Culture Shock in Poland — What WAS shocking to me.

Culture Shock in Poland — What WAS shocking to me.


I have a Polish friend, I also have a Czech one, too. check…::laugh:: God! I hate my life! Test…1, 2, 3 ::obcy obywatel:: Witam, hello, and welcome to another video! So, despite the rain despite the weather I’m out here making a video
today. I made one yesterday it turned out way too long and I didn’t get all my
points across. So, I thought I’d give it another shot today. My last video was
about culture shock and it was just, in general, about culture shock and not
really about my personal experiences with culture shock. So I wanted to talk
about that today; more of my personal experiences of culture shock: what was
shocking to me, what was frustrating to me, what was upsetting to me (when I first
came here to Poland). Now, keep in mind these are things that I have a adapted
to, I’ve adjusted to, you know, I fit in, you know, pretty well here now. So
these are not complaints, these are just things that, if you’re an American, and
you live and you come to live in Poland — these are things that you might start to
realize after a couple of months of living in Poland. So, for me the first one
started right away — was staring in this culture, it is generally not rude to
stare. In America, you’re taught at a young age
“Don’t stare at people”. “Stop staring.” Especially if somebody’s different
don’t stare. Here, in Poland, not so much. Making eye contact, people
will stare at you, they won’t look away. It’s not considered rude. Which kind of
leads into the other one, which is smiling. Now, overall generally, in public,
especially with the older generation smiling is something that you’re not
going to see very often outside of your home or outside of stores and such. America is known for being a very smiling nation — a nation that loves to
smile. We smile all the time, we smile at strangers, we smile at everybody. It’s
just something that we do. I know a lot of Polish people say that that’s very
fake, but have you ever been to America? Have you lived there? It’s really not fake, it’s not something that I would consider fake.
Generally we like to greet everybody with a smile.Body language
is something that you learned when you grow up, and it’s a very unconscious
thing so for me. When I came to Poland, and after the first couple of months I was
really uncomfortable in public. I would notice people staring. I [also] noticed
people weren’t smiling, and in American body language that means I have done something to offend you, or I’ve done something to upset you. And
so I was always uncomfortable or I was always like frightened. Especially if it was a guy was looking at me, and not smiling. It seemed like he wanted to
fight me — because that’s the body language in the United States. In Poland,
that’s just not the case. If you smile at somebody in Poland that you don’t know
generally people will take it as 1) something’s not quite with your head, you know, you might be a little mentally handicapped or something like that. 2) They
might think that you are smiling at them, like you’re mocking them and you know
making jokes in your head about them. The third one is probably a little bit more
common if you’re in a bigger city, but they might think that you’re a foreigner,
but I live in a small town and nobody generally sees me as a foreigner… Despite
the way I dress is kind of typical of an American.. I guess.. well, I don’t know…so… it took me a long time to get over the the not smiling in public
like I had to tell myself, “Tony, don’t smile! Don’t smile! Don’t smile!” or– or– if
people stared at me I could stare back, and I didn’t have to be like rude about
it because generally like when old women would look at me I would always walk up
to them and say, ” Och! Dzień dobry!” you know and like this silly
accent and this big goofy smile on my face because
I thought I just wanted to be super nice to them, you know, kind of like “kill them
with kindness”. You know, I just I felt uncomfortable, so I thought everyone else
should be uncomfortable with me um let’s see what else…
customer service…ummm… yeah, you’re not going to get “the customer is always right” type
of attitude in shops around here. In fact, sometimes if a cashier or
somebody is acting a bit rude, they’re not acting rude they’re just actually
like themselves and you know it’s not like in the United States. Again you know
where everybody is overly nice when they work in customer service. Here it’s just
like, “Och, przepraszam… Gdzie jest…?.” “No… tam.” You know, they just kind of
like casually tell you where it is and sometimes they seem like they can’t even
bother to tell you where it is. Or or especially be bothered to even show you
where it is. So um, you know, customer service is great
here you just have to adjust to it the The other things… taking my hat off in the
United States. Yeah, it is an old custom that you should remove your hat in
buildings, but I don’t know anyone who does that anymore. I know that if you go
to a school, you should remove your hat, but generally anywhere else people keep
their hats on. And I would I would wear my hat all day: in the house, I would wear
it at meals, and restaurants. Nobody said anything to me. Nobody even cared. In
Poland — No! You take your hat off. Generally you don’t have to take them
off indoors( like in a shop or something like that) but you definitely should take
it off when you’re about to eat a meal. In fact, one day I kept my hat on — as a
bit of rebellion (I guess), and this woman walked up to us and she said to me in
Polish something like “Unless you’re a Jew, you take your hat off.” And I just
shrugged my shoulder,s you know, “Jestem Żydem” (“I’m Jewish”) — I’m not — but I just didn’t want to deal with her.
My wife interrupted [and] told the lady that I was American. In America we don’t remove
our hats when we eat a meal… The lady just did not care what either of us had
to say. So that’s the FIRST time and the LAST time I’ve eaten with my hat
on. So, don’t don’t get all upset! Going in and out of buildings — I don’t know what
it is about the doors here — but when I’m in the States,
I’m used to a lot of doors closing themselves like when you enter a shop. but here I would walk into a shop and
the door would be like wide open behind me, and you know, people were telling me
like, “Go close the door”, and and I know that sounds really weird but it
took me so long to get used to the idea of closing the door behind me when
walking into a shop or something because I’m like I said I’m used to them kind of
being like on like a little arm, hydraulic arm that closes the door for
you… What else? When you enter a shop, when you enter a restaurant, and there’s
people around you should greet the rooms “Dzień dobry!” or like same thing doctors
offices same thing you just walk in people are sitting in the waiting room
you need greet them, and when you leave “Do widzenia” and everybody else will generally “Dzień dobry” “Do widzenia”… whatever and that was a little strange to me at first. I
actually really liked that to be honest with you. It’s one of the few times I can
actually talk to strangers, I know it’s just a couple of words, but it’s you know
I like that. Same thing — like walking in a restaurant and somebody walks by your
table they might just walk by and say like “Smacznego!” Which i think is super
cool. I really like that. It’s not common but it happens. My wife and I do it all time.
Especially if I see somebody eating ice cream, walking down our city centre,
or something. I generally will say “Och, smacznego!” and ,you know, they get
a like a chuckle out of it because it’s not expected, you know, I just like to
make people’s day a little bit better. I’m not trying to be rude, I really do
like that culture, but yeah, I mean I think it’s interesting. Another one will
have to be, if you do want to go to like an office like a government office or
something like that generally the doors to the office are
closed. There’s no window or anything like that and you should you should know
to knock. If you knock and you don’t hear anything, usually that means that they
have a client or a patient or somebody in there already. And you should wait.
if you knock and you hear, they normally say “Proszę!” That means, like “come on in”
,you know, “Please enter!”. So, you know that was a little weird to me because
generally offices in the United States are open and you know if they’re there
and here is kind of a guessing game. Going to the doctor generally if you
have a doctor’s appointment with public healthcare they don’t give you an
appointment they will give you the office hours for that day and you just
go and you wait there’s no receptionist you just sit in a waiting room and when
you walk in you ask who’s last and somebody usually will raise their hand
and say their last now generally that’s how it works and it works okay there are
times when the doctor will walk out and he will point to someone who he wants to
go next generally if it’s a woman who’s pregnant
or someone who’s elderly someone who’s disabled they generally get to go first
it’s the same thing in banks there’s a waiting area but generally you let the
pregnant women elderly people or disabled go before you it doesn’t matter
how long you’ve waited this was really really annoying for me when I thought
this doctor’s appointment would take 30 minutes and we waited probably 45
minutes a woman comes in she sits down she’s pregnant
the doctor walks out and says oh she’s next I was so angry she had just gotten
there and we had been sitting there for 45 minutes waiting our turn but they
kept letting people go in front of us those are things that you just have to
accept and understand same thing with with the annoyance of asking who is last
at the doctor’s office sometimes people will try to weasel their way in front of
you so if you have an appointment like an actual date ask them what time and
show them like your appointment card and show them what time and ask to see their
because I’ve had before where mostly it’s older ladies I hate to make the
stereotype of old Polish women but they’ll say oh mines in five minutes and
I’ll say oh so is mine and I’ll show them my appointment card and then
they’ll act like they can’t find their apartment card or they’ll just say okay
you can go first well anyway guys I’m going to cut the
short because it’s really starting to rain right now so keep your questions
and comments coming like share subscribe if you haven’t already look forward to
more content and until next time guys do zobaczenia! Is there a holiday? It’s closed and it tells
me not to make video. It’s closed. There’s nobody in there. Nobody in the parking lot.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “Culture Shock in Poland — What WAS shocking to me.

  1. I think it is important that I explain myself here. As I said in the video, these are things that I felt when I arrived in Poland; I no longer have these feelings. Culture shock is a very terrible feeling when you are learning to adjust to a new culture. I wanted to make this video for other Americans thinking about moving to Poland. When I first came here, I was very lonely and I was frustrated with every little thing – because I didn't understand a lot, and it was difficult to adapt at first. This is a normal transition to any new culture.

    I reached out to another American YouTuber (living in Poland) at the time. I told him I was having trouble adjusting and I wanted someone to talk to… he basically said to me "Maybe Poland just isn't for you." and I never heard anymore from him – even though I tried messaging him some more.

    I basically just wanted other expats and immigrants from the States to know what to expect and also let them know they have someone to talk to. I want people to adapt to this culture and integrate with this culture. And telling people "go home" is not going to help that situation.

    Watch the video I posted on 6 June (Co ja kocham w Polsce). I speak Polish now, I understand the culture, I appreciate and love this country — my country, Poland.

    I'm not some uncultured pig like many of you think I am.

  2. Hey man ! Nice to hear things from your perspective. I'm from Poland, and yes I think polish people are rude, and they just try to excuse this behavior when comparing it to i.e. American smiling and positive attitude and that americans are fake. Just a lame excuse.
    Hhaha it's funny how you say that you was uncomfortable when people where staring at you. Let me tell you, I live here 26 years and still get the feeling like people act rude toward me like I offended them. My personal tactic is to stare at them harder which usually makes guys back off. You just have to fall down to their level to cope. And let's be frank… I know you guys in US are kind and even Political Correct, but let's be frank… this all behavior of polish people it's just symptom of low-cultured manners, not less not more…

  3. Hey , One fourth of Ireland is polish now , It is the # 2 language and it will get northern ireland to be ALL of Ireland because of the Catholic Thing — Most of America is Really Eastern European but were lied to by their Parents , they all came through England to change their names Many are ASHKENAZI /NAZI thieves , like N.Y. and Hollywood , This is REALITY and Why America is a MESS !!!

  4. Very interesting. But please American smile is fake,not real. Smileing to evrybody is not Natural. I was in USA couple Times. I do not like it. I was born in Poland.

  5. EVERYTHING you said sounds AWESOME to me! In my house, take your [email protected]#$ing hat off. I can't stand hats indoors. I'm just old fashioned like that.
    I'm not sure where you are from in America but your non-smiling thing isn't universal in the USA. Being from Detroit, smiling isn't really a greeting. If you know them they get the upward nod, maybe a hand.
    The old lady and pregnant woman thing is pretty common in a lot of countries. As a man on the subway in Korea, don't even bother sitting down because a woman, old or not will get on at some point and they have dibs on all seats. Its better just to stand and not think about it.

    You want to talk about culture shock, try moving from a northern liberal city in the US to the deep south like Alabama. You don't have to deal with simple little things like saying hi, If you are white you have to deal with other white people confiding racist agendas to you in the middle of the supermarket. If you are black, hoo boy.

  6. You obviously don't know the proverb "When in Rome…"? It's so typical of a Yankee to expect that everybody else should go out of his way to accomodate him. Or else… Bombing?

  7. In Canada it’s rude to leave your hat on in a restaurant. Not everyone is taught good manners at home though, so you see hats on in some instances here.

  8. American athelete Simone Biles said 'Smiling doesn't win you gold medals' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_XS5BzUTSQ

  9. Yes, we let pregnant women, elderly and people with dissabilities going first. This is annoying for you? Take your bag then and go back to USA. Less yankees on our land could be better. Even as just a tourists.

  10. W/ a certain fear for my life I'll remark that I once read an article by a Russian in their English language Russian Life magazine, where the author said that Russians feel the same way about Americans "excessive" smiling, it is either fake or a sign of mental problems.

    People are encouraged to smile in America so as to reassure someone that you're friendly & no threat. Actually, I think that whole smiley thing began both w/ the Evangelical religion & the advertising industry. Abraham Lincoln's great political opponent, the Democrat Stephen Douglas once complained that Protestant ministers were "too smiley faced." He married a Catholic woman & converted to please her. When challenged on this he made his statement above.

    Advertisers noted that people were more likely to buy things from pretty girls smiling at them. Atleast men were. So, a Protestant culture which was big on persuading people to convert or "be born again" and the advertising industry which actually was greatly influenced by that religious culture produced this tendency in our culture. In old photos from the 19th cent. & early 20th you don't see so much smiling.

  11. My Polacy kolego pukamy z grzeczności … żeby nie wchodzić z buciorami (demokracją)w czyjeś życie i od co cała historia. Pozdrawiam

  12. how many chickens and dugs do you have in a garden in ameica?look in the mirrow wiliger.find a nice boyfriend,cause no girl go for homosexuals

  13. Whoa, the story about the hats is crazy. I would just tell her to mind her own business. What does she care how you're dressed while eating? I assume it was in public, right?
    If you're at somebody's home I can understand it.

  14. Haha.. That's true tho… You will never see that fake hi how are you? Good… How are u? In poland… Poles will just reply.. It sucks if they are in a bad mood… Or not even answer you lol… That would be called.. Post communism mentality /body language

  15. Old "babcia" in poland are the most annoying people ever… And the doctor experience you had is… Socialized health care… Equals shit… Worse than Obama care

  16. Hopefully your soy based diet has dramatically decreased since moving to Poland. It's obvious your soy levels are at a toxic stage.

  17. Everything you described is known as respect. Respect for people, culture and tradition. It's a good thing and should be made universal.

  18. You have Polish and Czech friend ????????????? I don't think those ladies would give a fuck, even if you would buy them a sports car, you need to pull your head out of your ass, lol. =D

  19. This is some thing upsets me from US tourists. Instead of seeing things how they are, they keep comparing and then making judgements. Common, people and cultures are different and not every country/continent are same. Smiling can be common in US and thats OK. Smiling can be basic in US but not Everywhere. Infact, smiling at some stranger can be odd in some societies – mocking them as missing basic is not something a nice gesture. You clain that smile is not fake? Then do you know what a genuine smile is? (This kind of questions come up when you judge things that way). Just see it how it is, if its new for you and discomforting for you, Try to assimilate, because you ARE in that land. Importantly, not everything you grown up with is obvious, common, or should be common. Expecting them to change to your way, is straight disrespecting their culture.

  20. Polish education system is fantastic they teach the Polish people their history that's why they stand together. they know their history and will not forget it. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”.

  21. Hey..That all is being polite.In my country(an European country) is the same.You do not eat with a hat,you have to knock, you have to say good afertoon in a room,etc..etc..About doctors is different.

  22. You really should work from notes. You ramble like crazy. As an immigrant to Romania I can relate and I wish you had hit on more points more concisely for comparison.

  23. Normally when someone stares at me and don’t look away when I notice it then I’ll ask if they know me! If they say no,then I’ll say,well what the fuck is your problem!!!

  24. Yeah, it's true😁 When I was running to school (cause I was very late😅), the man who passed by me, told me "tie your shoelaces!" and he went away! 😂 I tie my shoelaces, because I was shocked😉 There are more similar situations, but it is our habit and we really love it! For example, when sombody going out with dog, we usually told: "Oh, what a cute dog!" and "Oh, can I stroke it?". It is natural in Poland and I think it is very nice! The same with telling "dzień dobry (hello)". When you don't tell "dzień dobry", people think "yeah, this man hasn't got manners"😄 And finally:
    when I pass by an elderly lady or an elderly gentleman, I ALWAYS smile and tell "dzień dobry". I know some old people (met, for example, in park😊) with whom I often talk. We, Polish, can talk with random person who we meet and I like it! Sorry for my English, I had a problem with some sentences😉 By the way, your video is very good! Grettings from Poland!💛

  25. I’m american (but raised by Poles) and you sound like you’re from the midwest….where people smile and are overly-friendly. In the major cities no one is like that and it’s pretty weird. The United States you’re describing only exists in less populated middle states.

  26. I could not live there. The customer service and rudeness of having others go before you in a waiting room, when you’ve been waiting a long time would be too much. I’d have to say something.

  27. You good. I like what you say about my country. I live in Canada now and the polish customs not expected here were enoining for me. Now I get use to it…. almost.

  28. The only thing I would have a problem with would be the staring; but to be honest I would rather be
    stared at in Poland then here in America. I have never dressed like the typical American ever, so the hat
    thing wouldn't bother me since I don't own any baseball caps, cargo shorts, tennis shoes or flip flops;
    you know what 85% of American Men walk around looking like. T shirts yes, but rarely. I dress 90's and
    early 2000's; not like a hobo, derelict, or the maintenance/ garbage Man. It doesn't take much to be
    better dressed than 99% of American Men; I can do this with one eye closed, one hand tied behind my
    back and a bad case of the flu.

    But closing the door behind you is very continental and a reflection of the medieval way, and I love that. From
    what you said in the video, it seems that Americans are spoiled with things that make our lives "too easy"
    and what happens with that? You get even more spoiled. But I really love your videos. I am praying that
    I get to visit Poland and then move there permanently. The culture in America is just getting to disgusting for
    me to tolerate it anymore.

  29. Brush up on men's hat etiquette ( baseball hat included), not just for Poland. https://www.levinehat.com/pages/hat-etiquette

  30. I smile when im happy You moron smile cuz You are moron…. how easy explenation. And if You have problem with hats…… wtf?? Its culture a bit older than "white americans that speak ENGLISH" so americanss

  31. Actually in America especially in NY people stare a lot to and no one smiles at anyone. They just push and in America everything is so rushed and not calm. When I went to Poland everything was so calm and there were so much nice people. Everyone said good afternoon and goodnight in polish.

  32. We are not sad or rude having the so called "resting Bitch face" in public. We just don't give a damn, unless we have busines, or want/need help. The typical Brittish "hello, how are you? Good. Thanks… …… … BYE" isn't seen very normal to us… basic logic in poland is that we don't open our mouths or move them in unusal fake manner unless we have a specific reason to.

  33. nie możesz zostać pilotem avionetki bo tam sam musisz zamknąć dżwi , w dużym samolocie zamykają stewardesy
    ciekawe czy w domu też masz automat do dżwi ? to takie proste kolego .
    tak tylko ,nie złośliwie , pozdrawiam

  34. na twoim filmie jest ledwo ukryty przekaz podprogowy….O mnie i o moim
    kanale – Q&A.. czas…6.25-26..To smierdzi czymś ochydnym..KIM
    JESTEŚ I CO TU ROBISZ…W MOIM KRAJU?

  35. What a nightmare! How long is your sentence going to last? Shitty people & crappy weather, hey? Even the birds sounded miserable and mean in the background. I was surprised none of those obnoxious birds crapped on you during filming! That would be in line with the national character (or lack thereof). Kinda shocking and disappointing to hear so many negative perceptions from so many people of so many other countries about their visit to Poland. The few Poles I’ve known or seen and read about were all friendly and sexy and cool. What happened to them? Is there pressure from within the country to uphold such shady, mean-spirited behavior?

    Culture my ass. They have GOT to know what they are doing. Smiling at strangers means you’re fake or crazy but blatant staring at strangers and insulting a (possibly) Jewish person you’ve never met before when he may have simply forgotten to remove his hat for a meal is acceptable? Something ain’t right. Where are your close and personal Polish friends, lovers or coworkers to confirm all this for you and guide you along? The range of human emotions and the corresponding expressions they put on our faces along with the intentions they emit from our eyes are all universal. No language or religion or set of laws can change that. Being shady, miserable, narrow-minded, inconsiderate pieces of shit doesn’t sound like culture either. It sounds like national character; and a ghastly, hateful one at that. Hopefully, they’re not proud of themselves. Otherwise, we’ll have to add “delusional” to the extensive list of things that are wrong with the Polish gene pool. 🤢🤮

  36. If I could, I’d send you a flame-thrower to help you survive your sentence in Poland. Then again, a Polish grandma might see it in customs and steal it while everyone else stares at you and wonders why Jews are so cheap and unwilling to let random grandmothers steal their shit.

    In lieu, I will share something you can do next time someone stares. Next time you catch one of those vinegar-blooded “ass-Poles” glaring, you dramatically, loudly reposition yourself so that you are glaring right back at them from head to toe. Then, shift your look using your entire head down to their shoes. DO NOT SMILE. DO NOT NOD IN GREETING. You just HAVE TO look and look and look at their shoes or feet. Make sure the expression on your face while doing this is as close of a match as possible to the one they have on their face while staring at you. Matter of fact, be sure to let them know you are imitating them. See how acceptable staring at strangers will be for that “Ass-Pole” when he or she discovers how it feels! 💪🏼😉😈

  37. Cześć. Bardzo pozytywny film. To co przedstawiłes jest prawda i zdarza się na codzień. Nie znam angielskiego ,ale miło ze były napisy :). Dziękuję. Mówiłeś ze mieszkasz u nas czyli w Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej jakiś czas. Poznajesz kraj małymi krokami. A czy byłeś może w miejscach symbolicznych miejscach pamięci ,chce nawiązać do miasta Oświęcim (po niemiecku Auschwitz) Ale to Polskie miasto więc Oświęcim. Byłeś tam?

  38. Double trap: when a polish stares at you without smiling, it offends you. When you respond back with a smile (because of your U.S nature), it offends them [and makes them think that you are: 1. mentally unsound 2. mocking them in your head]

  39. People in Poland don’t smile and they stare at you, you’re white if they stared at you probably had a dick in the middle of your forehead. Asshole!

  40. Q -Why Polish men always open the doors for women and let them go first?

    A – Because nobody knows who's behind the doors…

  41. Sorry where in the US is it ok to eat a meal with a hat on??I've only seen people do that eating fast food.They are 100% correct on that one it also shows no class.

  42. I was born in America and have lived here all my life both of my parents were born in Poland I have a family home there and have been there many times I have family there too and believe me when you talk about Poland all logic goes out the door everything is backwards there lol

  43. Interesting that customer service is not great in Poland. Here in the UK, British sales people are really surly, but Polish sales people working in the UK are really pleasant and courteous. Maybe this is an international thing, and people just don't like serving their compatriots.

  44. Are you currently teaching English in Poland? If so do you know does it matter how you obtain the tefl certification?

  45. People are mentioning that Poles are not smiling. I live in UK around 2 years and frankly I believe it is like that everywhere, people do not smile to each and every person they're passing on the streets. Regarding your feeling that people are staring at you, maybe it's just curiosity. Around 97% of society is Polish so when they get to meet some foreigners they are interested so they're staring.

  46. You hit the nail right on the nose. I'm from New York and it's true that in the states we smile at everyone, laugh, hold the door for people, make small talk when waiting in line, etc: I went on vacation to Poland and the people were rude. Many times they push us out of the way to get on the bus or train, customer service sucks and they will bang into you while walking and never say sorry.
    Even if they come to the states we would never treat them like that.
    Also, my little girl is mixed and they kept staring at us because I am white and she is brown. I would stare back but they would never look away. Not good manners at all.
    I would give it another tey though because the country itself is beautiful.

  47. There is a shit load of tragedy in Polish history so smiling is naturally a rare reaction. As for wearing hats indoors, even in the USA it wasn't that long ago that hats off indoors was absolutely a must for men.

  48. I have a question. I was in Sweden and some Swedish friends were beaten up for no reason and without warning by immigrant Polish men–that is thugs. Are Polish men/youths getting violent? And are they doing this in other parts of Europe?

  49. Cool movie. Honestly all what you've just said is a true. We Poles ofen do not realize it unless somebody ask us about. I have a lot of American friends and they asked me about staring and stone faces bereft any signs of smile. I had to explain that such behaviour is something normal. That note rude as you now know. Just different style of everyday living. Thank you for your observation. Greetings. Pozdrawiam.

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