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What Poles Could Learn from the Brits

I have now lived in the UK for over four years and had a chance to observe the ways of the British. With a large Polish population living and working in Britain since Poland’s joining the EU in May 2004, there are some things which I think Poles could learn from these close encounters of the third kind and vice versa. But let’s start with my own folk.


1. First and foremost, Poles should take some driving lessons from the British!

Before coming to the UK, I have never encountered such politeness in drivers – giving way to each other regardless of the traffic regulations – just because they are not in a rush or just feeling generous. An appreciative wave from behind the wheel is something I have never seen in Poland and something one witnesses here all the time.

Is it the high car congestion and narrow British roads that have made politeness so necessary? If you have driven in Devon on some country roads with passing bays every few miles or if you have ever tried finding a parking space in Brighton or central London then you know what I am talking about. Good driving is not a luxury – it is a survival skill!

2. Tolerance and multiculturalism

Britain is the most multicultural society I have ever experienced. Its capacity to accommodate people from other cultures seems to be endless. As an outsider coming to the UK, my experiences have only been positive – as an employee, as a student, as an independent professional or as a new family member. The fact I am foreign never seems to make any difference in my everyday interactions with the British people, and if so then only to my advantage. The Polish society would benefit immensely if it could learn from the Brits how to be more tolerant and open-minded to the different and the new.

3. Number three on my list – bureaucracy.

Registering as self-employed in England took one phone call. It is not as easy in Poland from what I hear from my friends and according to this very interesting report Doing Business 2009 by the World Bank Poland ranks 176th in the world for ease of doing business compared to the 6th position held by the United Kingdom. Now, that is a big gap! Come on Poland, do something about it.

4. Finally, and I am just about to say something completely sacrilegious, Poles could take from the Brits a few cooking tips as well.

OK, I am not questioning the superiority of Polish cuisine and cooking techniques, but merely remarking on the fact that the British seem to be consuming more vegetables and a wider variety too: sweet potato (batat), celery (seler naciowy), swede (brukiew), turnip (rzepa), courgette (cukinia), aubergine (oberżyna) and asparagus (szparagi) are regulars on the British table. Why not add them to the Polish menu also?

And talking of food, I would love to see a few more curry houses opening in Polish cities. If I were to move back to Poland, the one thing I would most certainly miss is a good curry!

This is all I can think of at the moment, although this list is by no means finished. If you have your own observations and ideas on the subject of What Poles Could Learn from the Brits – please put it down in the comments! I also rush to say that there will be a chance for retaliation when I write next on What Brits Could Learn from the Poles! And I am telling you, the list is getting long…

2 Responses to “What Poles Could Learn from the Brits”

  1. Ines Says:

    MAYBE JUST TO FOLLOW the sentence:

    “Always look on the braight side of life 😉 …” even then when the life is a piece of sh”’ 😉

  2. What Brits Could Learn from the Poles | Which Word Translations Says:

    […] is now long overdue, back in May I promised a sequel to my earlier post What Poles Could Learn from the Brits, and here it comes – the chance to retaliate and pick on the Brits, or “Angole” – as we […]

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