Our Polish office

Inter Relocation Group
Pro Relocation Sp. z .o.o.

Al. Jerozolimskie 65/79 pok. 03.274
00-697 Warszawa
Poland (Group Member)

Contact
Agnieszka Zagroba – Operations Director
Tel/fax: +48 22 630 61 00
Email: info@interrelo.com
Responsible for: Operations in Poland

Poland Relocation Guide

Key Facts

Government type: Democracy
Capital: Warsaw
Total Area: 312,683 km²
Population: 38.4 million (June  2014 est.)
GDP Per Capita (PPP): $25,247  (2014 est.)

Official languages: Polish
Religions: Roman Catholic (86.9%) , Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%
Country code: +48
Currency: Zlotys (PLN)
Voltage 230V

Brief Overview

Poland has made huge economic strides since 1990 and growth has been rapid, leading to great divergences in standards of living. The country is divided into Poland A (the major cities and the West, bordering Germany) and Poland B (the rest). This regional disparity, unemployment (much of it hidden in subsistence farming), creaking public services and a generous but bankrupt social welfare system inherited from communism, are just some of the social problems Poland needs to address.

The government structure comprises the President, Senate and Sejm (Parliament) chosen by direct election, using a complicated mixture of proportional representation, party lists and first-past-the-post systems. Administratively, the country is divided into 16 voivodeships or provinces (województwo) 380 districts (powiat) and around 2500 communes (gmina).

98% of the Polish population regards Polish as their mother tongue. Polish is a Slavic language based on Latin grammar and strongly influenced by contact with other foreign languages: mainly Czech, French, German, Italian, Russian and most recently English. Polish is unquestionably a difficult language to learn, but the same Polish is spoken throughout the country. There are some regional dialects (eg. Kaszubian) and in some areas you will find Belarusian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian, but standard Polish is used and understood across the country.

Poland experiences cold winters and hot summers with a very dry atmosphere. The heaviest rain is also seen in summer. Average temperatures: -5°C in winter, sometimes down to -25°C for short periods. 20°C in summer, often as high as 30°C for short periods.

Culture

“Bureaucratic, chivalrous, unhelpful, charming, unreliable, hardworking”. These are some of the conflicting adjectives applied to Poles.

Polish bureaucracy is founded on identification – visitors must carry their passport/visa/residence card at all times and this can be a shock to some foreigners. Poles believe stamps give authority to everything, along with sworn translations of documents and the widespread use of notaries. The ladies who work in the various governmental departments and agencies can be very unhelpful and brusque.

In terms of business culture, visitors may notice a certain “communist” hangover in Polish attitudes to authority, customer service (you are privileged to be in their shop), working hours and time off. The concept of ”family” is still refreshingly important and family ties are still strong: Grandparents help bring up children, while children often care for their parents at home in old age. Many employees still value a good work/life balance.

It is common for telephone calls not to be returned and receptionists can be brusque and unhelpful. Some employees have a reputation for passing the buck and keeping their heads down. Few will alert you to a problem – their instinct is to hope the problem goes away without being noticed.

Small talk – Poles like to indulge in pleasantries before settling down to business. Heated arguments (including arm waving and shouting) do not rule out concluding a successful business deal.

Drinking is a part of Polish culture and tradition, with beer and vodka the most common drinks. Wine is growing in popularity in the cities. It is common to see drunken men walking down the middle of the road in the middle of the day in the countryside. However, in the cities drinking has become a largely social affair, restricted to evenings and parties. Gone are the days when each business meeting was accompanied by shots of vodka.

Chivalry is still very much alive.  Hand-kissing and door-opening combines with an automatic respect for elders.  Polish teenagers will offer you seats and ladies go first, with their bags carried for them.

Children are very important and Poland is very child-friendly.  But, any Pole feels entitled to comment on your failure, in their view, to dress/feed/bring up your child properly.

Poles give flowers for all occasions, birthdays, Christmas, dinner or parties.

Polish hospitality is legendary.  Persuading your hosts you have eaten/drunk enough is difficult – saying ‘goodbye’, even more so.  Poles normally say goodbye before putting their coats on (allegedly it is more polite – in practice it means you can say goodbye repeatedly while you dress).

Health Care

In general, the level of Polish medical knowledge and training is high, but the Polish State health service is short of money and as a result its functioning leaves much to be desired. State hospitals look Victorian, lack equipment, color and a good bedside manner and the administrative bureaucracy can be frustrating. On the whole, doctors and nurses are well trained and professional; expatriates may find the atmosphere in a state hospital off-putting, but treatments are usually successful.

Most expatriates use the well-developed private health care system. Clinics provide comprehensive services including family doctors, dentists, specialist consultants, inpatient and outpatient services as well as accident, emergency and ambulance services. All the private clinics have English speaking staff (and often other foreign languages). Many foreign companies have membership deals for their staff at particular clinics, or you can ‘pay as you go’ if your company doesn’t provide cover.

Rental market

In the last few years many properties have been built or refurbished and there are now properties to cater for most tastes and budgets. Standards of construction and finishing are now generally high with many properties offering luxury extras.

However, the increase in standards brought an increase in prices, and rents in Warsaw especially are considered high. The availability of rental properties for expatriates (depending on budget) is good, although higher quality properties tend to be let quickly.

Standard Tenancy: Minimum 6 months – houses 1 year
Security Deposit: Yes, usually equivalent to 1-2 months’ rent
Real Estate Commission: 1 month’s rent + VAT
Utilities: Usually tenant’s responsibility, not included within rent but can be negotiated.

Schools

Polish primary school does not start until a child is 6/7 years old and many Polish parents make use of the international schools to give their child a head start in English. Parents of non-English children can normally arrange additional private lessons in their native language. Almost all of the bigger cities in Poland offer at least 1 International School and in Warsaw you can also find French and German Schools and others.

Warsaw

The American School of Warsaw, Konstancin – US curriculum from 3 to 18 years.
Based at the edge of Konstancin, 12 km to the south of Warsaw. Expensive, but very good. Many expatriates live in Konstancin and it is easy to get to from the residential areas of Wilanow and Sadyba. A good 30/40 minute drive from the centre of town.

The British School, Mokotów and Sadyba – UK curriculum from 3 to 18 years.
The British School lower school is located separately from the rest of the school, in the heart of Mokotów. Very popular with expatriates and Poles alike, places can be a problem. It has a good reputation and teaches the British curriculum, so children are reading and writing by the time they reach Polish primary school age.

The Willy Brandt Deutsche Schule, Sadyba – German curriculum from 6 – 19 years.

Maternelle and Ecole PrimaireSadyba
French Embassy sponsored for 3 to 10 years.

Lycee Renee Goscinny, Saska Kepa,
Secondary school from 10/11 years onwards.

Krakow

The International School (ISK) – US curriculum from 3 to 18 years.

The British School (BISC) – UK curriculum from 3 to 18 years.

Wroclaw

Wroclaw International School

British International School in Wroclaw

Key Facts

Government type: Democracy
Capital: Warsaw
Total Area: 312,683 km²
Population: 38.4 million (June  2014 est.)
GDP Per Capita (PPP): $25,247  (2014 est.)

Official languages: Polish
Religions: Roman Catholic (86.9%) , Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%
Country code: +48
Currency: Zlotys (PLN)
Voltage 230V

Brief Overview

Poland has made huge economic strides since 1990 and growth has been rapid, leading to great divergences in standards of living. The country is divided into Poland A (the major cities and the West, bordering Germany) and Poland B (the rest). This regional disparity, unemployment (much of it hidden in subsistence farming), creaking public services and a generous but bankrupt social welfare system inherited from communism, are just some of the social problems Poland needs to address.

The government structure comprises the President, Senate and Sejm (Parliament) chosen by direct election, using a complicated mixture of proportional representation, party lists and first-past-the-post systems. Administratively, the country is divided into 16 voivodeships or provinces (województwo) 380 districts (powiat) and around 2500 communes (gmina).

98% of the Polish population regards Polish as their mother tongue. Polish is a Slavic language based on Latin grammar and strongly influenced by contact with other foreign languages: mainly Czech, French, German, Italian, Russian and most recently English. Polish is unquestionably a difficult language to learn, but the same Polish is spoken throughout the country. There are some regional dialects (eg. Kaszubian) and in some areas you will find Belarusian, Ukrainian and Lithuanian, but standard Polish is used and understood across the country.

Poland experiences cold winters and hot summers with a very dry atmosphere. The heaviest rain is also seen in summer. Average temperatures: -5°C in winter, sometimes down to -25°C for short periods. 20°C in summer, often as high as 30°C for short periods.

Culture

“Bureaucratic, chivalrous, unhelpful, charming, unreliable, hardworking”. These are some of the conflicting adjectives applied to Poles.

Polish bureaucracy is founded on identification – visitors must carry their passport/visa/residence card at all times and this can be a shock to some foreigners. Poles believe stamps give authority to everything, along with sworn translations of documents and the widespread use of notaries. The ladies who work in the various governmental departments and agencies can be very unhelpful and brusque.

In terms of business culture, visitors may notice a certain “communist” hangover in Polish attitudes to authority, customer service (you are privileged to be in their shop), working hours and time off. The concept of ”family” is still refreshingly important and family ties are still strong: Grandparents help bring up children, while children often care for their parents at home in old age. Many employees still value a good work/life balance.

It is common for telephone calls not to be returned and receptionists can be brusque and unhelpful. Some employees have a reputation for passing the buck and keeping their heads down. Few will alert you to a problem – their instinct is to hope the problem goes away without being noticed.

Small talk – Poles like to indulge in pleasantries before settling down to business. Heated arguments (including arm waving and shouting) do not rule out concluding a successful business deal.

Drinking is a part of Polish culture and tradition, with beer and vodka the most common drinks. Wine is growing in popularity in the cities. It is common to see drunken men walking down the middle of the road in the middle of the day in the countryside. However, in the cities drinking has become a largely social affair, restricted to evenings and parties. Gone are the days when each business meeting was accompanied by shots of vodka.

Chivalry is still very much alive.  Hand-kissing and door-opening combines with an automatic respect for elders.  Polish teenagers will offer you seats and ladies go first, with their bags carried for them.

Children are very important and Poland is very child-friendly.  But, any Pole feels entitled to comment on your failure, in their view, to dress/feed/bring up your child properly.

Poles give flowers for all occasions, birthdays, Christmas, dinner or parties.

Polish hospitality is legendary.  Persuading your hosts you have eaten/drunk enough is difficult – saying ‘goodbye’, even more so.  Poles normally say goodbye before putting their coats on (allegedly it is more polite – in practice it means you can say goodbye repeatedly while you dress).

Health Care

In general, the level of Polish medical knowledge and training is high, but the Polish State health service is short of money and as a result its functioning leaves much to be desired.State hospitals look Victorian, lack equipment, color and a good bedside manner and the administrative bureaucracy can be frustrating. On the whole, doctors and nurses are well trained and professional; expatriates may find the atmosphere in a state hospital off-putting, but treatments are usually successful.

Most expatriates use the well-developed private health care system. Clinics provide comprehensive services including family doctors, dentists, specialist consultants, inpatient and outpatient services as well as accident, emergency and ambulance services. All the private clinics have English speaking staff (and often other foreign languages). Many foreign companies have membership deals for their staff at particular clinics, or you can ‘pay as you go’ if your company doesn’t provide cover.

Rental Market

In the last few years many properties have been built or refurbished and there are now properties to cater for most tastes and budgets. Standards of construction and finishing are now generally high with many properties offering luxury extras.

However, the increase in standards brought an increase in prices, and rents in Warsaw especially are considered high. The availability of rental properties for expatriates (depending on budget) is good, although higher quality properties tend to be let quickly.

Standard Tenancy: Minimum 6 months – houses 1 year
Security Deposit: Yes, usually equivalent to 1-2 months’ rent
Real Estate Commission: 1 month’s rent + VAT
Utilities: Usually tenant’s responsibility, not included within rent but can be negotiated.

Schools

Polish primary school does not start until a child is 6/7 years old and many Polish parents make use of the international schools to give their child a head start in English. Parents of non-English children can normally arrange additional private lessons in their native language. Almost all of the bigger cities in Poland offer at least 1 International School and in Warsaw you can also find French and German Schools and others.

Warsaw

The American School of Warsaw, Konstancin – US curriculum from 3 to 18 years.
Based at the edge of Konstancin, 12 km to the south of Warsaw. Expensive, but very good. Many expatriates live in Konstancin and it is easy to get to from the residential areas of Wilanow and Sadyba. A good 30/40 minute drive from the centre of town.

The British School, Mokotów and Sadyba – UK curriculum from 3 to 18 years.
The British School lower school is located separately from the rest of the school, in the heart of Mokotów. Very popular with expatriates and Poles alike, places can be a problem. It has a good reputation and teaches the British curriculum, so children are reading and writing by the time they reach Polish primary school age.

The Willy Brandt Deutsche Schule, Sadyba – German curriculum from 6 – 19 years.

Maternelle and Ecole PrimaireSadyba
French Embassy sponsored for 3 to 10 years.

Lycee Renee Goscinny, Saska Kepa,
Secondary school from 10/11 years onwards.

Krakow

The International School (ISK) – US curriculum from 3 to 18 years.

The British School (BISC) – UK curriculum from 3 to 18 years.

Wroclaw

Wroclaw International School

British International School in Wroclaw

Countries we serve