Life & work
A Finnish impression of Poland
When did you decide to come to Poland and how did you come up with this idea?
I used to work in transport as a freight forwarder. After I finished my studies (Bachelor of Business Logistics), I decided to try something different. I was looking for work in Finland, but besides a few interviews, nothing came from it. So, I also started to look for work abroad. I found this opportunity to come to work in Poland for a Finnish company, with no previous experience required. So, after Christmas I applied for this position, and in January  I got accepted and agreed to start in the beginning of February.
In the end everything happened quite fast. However, I always had an ambition to work abroad, so that played a major part in my decision. Also, I have a good friend from Poland with whom I used to work in transport, and he also recommended Poland a lot. So that made my decision even easier.
Did you know much about the country before you moved here? Is there anything that surprised you - any cultural differences between Finland and Poland?
To be honest, my knowledge about Poland was quite limited. I knew about the biggest cities and important historical events, but that was basically all. However, I used to work with Polish people in my previous job, and always thought they were nice and polite. So that gave me a positive impression about the country, even though I had never visited it before.
About cultural differences – I feel Poland is similar to Finland, I didn’t have a culture shock or anything. I feel Polish people might be more direct saying what they think, though. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing!
Where do you live in Poland? Do you have any favourite places in the area?
I live in Katowice, in the (Upper) Silesian region. A region with an industrial background, but there are lots of nice places to enjoy outdoor activities. Probably my favourite place here in Katowice is Park Kościuszki, a very nice park for a walk and not too crowded.
Can you tell us a bit about your job here? Do you think Poland is a good place to build a career in your field?
At first, I used to work as a Service Desk Agent, acting as a first line support for IT problems. Nowadays I work as a Service Coordinator, responsible for receiving service requests and coordinating installation schedule with customer and our installation resources. The work is mostly done in Finnish, but sometimes English is also required.
I think in Poland you have many job opportunities, if you can speak Finnish. Also, other foreign languages such as Swedish and Norwegian, seem to be in high demand.
Did you experience any problems with the relocation process?
Relocation was quite simple, because my company arranged a flat for the first few months and helped a lot with all the administrative stuff, opening a bank account etc. I guess the only problem was that there was a huge snow storm in Finland on the night before my flight, leading to a delay at the airport. Because of that, I missed my connecting flight from Stockholm and arrived in Poland one day later than planned.
Do you speak any Polish or do you get by with English in your everyday life?
I started my A1 level Polish course back in October, so I can speak and understand some Polish, but only when talking about basic things. Luckily my friends are supportive to my learning, so I have lots of opportunities to practice.
What do you miss most about Finland?
I have lived almost my whole life next to the sea, so living in Katowice is a bit different, with no sea in sight. But like Finland, Poland has very beautiful nature and landscapes, so I don’t feel homesick in that regard.
Have you made any Polish friends already? Do you socialise with other foreigners?
I have met lots of nice people during my time in Poland and made some good friends, who have helped me a lot settling in Poland. In Katowice we have lots of different language meetings, so participating in them has been a great opportunity to meet new people, both local and foreigners.
Have you had a chance to visit other places in the country as well? If so, is there anything you would recommend to other foreign visitors?
I have been visiting some places in Poland, but not nearly as much as I would have liked. Hopefully this summer I can fix this. One of the most memorable trips was to Stołowe Mountains (Góry Stołowe). Amazing views!
Thanks for sharing your story, Henri!
I moved to Poland in February 2018 to work and to experience new country and culture. During my free time I like discovering new places, learning Polish, listening to music and watching football.