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15 February 2019

How moving places shapes your identity and true self. How to Live abroad and Study & Work in Poland

In the age of the pursuit of happiness as in money in every possible currency, I tend to meet young people who decide not to continue to study after high school. Which means, that when they reach this magical age of 18, they choose their own way of living. As a result, the majority of young people leave their country for work, travel or sometimes love without a degree.  

I’m 33 now, but I must say – Uni times were the best ever so far. Why? Because it is the stage between adolescence and adulthood. The time when you are allowed to make life mistakes, and no one will judge you for it. The time when life kicks you in the butt but not as hard, so you know how to prepare yourself for this punch on the face when real life begins. 

In this post, I would like to focus more on something positive to brighten up this ugly winter day. We all know that this is the century of opportunities for young people, they are being spoilt by their colleges, countries but mostly parents. One of those opportunities for young people is studying abroad on the Erasmus Program; the scholarship for students willing to experience new things, meet new people and explore new places. 

My Erasmus in Budapest, Hungary. 

So, I would like to tell you more about my Erasmus experience.

When I was in my 3rd year of Bachelor, I was lucky enough to take up a new challenge in between writing my thesis and studying for exams.

I thought to myself if not now? When? It was my last chance of getting my shit together and go see the world. I didn’t have much choice back then, it was either Germany or Hungary. I chose the latter – Budapest was my home for another 5 months. This trip triggered my love for travelling and learning new cultures and meeting new people. During my Budapest adventure, I met a Turkish girl Duygu. She was my travel buddy for sometime back then. We went together to Vienna, Paris, Prague, Berlin, some places in Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia. We learnt to do low budget trips and survive without spending millions on accommodation or food. Our main focus though, was to explore the unknown (for us) places and be able to share this experience with our friends and family

Back then couch surfing was one of the ways because it was FREE ACCOMMODATION, then Airbnb was introduced – but got too expensive at some point. 

Erasmus program invites you to come and study in another country with foreign students. You get to see how their system of education works and the after-school life. Every school participating in this program takes a special care of Erasmus students, for example: 

  • you get to have your own local buddy to show you around and introduce you to everything
  • you learn less from textbooks but more from life experience in general 
  • if you fail an exam, well, no big deal – they all love Erasmus students – there is always a solution to everything
  • accommodation in dormitories, so imagine the party life!

Living and studying in another place can be really exciting and scary at first but life is all about taking risk so why not starting this life changing experience when you are still young and beautiful.

After my Erasmus trips, I needed to go back to really to finish off my degree and that was pretty hard. My urge for travelling was so big that I actually considered changing my faculty and starting new studies from the beginning but abroad. I even found myself a University in Croatia. Thanks God, my parents are wiser than me and diplomatically said: “You can study whatever you want and wherever you want, but first finish what you have started and then carry on elsewhere if you like”. Well, I did that and ended up studying in Sydney, Australia afterwards!! But that is another topic for another day. 

Studying locally vs. studying in another country 

Recently, my friend from Lionall, Sandra showed me a good article about the recent study done on the difference between people who study in their home countries and those who move abroad. As if we were different kind of humans! Well, maybe we are. 

My granny always says that she is so impressed with how I have travelled the world, lived overseas for so many years and spoke English in a daily life. For her generation it is really hard to believe that one can survive in another country without using his native language. 

She always asked me the same question: “Basia, Do you watch TV in English there?”. She is so cute! Love her to bits. 

Coming back to the subject and according to the recent study by Rice University in conjunction with Columbia University and the University of North Carolina people who move to another country seem to have a better sense of self than those who don’t. People get to learn about new cultures and values and compare them to what they already know from their home countries. As a result, those people choose what suits them best from both cultures and make their own norms and values that define who they are. 

It is amazing how life differs in different parts of the world. 

In Poland, my family taught me that there is nothing more important than strong family bonds. However, in Australia, I’ve learnt over years that the family is there but it is you who is on the first place. The family doesn’t have as much impact on your life as it has here in Poland. 

According to the research team, living abroad could bring a bigger satisfaction, like less stress, more positive “bring-it-on attitude” at work and at home. It just sounds like we all should mix it up a bit and start moving places for the sake of the world and happier population. 

So why wait? Move somewhere new – move to Poland 🙂

The below websites are available in ENGLISH:

Erasmus Scholarships Information go to http://www.go-poland.pl/news/erasmus-scholarships-tax-free

European Funding Guide for to http://www.european-funding-guide.eu/scholarship/overview/Poland

Scholarships Positions in Poland go to https://scholarship-positions.com/category/poland-scholarships/

Scholarships Positions for Indian Students to study in Poland https://www.wemakescholars.com/scholarships-for-indian-students-to-study-in-poland

Wroclaw University Erasmus Program Information go to https://international.uni.wroc.pl/en/incoming-exchange-students/erasmus-exchange

Working abroad is not as hard as it was years ago.

You dream your destination, go online and move. Even finding a job has gotten so much easier. 

There are websites which allow you to apply for jobs, do possible job interviews via Skype from your home and make a life change within weeks. 

There are companies like Lionall, which are helping Expats making the move when lack of time is an issue. 

My biggest worry when moving to Sydney the first time was finding a job. As a part time student, I needed to make ends meet on a part time basis. I found a job through an Australian website seek.com.au. It was so easy. 

You prepare your cv, seek a position to apply for,  then wait for the response. When I moved back to Poland, I did the same thing. 

Here are a few ideas you may consider when thinking about working in Poland:

These days it’s good to have a career profile on:  

Goldenline– it is a good place to make business friends, find opinions about companies, check current pay rates for different positions as well as check their job offers 

Linkedin– an absolute must these days! You must present yourself to your future employer! 

Polish Job search engines: 

Pracuj.pl – the biggest job offer portal in Poland 

Praca.pl– it’s a search engine as well as guidebook for job seekers

Jobs.pl  – it’s the oldest Polish job portal , there are over 40000 job offers and heaps of useful tips on job seeking

Infopraca.pl – you can sign in for a newsletter with new job notifications 

Mediacv  – a new portal with a good vibe 

Gazetapraca.pl– most popular, there is even some work for students or people seeking work outside Polish borders.

Gumtree– most of the job offers include retail and hospitality or call centres. However, Gumtree has more to offer than you think, so it is always good to have your eyes open when going through this website. 

Linguajob– for language specialist seeking work

olx– there is work for construction, retail and restaurant workers

praca.owi.pl – there are over 11000 job offers from abroad, if Poland is not enough 😉

So many places to go to for job offers. Try it out! 

But when you actually feel like you need a change but have no time for the research. Why not hiring someone to do it for you? Personally I’d love to have someone who would help me out with relocation, do the paperwork for me, find place to live or kinddy for my baby boy. Companies like those make our life easier. Check us out! 🙋‍♀️

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