Life & work
Living the expat dream – Valeriia from Brainly builds her career in Poland
How long have you been living in Poland? What made you change your life and come to Poland?
I always considered moving to Poland from Ukraine. I have one of my best friends here, and overall, my trips to Poland were always so fun and eventful. What’s more, I fell in love with Kraków at first sight, a beautiful place to be. But destiny brought me first to Italy, where I received my master’s degree. I wanted to work as a marketing specialist during my final year in college, but it was almost impossible to get that job in Italy. Most opportunities did not grant me the right to stay in the country, which was a big problem for me as an expat. I was continuously looking for opportunities to grow my career and to be closer to my friends here in Europe. And then, one day, I got a call from a recruiter based in Kraków. We set an appointment for an interview, I packed all my stuff, and moved to Poland to see what was waiting for me in my favorite city.
So it has been a fantastic four years for me living in Poland, and I look forward to more.
Was it challenging to move to Poland?
Since I already had some experience living abroad and had something to compare, moving to Poland was a very smooth experience for me. I did not face difficulties finding cheap accommodation, job security, or getting permission to stay.
But I must mention that the first few weeks of changing countries as an expat are always tough as one should be prepared for the quest of finding what to do with documents.
Why did you decide to work for Brainly?
Before applying to Brainly, I had been in Poland for two years, already working towards growing my career and continuously studying. I developed an interest in the start-up and tech industries. During my research, I found Brainly and started to follow their activities. Later, my friends and I worked on our start-up as a side hustle. We even got into a start-up pre-accelerator program in Kraków, where I heard a lot about Brainly as one of Poland’s biggest and most incredible companies.
So when it was time for me to change my full-time job, I considered Brainly and dreamed of working there for a few reasons. Firstly, who would not want to work in one of the best companies? Secondly, it matters to me that the company and industry I work for are driven by a good cause and make a positive impact on society. And last but not least, Brainly’s values closely align with my own. I consider myself a very curious person always on the lookout for new ideas and ways of doing things better, learning and growing new skills. Brainly not only supports me in this but also gives me opportunities to satisfy my curiosity to the fullest, through exciting projects and as an outstanding internal e-learning offering.
In all honesty, I was terrified of applying at first, because I thought I was not good enough, but thanks to a supportive environment, I mustered the courage and went through the whole recruitment process successfully. Over time at Brainly, I have grown a lot as a professional and boosted my career.
What differences can you see between your homeland and Poland when it comes to the work environment?
I have found that employers in Poland can provide some benefits that are not yet there in Ukraine. For example, the Multisport card and private medical care are more developed in Poland. A better job contract, since I have an employment contract (“umowa o pracę”), gives me additional job security. It can be challenging to find such terms in Ukraine. Work-life balance is also more respected in Poland.
What do you like best about Poland? What is its biggest drawback?
Poland is more affordable than some other countries in Europe, in terms of housing or restaurants, for example. It allows for a higher standard of living. In Poland, I rented an apartment, while in Italy, I could only afford a bed in a shared room for the same amount of money.
It is a beautiful country, and while it is very similar to my homeland, I found that outdoor activities are more organized in Poland. There are gorgeous areas for bicycle rides. I live in Kraków, where I can enjoy beautiful parks and the Vistula river – a favorite place for locals during spring and summer.
Poland has a rapidly growing economy. It feels like it is developing every day. Everywhere you look, there are new construction projects, roads, and public spaces. Great opportunities for more jobs and salary growth.
I love Poland with all my heart, and I hope that one day, it will show more tolerance towards LGBT people or different races and ethnicities. Honestly, I still cannot reconcile such an innovative country with this lack of progress in certain areas. Having said that, things are looking more and more positive, especially with the young generation, and I hope soon enough Poland will catch up with the rest of Europe. Fortunately, at Brainly, we have a very inclusive and open culture where everyone, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or private situation, is equally welcome, and the feeling of belonging is very strong.
Do you speak any Polish?
I would like to master Polish one day. For now, I am still learning. My language level is good enough to do shopping or deal with bureaucracy.
Do you have a favorite place in Poland?
It is tough to pick favorites among all the beautiful places Poland offers. I love Park Lotników in Kraków, public spaces near the port in Gdańsk, the mountains in Zakopane, and the Vistula riverside.
What advice would you give to future expats in Poland?
People are amiable here. Although most of them speak English, it would be beneficial to learn some key phrases before arrival and do some research on Poland to avoid potential cultural shocks. Get to know some locals for better recommendations. Enjoy nature and try cycling here, as it is very nicely organized! And do not give up when facing difficulties, because the sun always comes out in the end!
If you are interested in joining Brainly, either in Poland or Spain, the US or India, visit our career page and apply for open positions in various areas like: Content & Community, Data & Analytics, Design, Engineering & Delivery Management, Finance & Legal, People & Culture, Product Management or SEO & Growth. And visit our LinkedIn profile to get to know Brainly as a company.