Culture and Language

1 min read
22 Sep 2023

Warsaw fuses traditional elements of Polish culture with the conveniences of a modern European capital. You can sample the staple Polish delicacies such as pierogi(crescent-shaped dumplings) gołąbki (stuffed cabbage leaves) and kanapki(open sandwiches) at any local restaurant or bar mleczny (milk bar). Warsaw is becoming a vegan-friendly city offering vegan food prepared from local products. Breakfast is popular and can be served up until 2:00 PM. In warm weather, open-air breakfast markets are held on weekends. Obiad (lunch) is usually taken after 2:00 PM. Polish mead is experiencing a revival in popularity, as many Warsaw pubs and microbreweries will attest to. Festivals run throughout the year, from the traditional Procession of the Three Kings in January to the Festival of Contemporary Music in the fall and open Chopin concerts in a historic park. Polish people value generosity, courtesy and the reciprocation of these values. They tend to build personal relationships when doing business. As when moving to any country, it is important to maintain respect and familiarize yourself with the country's history before starting any conversations about more sensitive topics.

Learning the language

The EF English Proficiency Index (2021) ranks Warsaw as the fourteenth city in the “Very High Proficiency” band globally. Although you can get by without learning the language, doing so will be a big plus when starting a business, especially in handling administrative tasks with local authorities. Any effort you put into speaking Polish will be greatly appreciated by locals, and older Poles tend not to speak English. Polish may seem intimidating when you see it written down, as there are so many accents and pronunciation doesn’t always follow spelling. It does use the Roman alphabet, though, unlike other Slavic languages, and immersion is the key to getting used to the sounds. Polish language courses in Warsaw range from individual tutors to group classes and intensive, slower-paced programs, and a standard one-hour class can cost around 60 zł ($16), for example at the British Council language school (