I left my home city Szczecin in Poland seven years ago. I came to London with my friends to find a “summer job” and to improve my English - I’ve stayed a little longer than planned. At first, London overwhelmed me with the chaos, crowds, noise and multicultural environment I found myself in. But once I settled down I liked the city and the people and I think it’s a great place that provides lots of opportunities.
Culture People in Poland are generally quite reserved and don’t trust people easily but when you get to know them they’re usually kind and generous. In England, it's quite the opposite. People love to make conversation and engage in discussion. Sometimes it’s quite disturbing when you just want to buy something at the local shop and you’re required to make small talk about the weather. It’s a false politeness.
Leisure In my home city, when you go clubbing you generally head out around midnight. I was surprised when I went to a club in London for the first time and it closed at 3am. Almost everywhere is closed at that time of the morning and the underground isn’t running either, which makes the journey back home very entertaining. I still find it difficult to understand why everything closes so early. Isn’t London the city that never sleeps? I was happy to find out that come 2015 there’s going to be a 24 hour tube service at the weekends.
Food In Poland, farmers try to minimise the use of chemical resources to encourage the growth of vegetables and fruits. Therefore it’s much easier and cheaper to buy very healthy organic food. I was shocked when I came to London and found that most of the foods had preservatives in them so I can see the thinking behind Andrew’s blog on vertical farming. I love an English breakfast, shepherd’s pie and the classic Sunday roast, but I'm not too sure about Scotch eggs. Getting to grips with the food has been easier than expected.
Traditions Polish people love to celebrate! All Polish traditions are firmly rooted in Catholicism. During the holiday season Poles take the time to pray in churches, get together with families, relax, cook traditional meals and enjoy festivities. When I came to the UK I noticed people spent their Easter and Christmas breaks slightly differently. They put a bigger emphasis on gift giving and buying than the spiritual aspects of those events.
Despite the many differences, I’ve adjusted to this city’s lifestyle and I look forward to being here for many years to come.
Author: Ben Zielinski