Working as an English teacher in Poland is a popular job for native English-speaking expats looking to earn some easy cash. But it’s not for everyone. And it’s not as easy as just being able to speak. In addition to knowing how to instil knowledge in others, teaching English in Poland about people skills and deep understanding of the language. A little dose of eccentricity doesn’t hurt either. Think you got what it takes? Read on to find out.
The other day my kid said this: “Mamusiu, co się stało pieskowi?” And I ask my husband, “Is that the correct przypadek?” The answer is positive and it leaves me feeling a bit disappointed in myself and I realize – it has started. My kid’s Polish is already better than mine. How did this happen? He’s only 2.5! He uses proper cases, he uses the right dokonany or niedokonany version of a word, it’s so unfair! When will he start saying things I don’t even understand?!
As you may already know, I’ve had a lot of red tape to get through in my life in Poland. From residence cards, to getting married, to buying a house, it’s been tough but worth it. Now I’m caught up in a new bureaucratic nightmare, which started just days before the birth of my second child – this time with ZUS. Here we go again.
I know there are some taboo topics in Poland like sex (actually true), supposedly money (but everyone talks about it all the time), and health – the topic of today’s post. I’ve had so many situations recently where someone has kept what seems like perfectly normal information about their medical health from me, and it drives me absolutely mad! Please don’t tell me you’re going to the hospital but not why. Please don’t tell me your kid is near death by not why. Please don’t tell me you got a biopsy but not of what. PLEASE. I can’t stand it anymore!
Polish guys are a lot of things. They love football (the European kind), they’re not players, they’re serious meat-eaters, they’re down-to-earth, they can hold their liquor, they aren’t afraid of commitment, and they aren’t particularly open about their feelings. The list goes on. Sound like a bunch of generalizations? Perhaps so, but I think they apply in this case.
So you’re in Poland and you’re feeling daunted by the very idea of learning how to speak Polish. No surprise there. It IS daunting. The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is get started now. Don’t be like me and put it off for 3 years. The sooner you start, the better you’ll feel about yourself and the more independent you’ll be. Here are some tips for how to speak Polish better and faster.
There are plenty of taboo topics in Poland that you should probably avoid in casual conversation, but you don’t bring those topics up on a daily basis. This is one thing you might not even think about. It’s something you probably do without thinking. For sure you think it’s polite and even necessary. Read on to find out what it is you’re doing that makes Poles cringe.
Polish institutions, so any Urząd (perfect word in Polish that doesn’t really translate in English well… some kind of official institution/office) where you need to do something official like Urząd Miejski (city hall), ZUS (social security office), NFZ (national health care service), Urząd Skarbowy (tax office), and Urząd Wojewódzki (voivodeship office, aka the worst place on Earth) are notorious for being slow, confusing, depressing, old-fashioned (they still keep records in little notebooks for Christ’s sake!), the list goes on. But you may still run into some problems and that’s why I’ve compiled this little guide for you.