Are you eager to embark on a new adventure or professional opportunity? Whether you’re choosing your own new destination or moving for work, it’s better not to move blindly to a new city. It is best to invest at least a bit of preparation in your relocation to avoid disappointment and ensure that the whole family appreciates your new city and life as soon as the move is complete.
If you are moving for personal reasons, you will usually be free to choose your new destination. However, a professional opportunity can take you to a city you might never have imagined. Does that mean you should decide against the move? Of course not!
In both cases, it is best to make sure that your new destination matches your priorities and needs. A reconnaissance trip will also allow you to choose the neighbourhood you want to live in and get acquainted with your new adopted city because when it comes to moving, there are lots of good surprises! But there may also be disappointment.
As a specialist in international relocation to and from Poland, Indygo Moving Solutions wants to provide you with a few tips to see whether the country of Lech Walesa is a good fit for your needs and desires and determine which city might suit you best. This short methodological guide may also be useful for other destinations.
Poland acceded to the European Union on 1 May 2004. As such, EU nationals benefit from a uniform and simplified legal framework for travelling, settling and working in Poland, which is definitely a plus.
Membership in the European Union also guarantees relatively standardised national curricula – in addition to subjects such as history, literature and geography, which are naturally specific to each country.
The level of education in Poland is high, as attested by its place at the top of the PISA (International Programme for the Monitoring of Student Achievements) ranking of OECD countries (https://www2.compareyourcountry.org/pisa/). In addition, public schools are free of charge, as are institutes of higher education (universities and major public schools), though the latter are subject to entrance examinations. There are also several study courses in English that allow non-Polish speaking students to study in Poland – an asset if you have older children.
The duel health system (in parallel with the public health system, the private medical sector is very developed) is of good quality with, in particular, a private offer for foreigners and a number of English- and French-speaking practitioners in large cities.
Finally, human security is also recognised at a good level by international rankings such as the Global Peace Index (https://www.visionofhumanity.org/maps/#/)
These international rankings aggregating many data and statistics that provide, above all, an overview of a country’s situation. However, they can sometimes seem divorced from the reality on the ground and everyday life.
To synthesise this information, you need a good awareness of your own needs and priorities. This involves personal criteria related to your individual and family situation. Would you like to move to a big city, a small town or maybe to the countryside?
Do you have children in school? Do you want to choose the local school system or enrol your children in international schools?
The first tool at your disposal to answer your questions and meet your needs is naturally the internet. Search engines and maps of the country and city where you plan to settle provide a wealth of information to familiarise you with the infrastructure, and cultural and leisure opportunities, as well as to make the first useful contacts for your relocation.
Tourist information is also a good way to get to know your future city. The website of the Polish Tourist Office (https://www.poland.travel/en) is a showcase of the tourist and cultural offer of Poland.
In terms of sites and print publications, many publishers of English-speaking tourist guides deal with Poland in general, and large Polish cities in particular, including:
While it is important to visit your future host country and get acquainted with its cultural heritage, remember that discovering a city as a tourist and living there on a daily basis are two different things. It is crucial to also plan a reconnaissance trip – which you can combine with a vacation, though this kind of trip is not just for relaxation.
The reconnaissance trip gives you insight into the infrastructure, atmosphere, amenities, distances and the pros and cons of a city (heavy traffic, well-developed public transport, significant vegetation in the city, etc.).
At this stage, you might want to contact associations for foreigners, such as International Friends of Warsaw (https://www.ifwarsaw.org) and similar organisations in many capitals and major cities of the world, or groups of English-speaking foreigners. In the age of social networks, there are English-speaking Facebook groups in the vast majority of cities around the world.
In Poland, for example, each major and medium-sized city has an “Expats in…” or “Foreigners in” Facebook group which may be useful for seeking advice and opinions from the inhabitants of the city to which you plan to move. These groups are mines of practical information, exchanges of experience and contacts. You will find most likely families or people willing to meet to share their experience in the city.
Tip: only consider well-explained and justified opinions. Opinions are naturally always subjective and the situation and experience of each individual is unique. What is an asset for some may be a disadvantage for others and vice versa.
Finally, as you network, remember to make professional contacts, in particular via LinkedIn, but also chambers of commerce and associations of local Anglophone professionals.
In Poland, there are several active bilateral chambers of commerce. The main ones are:
Several of them have activities and representations outside of Warsaw in Krakow, Gdansk, Katowice, Wroclaw, Poznan and Szczecin. It all depends on the specificities of the bilateral business and trade relationships.
Once you’ve decided on a city, all you have to do is contact Indygo Moving Solutions. With more than 20 years of experience in moving to and from Poland, the English-speaking team of Indygo Moving Solutions is at your disposal to answer your questions and organise your move and new life in Poland.
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