that there is not so much tolerance for homosexuality, they still repress or discriminate it. In Argentina it is very normal to see gay couples walking holding hands or kissing on the street.

What is work like in Poland?

The difference we like the most is that here an employee has at least 20 days of vacation, when in Argentina it is 15 days.

Another difference is maternity leave: it is a year with salary and other benefits.

Where to look for a job in Poland?

We honestly don’t know how to answer this point because, as we mentioned earlier, we already had a job when we arrived here. However, these are the most common web pages for job search in Poland: Indeed and Pracuj.

What’s the minimum wage in Poland?

The minimum wage in Poland, today, is approximately 610.8 euros per month (DATAMACRO).

What’s the cost of living Warsaw in Poland?

Poland is surely one of the cheapest countries in Europe, so the cost of living is very good, anyway with 600 euros per month you may have to share a flat with someone or rent a small apartment.

We are lucky to have a salary a bit higher than the minimum, which allows us to cover basic monthly expenses (rent, home services, internet, food) and save to travel.

Obviously it all depends on the quality of life one chooses to lead, but Poland, in general, gives very good economic stability.

Other estimated expenses

  • Grocery expenses for two people: about 222 euros per month.
  • Transport single ticket: 1 euro, lasts 75 minutes.
  • The phone company we use is Orange: 15 euros per month (Unlimited Gb in Poland and 6Gb in the European Union).

NOTE: the currency of Poland is zloty (sloti) but to make it easier, we preferred to make the change to euros.

Tips for living in Warsaw, Poland

  • Would you recommend this country to live? Although cultural differences, language and climate are important, we recommend living in Poland because the quality of life is exceptional. Not only because it’s cheap and allows us to do a lot of things we couldn’t do before, but also because the cities are very safe and really clean.
  • Do you plan to live there for a long period? Our idea at first was to stay for two years but the pandemic due to Covid-19 delayed many of the trips we had scheduled. So, surely our stay in this country will be extended. Today we plan to live here while we travel: Poland and our work give us that kind freedom and we want to make the most of it.
  • And for anyone who wants to move to Poland, what would you advise them? We advise them to come very open-minded and predisposed to a new culture. Also, make the most of how cheap it is as a country, so you can travel as much as you can or live a stable life.

Upcoming projects

Our next destination, if possible, would be Madrid to spend New Year’s Eve there.

Then, we’d like to be able to complete the trips that were cancelled during this year: Edinburgh, Dublin (for St. Patrick), London, Barcelona and Paris. We want to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, but the truth is that we don’t usually schedule any long-term destinations, firstly because of the pandemic and secondly because it’s a spontaneous decision, that we make month by month and that depends on the flight offers we find, some particular event we want to attend or just where life takes us at that time.

In short, if you want to live a challenging experience in a cheap country, with the possibility of moving to other border countries (Germany, Lithuania, Czech Republic among others) and you are not afraid of the cold, Poland is your destination.

Interview conducted in November 2020 with @Florencia and @Alejandro.

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