Roman, a professional dancer, grew up in Karlovy Vary. After eight years in Prague and experience in tropical islands in the Mediterranean, specifically Mallorca, he has been living in Warsaw for more than a year now, where he works as an account manager. What were your beginnings? How did Covid affect your start?
Why did you choose Poland?
We decided to move here together with my girlfriend, who is Polish. We met in Mallorca. She has family near Gdansk, but we chose Warsaw. It’s a great city that has a future. There is always work to be found here, so you can count on some stability.
How did you look for a job?
Zdeno Fedeš from Ahoy Career helped me. The whole recruitment process took about a month and a half. I’ve been through many tests, but if you pass all of them, then you have a great chance to succeed. My girlfriend and I got jobs about a month before Covid broke out.
Were you worried about anything before arriving?
I’ve actually been travelling the world for the last five years, but it’s always been different in the hotels where I’ve worked. So I had free accommodation and food. And Poland was such a clash with harsh reality for me. I was worried about coming up with a paycheck, paying the rent, all fees, and securing some stable income. I was overwhelmed by that. I hoped that I would have a job that would be fulfilling, that we would both acclimatize in Warsaw, and that I wouldn’t have a problem with Polish.
How did you look for accommodation?
Upon arrival, we initially stayed with my friend’s family, who gave us shelter. It took about a month and a half, during which time we looked for work. But as for the accommodation itself, they basically took the first apartment we found without checking properly where it was in Warsaw. We decided purely on the basis of the photos, where the apartment looked pretty cool.
How was the move?
My girlfriend and I had both worked in different hotels before, where it was just high season. So we had some accommodation and we didn’t need many things. We both traveled with our own suitcases and arrived in Poland the same way.
What memory comes to mind when you think of your beginnings in Poland?
It’s not one memory in particular, but more so in general I remember that the beginnings were difficult. At work, it took me a while to get up to speed and we also worked out some issues about the apartment. The owner rented it out to us, saying that it was furnished and then we gradually found out that many things were missing.
What language do you speak in Poland?
I speak Polish with my girlfriend. I also use Polish at work, but Slovak as well, because I take care of the Czech-Slovak market. It’s great that you can speak your native language and learn Polish at the same time. Communicative English is a matter of course at work. I also have some basic Spanish and German from previous trips.
What friends do you have here?
If Covid hadn’t started and we didn’t have to isolate ourselves in home office, we would certainly have invited a lot of people over and met friends. So we didn’t have much time to form a group of friends. We miss this quite a bit because my girlfriend and I are both social. We were used to having many people around us all the time and interacting with them from morning till night. My colleagues and I only know each other online.
Did you manage to find your favorite places before Covid in Warsaw?
Yeah, we did. We like Ogród Saski (park in the city center) and Rynek Starego Miasta (Old Town Square), there are lovely places to walk and good places to eat. Another great park we love is Łazienki Królewskie. We also went through several restaurants. There are quite a lot of nice places here. There is also an excellent restaurant near the Palace of Culture. It was absolutely divine for me to have Czech food and especially Czech beer, draft beer, after a long time.
How do you live here compared to the Czech Republic?
Warsaw reminds me of London. Especially those skyscrapers. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem to me that there is anything fundamentally different here compared to the Czech Republic.
What did you think of Poland before you experienced it for yourself?
I had worked with Poles before, when I was in Mallorca or Tenerife. I’ve always had a good relationship with them. You could chat with them better than with the British or the Germans, for example.
How do Poles perceive a foreigner?
In Poland, the locals have a slightly different approach than abroad. Sometimes I feel unappreciated as a customer or client. Poles here do not have such a relationship and respect for customers from abroad. Unfortunately, I have more experiences like this.
What is different about Polish culture?
Poles are extremely religious. Otherwise, I would say the culture is similar.
What about you and Polish cuisine?
Yes, I like Polish cuisine. Pierogi and other dishes. Actually, I like almost everything here.
What do you do at work and how did you reach this position?
I work as an Account Manager at a local company. This means that I take care of online marketing for the Czech and Slovak market. Adwords, optimization of advertising campaigns, etc. I work with freelancers or marketing agencies.
Who are your colleagues? Are they Poles?
I work on a Czech-Slovak team. I haven’t had many opportunities to get to know my colleagues better because of Covid.
If you had the chance to change it, would you move to Warsaw again?
Hard to say. Now everything is affected by the coronavirus. If it hadn’t been that way, it’s possible that we would have made a different choice. But so far we are happy here. It was a good choice.
How has Poland changed you?
It taught me to keep my feet on the ground. I discovered the magic of that “normal” stable life where one is happy.
Will you remain in Poland?
My girlfriend and I are always drawn to go somewhere. We would still like to travel and live somewhere near the water. Lakes, beaches, the sea… But when we go somewhere, we want it to make sense from a professional point of view. So that we have the opportunity to move on and make better money. However, we are not planning anything at the moment. We’ll definitely stay here for about a year.
Don’t worry. Take this step. There is a greater opportunity to realize yourself. Whether in your personal life or career. After all, Poland has forty million inhabitants.