American moving to Poland without a job.

I have recently finished my Masters of Education program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and I'd love to make my way to Poland to pursue teaching. I'm told that many Polish schools will simply be unresponsive to teachers applying from overseas and my experience seems to back that up. I'm wondering how reasonable or perhaps unreasonable it might be for me to simply hop on a plane and go to Poland to search for English teaching work in person. I've been reading about the difficulties of non EU members getting work permits in Poland but it's hard to know how things really are without having tried before. I'm hoping that there are a few experienced expatriots on here who have some knowledge of the Polish EFL industry and can give me a description of the reality of finding work there.



Hello mate, well i'm hoping to go to Krakow in Poland in may also without a job, not sure what i'll be doing yet but alot of people tell me you can teach in Krakow and there are alot of opportunities but i personally don't have any experience there, but i'm in a simular situation as to moving without a job, you ever been there before?

No, I've never been. I taught EFL in Asia for a few years but never in Europe. I keep hearing great things about Krakow and  when/if (probably when) I decide to go I'll head for Krakow.

I can't really understand why you want to live and work in my country ( if I were to move to Europe I'd think of countries such as Germany or France..)
I think you should apply for a job at university - they are always keen on hiring native speakers. The other option is a language school plus tutoring - but it's risky, you might not collect enough money to earn your living. The bigger the city is - the cost is higher so that choosing Kraków or Warsaw is perhaps not the wisest idea, IMO

There are many countries in Europe that interest me but a lot of countries seem to be places where it can be very difficult for non EU members to find work. Poland seems to be one of the countries that's more relaxed about hiring non EU members, so I'm hoping to find opportunities there. I've heard great things about Poland, especially Krakow, from Polish friends and people who have taught there. I've decided to visit Poland this summer. I have friends in Warsaw and Poznan. Hopefully, this trip will help me decide. University jobs are a good idea.

Heh, no doubt why we have such a policy - nobody wants to work here so you have to lure people a bit...I'm kidding.
I initially thought that you saw a programme on TV promoting Kraków or Warsaw and this is how you made your decision. The problem and/or disadvantage is that you may find many foreigners there - so if you're not planning to find a regular job  - by 'regular' I mean the post at any university or a good high school - earning your living will be a huge challenge.
I think you should apply for a job in a city like mine - it's an academic city with two pretty good and big universities, the cost of living is relatively lower, but it's just my advice, sth to think of ( on the other hand: Poland is divided into two parts - the rich one with Warsaw, Poznań or Kraków plus "the rest" in the east )
If you have any questions now or in the future I'll be more than happy to help you, by the way ;-)

Are you from Lublin? I'm not familiar with it. I do like small cities and towns but some of my friends told me that Krakow is nice. I'm trying to find out where the best job opportunties are in Poland. Perhaps I would have better luck in smaller cities and towns. I look forward to my trip this summer, so I can travel around the country and learn more about it. I am looking for a 'regular' job and I'm researching a few international schools and universities. I appreciate your help and I might have some questions for you in the future.



if you're just trying to get your foot in the door via an eastern european country, this program looks quite interesting. It's only in Hungary though.

Things have changed a bit. I was just offered a summer job in Poznan. Hopefully, that will help me figure out what to do.

I study in Lublin, but my hometown is really close to it.
Your friends are probably right - Kraków's atmosphere is often defined as 'magic' or 'romantic'. Ironically, many British guys go there treating the city as a typical weekend destination, where they can booze and come back home after the party is over. There's only one 'but' - the smog.
Warsaw, on the other hand, has a reputation of a  'West Europe-like' capital.
Your plan sounds interesting,if I were to be honest. I know the reality and I know how hard is to find a job here. Teaching is not a well-paid job're a native speaker plus I'm sure you've got this American optimist attitude so I guess you'll find a dream job.

If somebody wants to study English in Poland such a person should go to Poznań where the best English Department is situated.
Heh, you're lucky, this is definitely worth considering and taking!

Teaching jobs don't pay very well here either. It's funny for me to read about what you call an "American optimist attitude." I don't think of it like that at all. I'm just trying to find a decent job. I'll be going to Poznan in May and I'm looking forward to it.

Hello Rob,
   My name is Mike. We moved her from Vermont. We live in Radom,Poland. Feel free to hit me up if you would like to chat....


Good luck ;-)
There's a difference, I guess, between the situation of a teacher in Pl and in the USA. Here, if you are a teacher you have no chance to live on your own earning around 1500zł per month.
btw, American Embassy's webpage contains many interesting things you may want to know before you come here.
Who knows maybe we'll meet one day.. in Poznań hahaha..

Ladyginna is right it is a hard country to go to and find a job where that you can earn enough to live, but if you don't try your never know. Personally i also love Krakow and i may even have to go there without a job but i'm going to give it a try and see how it works out

I think there a lot of countries in which it's hard to make a living by teaching. I have an Irish friend who is teaching in Spain and he says it's difficult to find good work over there too. But I've wanted to try this for a very long time. I'd rather try than not try. If money was my biggest concern, I'd actually go to Asia instead. But I don't want to. Poland seems like a nice country and maybe it won't work out well, but I'm going to work in Poznan this summer and look for long-term work after. Maybe this is American Optimism, I don't know. I'll find out when I get there in May.

Kraków seems to attract everybody, hah!
Fez, it's better to try doing sth crazy than to regret not taking the opportunity. I'll keep telling you: although living in a city like Kraków is probably pretty nice, you may be more successful in finding a job in smaller cities. Cities, not towns, though.
Poland is a nice country..but there will be many shocking things you're going to experience. ( American optimist attitude needed!) And it would be advisable if you started learning Polish ( now this is a challenge, Polish is one of the hardest languages to learn, especially for the English)
btw, what kind of job have they actually offered you?

I have started studying Polish but it's hard to learn because there aren't many Polish people here for me to speak to. There are some. However, I'm not very worried about having trouble with the language or the culture. I've worked in South Korea and China, so I'm used to studying difficult languages and being shocked by new things. The job is just a summer camp job.  It's not much but I'm hoping it will give some time to become familiar with Poland and to network with people who might be able to help me find long-term work.

I see. Honestly:I'm suprised: Poles are everywhere.
The problem with Poland is that it's between two completely different worlds: the western one ( you're going to experience this richer Poland) and the eastern one. For instance, I live relatively close to the Ukrainian border and this is a totally different world. You'll understand what I mean when you come here. Okay, enough my stupid talks ;-)

Ania, I appreciate your thoughts. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can before I come there. I live in a small town so if I want to talk to a lot of Polish people I will probably have to drive one hour away down to Boston.

Boston, you say? My former teacher lives in Boston, as far as I remember. She's American and went to Poland for a year with her husband who's a professor. She taught us academic writing ;-)
The thing is that I moonlight as a teacher of English here - obviously I can't compare my skills to yours, I'm not a native speaker plus I've never been a fan of any book of grammar.Here,  the general level of English is way lower than it should be - this is why I suggested looking for a post at university. It would be a waste of time or skills to teach teenagers the correct form of a Present Simple Tense, for instance.
I also seem to forget why I created an account here - and started to discourage you from coming... :(

Sorry, for my snoopy attitude're saying you're coming in May, but I'm pretty sure that any summer camp starts in June, at least. Does this mean you're going to go sightseeing? What would you like to see and where would you like to go to? btw, May/June is the best time to find a job here :D

Interesting. I actually heard that summer was a bad time to find a job in Poland. I hope it's not. I plan to arrive in the middle of May so I'll have time to explore Poland and find some schools that I could apply to for work after summer. So far, the cities I've heard nice things about are Krakow, Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw, and your city, Lublin. I want to explore Poland as much as possible before I start work. I would definitely like to work at a university but I don't see advertisements for university jobs in Poland online. I hope that I'll find them when I arrive.

These ads are not easy to find - maybe I'll never be able to understand WHY the hell they publish them in Polish.
There's an alternative option - you simply send your CV to the head of the department, hoping that sb will answer.

May/June time - depends on what kind of work we're talking about. I remember that when the members of 'my' English Department were looking for a teacher of Welsh they started publishing the ads in May, maybe a bit later. Usually it takes some time to find a person keen on working in a place like Lublin haha.

I see only big cities. You're going to visit places where I've never been ( perhaps after that I'll ask you to share your impressions with me? heh)
OMG, I'm doing this again - I'm talking/writing way too much!

The more you write the more I learn. I've never been to Poland before so any time someone replies to this thread and tells me something about his/her experience or gives advice it helps me figure things out. I won't really know what the English teaching situation in Poland is until I get there but right now I'm just thinking about the information that I get from people who comment here.

At least one of us is successful - I still can't find the people I need ;-/
True, I can tell you all I know, but it's subjective and my very recent experiences teach me that basing one's judgement on one person's opinion is the dumbest mistake one can make.
On the other hand, I've been lucky enough to know a guy from Britain who moved to Pl in October - I see the change in his attitude. Scary, scary!

I came on to this website to gather information before going. Opinions are dangerous things to base decisions on  but I've also found that I can learn a lot from the opinions people have. I'm talking to people here and reading some other teaching forums about Poland. I'm learning that there are some teachers who absolutely love teaching in Poland and others who completely hate it. I'm aware of a wide variety of opinions but I won't be able to form my own until I go there. I'll also be visting some friends in Berlin in May.

Yes Ladyginna
your totally right, i'd rather try as you never know what could happen, something i've wanted to do for ages as i fell in Love with Poland. I know what you mean about Poland being different near the Ukrainian border as i was in Bialystok for 6/7 months so i don't think i will be shocked, i know how hard it is to live there.

As regards to the language i have already been stduying as i love the language and really would like to be fluent. Yes your right it is very difficult to learn. I can order things in restaurants ask for the bill, as directions as names age exct... a few basic things

Fez, chapeau bas!
Polish is difficult for the speakers of Germanic languages - I remember when I was learning English grammar I struggled to understand the concept of 'tenses' as we've got only three. But then, when I started to think of Polish, well..I still don't know how many types of verbs we have ;) I do respect ANY person making an effort to learn my native language and I try to be as helpful as I can be.
Białystok, yes, that's a very 'Russian' area, there's an awkward attitude towards the people from the East here (historic, that's one thing but also..xenophobia, sometimes? It's hard to explain - you have to be here and talk with the people). I have an English supervisor and though he has been living in Pl for over 15 years I bet he's still amused by certain things treated as normal.
If there's anything I can do for you just lemmie know, either here or via fb/e-mail.

Yes it is very different there and i didn't like bialystok to much but it was still a good experience for me.

Hopefully one day i will be fluent, i'm going to Krakow for a few days next month and i look forward to going and trying to communicate in Polish. I found very few Foreign people in that city. Thank you for your help i appreciate it.

I don't like it when my nation especially goes to foreign countries and makes no effort to even say thank you in their language. You see the big smile on the Polish people's faces when i make an effort. It is a beautiful language

rjfoster77, sent you a PM.  You're extremely qualified and will do well in your job search.  I can refer you to a couple people in Warsaw who are teachers, please see PM.  What about Dave's ESL Cafe, any postings for Poland?  The larger private language schools in Poland often recruit from the UK, by the 1990s there were already specialist recruiters in London.  Daniel

Thanks again Daniel,

I checked Dave's ESL Cafe often but rarely see any postings for Poland. I get the impression that many Polish schools have so many potential teachers ready and waiting nearby that they don't necessarily need to post ads for people overseas. I guess I'll find out when I get there. I'm now going on Junbe  29 but will be heading to London on May 25. Visa rules and regulations have been ridiculous and I've had to change my flights often.


Hi Robert,

I'm an American whose been teaching in Warsaw for about 2 years now. I was lucky enough to start teaching at a university, where a work permit is not required. Also teaching privately on the side. When I first came here I had nothing, but slowly more and more schools kept calling me, so there is definitely a demand for native teachers at schools. I have a Canadian friend who teaches at a school here no problem, they helped him with his permit.

The most useful site I use is, schools and students post there all the time, but most of it's in Polish, so i just have Chrome translate it.

Polish bureaucracy can be a bit annoying, I always have to jump through many hoops to get my residency permit, but it's possible. So don't get discouraged. I think this summer will give you good experiences though, and you'll be able to learn a lot on your own like I did. 

Dear jscholar22,

I appreciate the message and the information. I leave for Poland in 1 month and the visa process has been nothing short  of ridiculously difficult.' But, I'm ready now and am looking forward to it.



Czeszcz [probably misspelled...]
Greetings, all.  I and my wife both have CELTAs, she has a lot of TEFL experience in the U.S. and Turkey.  I taught at a Polish high school through WorldTeach in 1994-5 in a fairly small town (Lask, west of Lodz), so the language and the standard of living, amenities, etc. would probably not bother me.  My wife was in the Peace Corps on a tiny Pacific island for 4 years, so she would find Poland the lap of luxury. 

I'm particularly interested in talking with the Vermonter in Radom.  There is a dual placement at Oxford something-or-other school in Radom we're interested in.  Any insights on Radom or that school?  Are there any other English-speakers in Radom?  I knew someone there when I was in Poland (20 years ago), but remember nothing in particular about the place.

I'd like to hear from any Americans about hiring of non-EU people.  How much of an issue is it?  Since I'd be going there with a couple of kids (baby and toddler) and my wife, I'm really not interested in sketchy under-the-table jobs or just cobbling together private tutoring gigs.

BTW, it amuses me and saddens me a little to read Poles commenting on how hard it is to make a living teaching English in Poland, and implying that we'd do better in the States.  Have you all tried to support a family on TEFL in the U.S.?!  Sadly, we're not interested in living in East Asia or Gulf states...

Any comments are most welcome, particularly if anyone knows any expat families there.

Do widzenia i dziekuje Was za pomoc.



I was an expat in Poland during 1992-2000 and married a woman from Radom.  We visit Poland every couple years, which always includes a trip to Radom to visit my wife's family.  Frankly, Radom is not the complete dump it was during the 1990s, but just isn't a great place to live.  Radom is a 3rd tier Polish city which did not reap the benefits of the Polish economic boom until the mid 2000s.  Industry collapsed in the early 1990s, and without foreign investment there was nothing to replace those jobs.  These days, the outlook is much better and there is a fairly new shopping mall in Radom which is an exact duplicate of an American mall, right down to the piped in make you feel good & buy some more stuff muzak. There is no foreign community.  There are no state universities and just one polytechnic, which my wife says is 3rd tier. There are some private colleges, which my wife also says are 3rd tier. Similar to other countries & the U.S., Warsaw and the larger cities are magnets for talent and host the country's top universities.  Plenty of Radom residents take the 2 hour train ride to Warsaw every morning as that's where the jobs are.

Due to its small size, we're certain there are only a small number of schools which would potentially employ foreign teachers. Not much going on in terms of cultural/arts either and few parks.  Rent is presumably cheaper than elsewhere, but that's about it.

Look into moving to Lodz instead.  Lodz is a 2nd tier city, with population of nearly 1 million and has plenty of universities and the economy is developed from years of foreign investment.  There is also an interesting art scene, google "Lodz street art."  There is a small foreign/expat community as Lodz is home to the School of Polish Language for Foreigners.  That school graduates about 400-500 students each year, who then go on to study at Polish universities. In 1995, I was one of those graduates. Piotrowska street is a vibrant, fun place to spend some time and even by 1995 was jam packed with restaurants & cafes.  If you lived in Lask during 1995, you probably visited Lodz.  There is also the modern art museum and Lodz Film School, where Polanski graduated.  In essence, in Lodz you have a sizable, modern city with all the amenities & something of an arty flavor in this post industrial city.  We do not know "kid friendly" you'd find life in Lodz, but there are plenty of parks. 

Daniel Winters

Hi Geoff,

I'm an American who's been living in Warsaw for the past 3 years. Teaching English here is not a problem, especially if you're qualified. Schools, companies, and families are all looking for natives, and they want professionals. After a transition period of just collecting enough clients, you should do fine financially.

In terms of legality, there are a number of schools that can help with immigration and paperwork. They can take care of your residency card, and you don't need a work permit to teach. If a school requires one they should provide it anyway. I contacted all my schools once I got here, but if you want to play it safe you can try securing something while in the states. If you PM me I can send u some if the good schools that I know, but if you're open to teaching kids just google schools in Warsaw and start contacting them.

And for your family, I'm convinced warsaw is the best prepared city for expats and families in Poland. There's a huge network of Americans and foreigners, and there are schools specifically for Americans. The only downside is cost, it's probably the most expensive city as well. But you guys should still manage fine if your committed to it :) I don't have kids but know many expats here who do.

Good luck!