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Working-Abroad

WORKING ABROAD

I remember when UK has become a dreamland for us, a real „green island”. I also remember when a quite big part of the polish youth left the country to start a new, better and easier life abroad, and so did many of my friends. Some of them actually did find what they were looking for, some came back few years later.

The saddest part of this whole thing was seeing many young and talented people, leaving the country to work at the same occupation for at least twice more money, or, God forbid!, way under their qualifications, but still for better salary. Why our own country can not provide a good life for their citizens, so they don't have to look for a happiness somewhere else?

So, from my experience, based of the environment I grew up in, we have this path in Poland. The path,which you should follow to be like all of the others. We have to finish High school, and then decide- start a family, find a job or go to the University. And, still based on my own experience, to skip an University part is not an option. Studying is for the Poles like a part of a lifestyle. It looks good, and, sooner or later, „everyone” does it. I mean, it is fun- You still don't have to grow up, you have discounts everywhere and many cool parties whenever you want. And then, after 3/5 years, we have more and more BA/MA, and less and less job opportunities. And the youth is frustrated,-all of them have a paper with the same value, most of them have also no real-job experience. And imagine watching your more successful friends getting the jobs of their dreams, and your family, pushing you to grow up. Frustration level- increase!

Of course I have also followed this path. And I didn't think through what exactly I want to do in my future. It was more like a luck for me to end up at Sociology. During my studies I was working in a super cool jewellery shop, and my salary (part-time) was approximately 150 euro. Of course I was also still living with my parents. Then, after 2 years, I've got a chance to go full-time at the same place. So I did, and I was rich! 300 euro just for my use! I was travelling (Greece, Paris, Berlin, Italy) and buying so much stuff for myself. But if I've had wanted to move out and start living on my own... No way. Rent takes at least half of your full-time salary. Then of course you have to eat/wear something, buy a monthly ticket etc.. 300 euro is definitely not enough. So I waited till my graduation, trying to find an answer for my big „OH MY GOD, WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MYSELF?!” question. And then the decision came, quite unexpected -let's move to Berlin. Why? Cause it's one of the coolest cities I have seen in my whole life, cause it's close to Poland, so I can visit quite often and because I have thought that, in a city such big as Berlin, there must somehow be a place also for me.

Of course ever since I have done it, I was having those „second thoughts”. Was my decision right? Did the idea of leaving my friends and family was worth the risk? Shouldn't I just stay home, find an office job and soon also a man?

It was risky, I agree. Everything (and sadly also the language :) ) was unknown. But still... I have met many Poles here,who did the same, and also a lot of those who still live in Poland (mostly Slubice) but come to Berlin every day, just to work. You may ask, why do they bother? My answer will be simple- because of the money. Even though Berlin is a capital city, the prices here are relatively low. The hardest part is to find an apartment (I know something about it, since March 2013, I live in a 7th one already :)), and they are pretty expensive. All of the other things have good prices.

My first job here, as I finished B1 course in a language school, was in a hotel as a cleaning lady. Mostly, because my language level was enough to buy myself a dinner, order a beer and get some most needed documents, but almost nothing more.

My salary was about 1100 euro. Full time! Easy math- almost tripled standard polish salary. I was able to pay everything, make some savings and almost live like I don't care about money. How can this be even possible- working here with a basic language level and having much more money then you can get in your own country, where you are a native speaker?!. Why? Why my country does it to itself?

I spend 3 months in this hotel, but I have met a Polish lady, who has been working there already 7 years. And because of this job she was able to raise 3 kids, throw a big, polish wedding for one of them and still help the youngest one with finishing studies. And there was also a mother with her son, coming everyday to Berlin straight from Slubice, just to clean hotel rooms for 1100€/month each. And they loved it, cause thanks to Berlin, they were rich in Poland- 1100 euro is like 4500 zloty. And in a city like Slubice you can really live like a king with this kind of money.

Obviously, as my German level got up, I have changed my job. I've came back to basics and started a retail career. And it's not even a full-time job, cause I am working just 35 hours a week. Not only my salary is almost 1200 euro, I am also working with Germans, so it's like a German course at the same time. I am not planning to do this for all my life, but for now I find it perfect. Of coure some of my friends in Poland have super cool careers, families, and they don't understand why did I have to come here, just to find a job as a cashier.

I still consider myself as a young person who has time to think what to do in life, to simple enjoy it and to feel free and happy. Job is not everything for me, it's only something I have to do to earn money. And I need money to live a happy, normal and easy life. Berlin has so many opportunities and people here have more paths to follow.

Do I miss my family? Like hell. Do I miss my country? Yes. Do I want to come back? No, thanks. At least not for now. The truth is, I got use to having enough money to live a normal life, without credit cards and worries. I like to have enough money just to simple enjoy life- to eat outside sometimes, to buy myself better things, to have every Sunday off, and, what is the most important thing- to be able to visit my family almost every month.

I don't know how it would have been if I was living in London. But Berlin is really close, and at the same time totally different. And for now, I can say, this is the place to be.

About The Author

Sani Manchak

Kasia Jakubowska

Kasia Jakubowska graduated from University of Lodz in Sociology. She has also always had a strong interest in behavioral psychology and mainsteam American culture. She is passionate about IT, ancient Egypt, travelling and exploring new things. She is a big fan of Jonny Depp.