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Polish attitude to foreigners
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superturbo



Joined: 03 Mar 2009
Posts: 44
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:54 pm    Post subject: Polish attitude to foreigners Reply with quote

I've chosen Poland as my 2nd choice place to study CELTA and possibly look for work afterwards. One thing I would like to find out is the Polish attitude to foreigners, particularly ELTs. My 'first choice' is Czech Rep. but looking at the expats.cz forum it appears they can appear to have an attitude to foreigners. Living in England now we have many Polish people and there are countless new shops in my area. I know some Polish guys in my sports class and they seem cool. I just wondered what's it like in the classroom and what are they like around the country?
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hrvatski



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 270

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the classroom my students are excellent and about town I've found Poles to be very pleasant if they know you're a foreigner.
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scottie1113



Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 340
Location: Gdansk

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that. Several of my close friends are Polish, some from the classroom and some are friends of friends. It's all good.
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superturbo



Joined: 03 Mar 2009
Posts: 44
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies; it's good to hear that general attitudes are friendly and I have experienced the same here. What about attitudes outside the classroom to non-white's?
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1022

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poland is 99.999% white..........what do you expect.
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Tracer



Joined: 22 Oct 2008
Posts: 65
Location: Warszawa, PL

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm an American white guy from California, and my experience has been almost 100% positive; save for the occasional, "You're American!? But you're so quite and polite . . . and you know things about Poland and Europe . . . ?"

(The stereotype being: Americans are fat, obnoxious, naive and stupid loud mouths who don't know anything about the rest of the world).

or

"You know what the stereotype is about American men in Poland . . . ."

Well the stereotype is that we're all players. Being the kind of guy who prefers a relationship and who [usually] tries to find a girl who would be interested in one too, I've been slapped with that one a couple of times. (Of course, the "bad" girls don't care.) Twisted Evil

Here's the one that has annoyed me enough to start telling people I'm from Oklahoma . . .

"You're from California!? What are you doing in Poland!!!!?"

The tone of voice is usually a mixture of "are you serious (!?), are you stupid (!?), and I hate you!"

Polish people think California is a warm and sunny paradise. They base their views on Baywatch and Hollywood movies. They've never been to Fresno or Bakersfield! I just tell them I'm from Oklahoma now. Problem solved.

Last thing is, I'm interested on how things are for black folks and other people of color here, too. I've got a few black friends back in the states, but I've been hesitant to invite them to visit me, because I'm worried about how the Poles might receive them. I already know they're going to get looked at everywhere they go, because black people are so rare here. I've seen some Polish skin heads around Warsaw, so I'm a bit worried that, well, . . . use your imagination.

One of my friends is a black guy from Puerto Rico who's got a thing for "Eastern Block" women. Naturally he'd like to visit me.
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hrvatski



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Posts: 270

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The vast majority is just curious when it comes to non-whites, resulting in a lot of curious stares on the streets which probably shouldn't be interpreted as something bad.

There's a lot of kids around with shaved heads who could be mistaken for skinheads, but that's just the fashion, not all of them are overt racists.

African guys seem to have the most problems and tell me on the average day walking around town it's not unusual to hear a few insults from passers-by, but it's never come to fisty cuffs cause they don't flame the situation up.
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Jack Walker



Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Poland is a white man's land and there's nothing at all wrong with that.

Last time I saw a black person was at the airport in Munich back in October.

6 months in my part of Poland and I've seen only white people with a scattering of Vietnamese traders,gypsies,a few arabs and that's it.

The funny thing is that if you watch Polish tv,they make it seem like the country is 40% black.

It seems like they gather up all 20 members of the black community in Warsaw and put them on tv shows,adverts and those "dancing with stars type programs".I guess the tv execs want to show Poland as some multi-culti paradise when it's not like that at all.

If you're part of a visible minority and you come to Poland,you have to expect the stares,comments and even outright aggression from time to time.

I would expect the same if I were to head down to Zimbabwe or The Congo for a year or two.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9313
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's an interesting difference between Poland and the Czech Rep - the black community in the CR is generally well-received. I've several black friends and many acquaintances over the years who felt quite safe and almost always well-received there.

However, anyone who looks 'roma' is something of a target, I'm afraid. There were recently two girls from Mumbai inquiring about working in the CR, and all the advice was 'don't even try.'

It's unfortunate, but newbies contemplating a move to these countries need to know that there could be problems...
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Jack Walker



Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems that in Poland,people don't really pay much attention to the gypsies.It seems like it's more of an avoidance thing and they simply stay away from them or ignore them.

The gypsies occasionally try to hit people up for coins on the street or try to pawn stolen goods as you pack your shopping into the boot of your car.

They come out of the woodwork every now and then and I see many of them daily by the dozens. There are other times when I never see a gypsy for months on end.

I remember while living in Poznan,I would sometimes come across skinhead gangs and really big,mean looking dudes with shaved heads,muscular torsos,tatoos and "white power" t-shirts stalking the streets.I don't know how much trouble they caused, but I would see them from time to time.Even though I'm a white guy, I would never make eye contact with them as they passed by.
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bfrog



Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack Walker wrote:
If you're part of a visible minority and you come to Poland,you have to expect the stares,comments and even outright aggression from time to time.

I would expect the same if I were to head down to Zimbabwe or The Congo for a year or two.
It's quite funny to compare Poland to some of the poorest, most underdeveloped, and deadliest countries in the world.

Guess which country has accumulated five million war deaths during the last decade, has 40% of its child deaths caused by a curable and preventable disease (malaria), and has a median population age of 16 years. I'll give you a hint, the name doesn't begin with 'P'.
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Jack Walker



Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uhhhh.....yeah......thanks Mr. Frog for your enlightening post. Rolling Eyes

I was comparing Poland to those African countries strictly on a racial basis.Poland is about 99% white and those African countries are probably about 99% black.

I simply meant that a white guy would get noticed and stared at in The Congo for example, just as much as black guy would in Poland.Any visible minorities should expect that if they come here to live or travel.

I spent a few years in China and got the all the stares,nasty comments and outright racism from time to time.I can't tell you how many times I was called a "white ghost" or a "big nose"(my nose is firmly average for a caucasian male btw).

Unfortunately,it's part of being a stranger in a strange land

Anyway..........back to your sandbox!
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bfrog



Joined: 30 May 2008
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're so cute with your internet emoticons Very Happy

Surely you could've picked China as a better comparison to begin with. If you go to the DRC, you're facing bigger problems than simply being white. It's amusing nonetheless to think that race would be the big deal. Very Happy

Anyway back to the subject, I'm Canadian with chinese roots and I've been to Poland several times in the last couple years, including some smaller places that really don't see tourists. Oh boy do I have some stories, but I'll leave that out.

The first time I went to Lodz I of course noticed the staring, unsmiling faces. It was like a mixture of stone cold with a glimpse of confusion showing through. I thought it was racism, then eventually I realized the not smiling thing was just something you don't do to strangers in Poland.

For the most part, I agree with my buddy Jack. Most people are just curious. There will be stares, and maybe a mindless attempt at an insult every now and then. The thing is, most poles aren't very expressive to strangers so there isn't much overt racism. For example, no one ever did anything racist unless they were in a group. The closet racists just don't have the balls for it otherwise. That's why you have to worry about neo-nazism (oh the irony) which isn't as bad as in Russia but is on the rise, probably more so with the declining economy.
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dynow



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1022

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
For example, no one ever did anything racist unless they were in a group. The closet racists just don't have the balls for it otherwise.


this is almost always the case, irrelevant of location.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9313
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question: in the CR we have a sizeable minority of Vietnamese. They have been coming for 20+ years now, I believe, so there are now 1st. generation Czechs of Vietnamese descent graduating gymnazium and going to university. I think lots of the young people are now accepted as Czech in bigger cities, though the stereotype of cheap market stall-keepers (with basis in fact, obviously - this is how the majority of Vietnamese in the country are regularly employed) persists in smaller towns.

Does Poland have Vietnamese immigrants in sizeable numbers? Are they accepted/tolerated?

That Canadian guy's post about gettting funny looks made me wonder - I don't think people who look Asian get funny looks in the CR
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