Here are some little differences which may puzzle or surprise foreigners in Poland.
Some of these are still common:

  • Paying for the toilet in some restaurants or bars.
  • Trying to send a parcel in the post office may require a special kind of string.
  • Having to be quiet in your flat after 10 p.m. but being allowed to start loud work again at 6 a.m. .
  • Flowers for every occasion (but always an odd number!).
  • Polish celebration of a name day.
  • Christmas dinner is eaten on Christmas Eve with carp often eaten in jelly (delicious!).
  • Despite the fact that a handshake is the typical greeting in Poland, some men might kiss hands of women. Women (and sometimes men) who are close friends will kiss each other on both cheeks.
  • Time of eating meals differs considerably from that in other European countries. Thus, breakfast is eaten early in the morning, then at about 4 p.m. there is usually two-course dinner (soup and the main course), finally supper is consumed at about 7-8 p.m. (it often consists of sandwiches or yoghurts).There is no lunch break at work.

As it takes time to understand the different behaviour in a  new culture and know how to react, here are a few comments for newcomers:

  • Poland is a very religious country and on a Sunday you will see huge numbers going to church, young as well as old.
  • The month before Christmas is a holy time (advent) not a time for parties. Similarly, the time of Lent before Easter.
  • You should cross a street at zebra crossings but watch out as cars sometimes will force right of way!
  • Lectures at the university may start sometimes 15 minutes later (so-called ‘academic quarter’ acceptable among university students and teachers)
  • Students usually wear formal clothes (often a white blouse/shirt and dark skirt/trousers) during university exams.