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Considering moving to Warsaw for 3 years. Need advice.

Hi all from Nadia,

My husband and I are considering relocating to Warsaw.  He's been offered a good job there, but we don't know what it's like to live in Poland as an expat.

We as a family are in a unique situation due to our multiethnic and multicultural background. I'm a Jew from Russia and my husband is half Indian from New York.  We have a 5 year old daughter who goes to a Montessori School in Bethesda, Maryland.  We have a lot of questions about living in Poland, but the most important ones are as follows:

1) Given out ethnic background (my husband and daughter's), would we be discriminated against?  Is racism a problem in Poland like it is in Russia?

2) If anyone knows.  What's the average price of a good private school (preferably Montessori) in Warsaw.  We currently pay $20,000 per year and are wondering if we'd pay less there.

3) Is it possible to buy a new car in Germany and bring it to Poland?  What are the expenses and time associated with it?

4) What's the best area in the center of Warsaw to live?  We'd look for a luxury 3-bedroom apartment with a terrace in a historic district.

I'd appreciate any advice you can give.

Thanks in advance!

Hi Nadia,

Welcome to Expat-blog! :)

Hopefully other members will reply to your questions very soon.

Concerning your accommodation search, you can have a look at the Warsaw classifieds > accommodation section and post an advert there as well.

I wish you good luck
Christine

Hi Nadia,

Let me try and answer your questions as best I can.  I'm Indian, married to Pole and we moved here last year from India.  I'm working here.

1) Given out ethnic background (my husband and daughter's), would we be discriminated against?  Is racism a problem in Poland like it is in Russia?
--> No, I've never felt any kind of negative discrimination here.
I don't really head to pubs and all, so don't meet too many drunks, but at family meetings, with friends, in the street etc. Poles are all pretty nice.  In the small towns around Warsaw they may stare at a brown skinned foreigner, but it's just curiousity, not animosity and it's less than the stares my blonde wife got in Bombay.  There is positive discrimination though, if you speak Polish and well you look like me, then most Poles even the surly post-office staff etc. will bend over backwards to help you in any way.  They're tremendously pleased that any foreigner learns the language.  There is no discrimination here against Jews.  In fact there seems to a bit of nostalgia for the 20% of Poles that were murdered by the Nazis.

2) If anyone knows.  What's the average price of a good private school (preferably Montessori) in Warsaw.  We currently pay $20,000 per year and are wondering if we'd pay less there.
--> I hear from colleagues that a good school can cost 1,000 złoty a month (=$8,000 approx a year).

3) Is it possible to buy a new car in Germany and bring it to Poland?  What are the expenses and time associated with it?
--> I'd advise not to do this, poshy cars can get stolen.  Why not just buy in Poland?  Though some other expat who has a car might give better advice!

4) What's the best area in the center of Warsaw to live?  We'd look for a luxury 3-bedroom apartment with a terrace in a historic district.
--> It depends on what you are looking for.  Remember Warsaw is a small city.  You can get by public transport from Bielany (where I live) or the outskirts like Kabaty to the centre in 30 minutes.  Going by car is a pain as the roads are designed for public transport.  The best areas to live in Warsaw are Żoliborz or Mokotów.  I think both are overly crowded though and don't have that much greenery, but both are marked up as they are near the subway.  Places like Bemowo or Bielany are nice in my opinion and you can get a 3 bedroom place for around 800,000 to 900,000 złotych.  You can get a good idea of this by going to the most popular Polish rent/purchase website.  It's called gratka.pl.

The key is the language -- if you learn it and learn to speak it, it will make all the difference in the world.  Also, a knowledge of Polish history and culture will be good.  And, if you like to eat and enjoy a little alcohol every now and then, that's the way to be truly integrated!

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions! This should help us make a final decision.  Appreciate it!

No worries.  If you do take the final decision to move to Warsaw I'd suggest some time off to learn the language.  It can make all the difference in the world

Exactly language is very important if you want to live here as Deepfern mention,i don't know much about Warsaw i live in Szczecin and here it's not the same first reason is that not much foreigners here and sometimes people stares at you.At the beginning it's a bit strange but with time it will be so normal.In Warsaw it's completely other situation because lots of foreigners and i don't think you will have such problems with racism.My husband is Polish and im Mauritian we have a son mixed,we moved here 2yrs ago and so far so good i learn Polish and speak fluently it's easier to get some friends because here in Szczecin not everybody speak english even in Hospitals,Passport office,Shops ets very rarely some1 who speak english but in Warsaw for sure you won't have such problems.Sorry for my English i haven't write quite long :P
I think everything will be ok,good luck.Hugs from Keni

Hi Nadia,
Are you still considering your move?

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Good luck with your move!
Lindsay

Hi!

I taught 2 families from Russia (one mixed) and I don't think they have ever felt discriminated in Warsaw. Polish attitute towards Russia is complicated but don't worry - generally we don't like the Russian government, not Russian people:) In Warsaw we have more and more Indian restaurants and people get to know this culture by food. I also had Indian students and they never told me about the negative experiences with Poles. 

You will learn Polish very fast which helps a lot!

There are many expat families in Warsaw, so for sure you will find friends here.

Hey,
I'm an israeli jew, feel very nice among poles.
Re Montessori school, i think you can find one in Ochota.
Buying a car is a world of its own in polnad. i would buy first a banal car in poland, than learning the diffrent market for every car. lots of poles are bringing cars from states...
The historic part of waw - you are talking about old buldings with parking problems. i would go for mokotow, ochota. close to city center, modern ,under groung parking and very close to two of the city nicest parks.
hope i helped
nir

Hi,
I am  originally from poland but have lived many years abroad and overseas (Germany, USA), and relocated back to Warsaw recently. Regarding openess, I think that Poles are still not as opena nd tolerant to other skin colors than Americans, simply because Poland is still a quite ethnic country. We are geting there but it is a long process. Regarding Apt, it is true that the city is quite congested. I have heard good things abt the Montesori schools but I do not think they are international schools where classes are taught in English. A good Polish school that follows a Polsish curriculum costas around 1000-1200 PLN per month, however I work at the American school of warsaw in Konstancin (south outskirts) and the yearly tuition there is 27,000 USD. It is an impressive int school. There is also a British school in Mokotow that u might want to consider. It is pricey too. My kids transfered from a public School in Missouri to a private Polish school in poland and it was quite a shock as far as facilities are concerned. The level and curriculum are quite high though!
We have brought our car from America (from NJ by Penbroke Marines company), but I think it is worth it to buy it in Germany.Cars in Poland are expensive and do not come with bunch of extras.If u  have further Qs pls let me know.

Hi Friends,
I am having an option to relocate to warsaw.At Present i am in singapore.Need some expert opinion on this move.
1. As an experienced 12 years professional in IT support in Banking industry  what should be good salary with decent savings in warsaw.Kindly also let me know the salary trend at present to have good deal with Poland HR.
2. The major expense is Education in International schools in warsaw, is there's any other alternative other than Intl schools for kids 4years with english curriculum.
3. Whether Indian food stuff easily available, at the same cost in singapore.
4. With moderate lifestyle what would be the monthly expense for a family of 3 with education in International school.
Thanks for advice.

Hi gautgang27,

Maybe you should start a new topic on the Warsaw forum. Thank you.

Christine :

Hi gautgang27,

Maybe you should start a new topic on the Warsaw forum. Thank you.

Thanks Christine for your valuable advice.

Hi Nadia, since you're gonna be here for a while, like the others on here, I'd suggest learning the language. If you want an affordable one, you can go to Lodz, which is about an hour away from Warsaw. I know a place that'll teach a whole family, so you can make it a family event. Here it is: polonus-lodz.com/home.html

Learning the language is the priority if you have to move to Warsaw. It takes about two years to get a basic fluency (as told by Polish tutors and other ex-pats) and from my and my boyfriend's experience, people are very negative and unhelpful toward you if you do not speak it.
I moved to Warsaw when my boyfriend found work there, and we were immediately struck by the unfriendliness and, for him, outright hostility. I could get by as long as nobody realized I was English and couldn't yet speak the language, but as he looked 'different' he received verbal abuse every time he went out in the evening with friends and sometimes just walking to work in the morning. By 'different', I mean they assumed he was homosexual due to being a well-styled pretty man, and therefore subject to hostility.
We knew several other ex-pats of different nationalities and ethnicities and they had all experience the unfriendly, unhelpful turn from the locals.
BUT, by learning the language to a degree of fluency where you can get by in daily interactions, Poles will be much more responsive and indeed delighted to hear it from a foreigner.I cannot stress the importance of learning enough.

I'm afraid I don't know about schools or cars, but the historic area - I assume you mean Old Town? - it is the most expensive region but as two Europeans everything was cheap to us.

Opinions based on one year and eight months in Warsaw, and I will say they are only our opinions and those of ex-pats we knew; while I wanted to warn you, you may well have a much more different experience than us (I truly hope so) and get along well as the other posters seem to have.

Good luck.

Hello
kstepien2 do you still work in American School of Warsaw?
I just have a question we are considering moving to Warsaw
and I can t decide to send my son to ASW or the British one.
He is currently in British school abroad but they dont have enough sports other than that I am happy with the studies  because they do a lot and he learns a lot. But I know that sometimes there is a problem in American schools with the discipline and my son needs to be treated very firmly.
Please advice.
Thanks

I do not work at the American School of Warsaw on the regular basis, but I do sub there from time to time, so I am familiar with the school.
As far sports go, American school has great facilities as it is based outside Warsaw in Konstancin where kids have lots of space and different fields to play sports.

I do not know the British School of Warsaw, so I cannot compare it to the ASW.I used to have a friedn whose daughter attended the BSW and she was very satisfied with the level there.

I would suggest that you visit both of the schools and try out both schools (one day) then you make up your decision.
Sorry I cannot be much more help.
Regards
Katarzyna

Ok thank you for the information!
Regards

Dear Bethesda,

I am Indian married to a Polish National and live in Warsaw since 1991. Will be happy ot help out.

I know of a few families whose kids go to the British and American schools. I can put you in touch with them and you can meet and discuss with them when you are here.

Since you are going to live here long term it is best that these decisions are taken personally on the spot. Also for renting accommodation as you will first need to decide which area suits you best and then look for suitable apartments.

I am giving below my email address. You can write in and I will put you in touch with the Parents. Please also do not hesitate to write in if you need any short term accommodation on arrival or help in finding long term apartments.

With best regards,

Prabhat Kapil

Hi

Thank you so much I will write to you please send me your email.

Thank you
Regards

Hello Nadia
there is no reply for your queries so I was wondering if you could tell me something as I guess you must has settled there.
thanx

dear you sound quite friendly and reading all the posts Im really worried to go to warsaw without knowing the language,any chance I could get in touch with you ,pl inbox me you email or facbook Id.thanx alot

Hello SOBIA SALEEM -> Why don't you start a new thread on the Warsaw forum with your questions? This will allow better interaction. :)

Thank you,
Aurélie

Hello
which part of Mokotow  is nice to live .I want to buy a small flat there

Ronein :

Hello
which part of Mokotow  is nice to live .I want to buy a small flat there

Welcome to the forum,,,,,, :) 

Please note you have posted on a 2 year old inactive thread. Please feel free to open a new thread for the information you are seeking.

Ronein :

Hello
which part of Mokotow  is nice to live .I want to buy a small flat there

The best buy is a flat close to Warsaw underground. Try someting close to Metro Wilanowska. My sister has bought a nice studio there on the 9th floor in a totally new house. Price is about 10-12.000 pln per m´2 but you live vewry comfy. New shops, freshly baked bread, swimming pool and sauna in every house or shared by two-three blocks.
5 minutes with tube to Centrum.

Good luck :)

Hi !
     I am planing to move Poland with business visa.I am doing business with communication section(Cellphone) in India.Please give me some advice about there like which are is best for live and doing business there.

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