How to avoid problems in Poland? Guide for foreigners. Part 1
Have you lived in Poland recently? So you probably get used to the sound of the Polish language, you teach the basic words to handle a shop or bus. Are you looking for a flat to rent in Warsaw and Gdańsk, you are looking for a job and friends in another new city, you are looking for a new favorite gym. What you're definitely not looking for is trouble, and we'll tell you how to avoid them!
Before you came to Poland to study, you had to rent a room for a student in Warsaw or another large city with a university campus, so you had the chance to get to know the city in advance, but cultural differences can often surprise you. Let's start from the beginning: public transport. Large Polish cities such as Warsaw, Gdańsk and Wrocław are well connected, but when looking for a room or a flat to rent, check what commute you have to work or to the university. You don't want to spend half the day in traffic jams.
What you need to remember are tickets for public transport. Tickets can be bought at vending machines, kiosks, grocery stores close to the stop. You can also buy them online. Unfortunately, in the case of online tickets, each city has its own rules, so before you go on a tram journey, check how it looks in your city. Tickets can be bought, e.g. through SkyCash or moBilet. - these are two applications to download on the phone, but both sides are only in Polish, so it's good to ask for help from a friend or calmly translate the page using Google translator. So it's better not to leave it at the last minute. There may be a ticket check while driving, if you do not have a valid ticket, you will be asked to show the documents and based on them you will get a ticket, which of course we do not wish anyone! It happens that ticket vending machines are on trams or buses, in some cities you can also buy a ticket from the driver, but it is better not to rely on this solution, because it will not always succeed. When you rent a room for a student in Gdansk, you can use the metropolitan ticket, which entitles you to travel around the Tri-City, using transport provided by three carriers.
Since we are at public transport: in Poland there are no smoking cigarettes at bus, tram and station stops. Smoking is of course an unhealthy addiction, which we do not recommend to anyone, but if someone already has to smoke, they should not do it at the bus stop, because they have a good chance of being fined. In Gdańsk, for example, the smoking-free zone is large: it includes a stop and a place up to 15 meters behind and in front of it, and 10 meters to the side. So it's not enough to stand back symbolically. Of course, smoking is also not allowed in buses and trams, restaurants, pubs, clubs, universities and offices, shops and playgrounds for children (beware! Walking with a cigarette in the park, you can accidentally take to the children's area and get a ticket). By the way, we remind you: in our apartments for rent in the cities of Warsaw and Gdańsk, smoking is also prohibited. Everything for your health😊
An important issue, which is regulated very differently in different countries, is driving after drinking alcohol. The permissible number of per mille in which one can sit behind the wheel according to Polish law is a maximum of 0.2 per mil per blood (NOTE: after drinking one beer, the average blood alcohol concentration is 0.26 per mil). For comparison: in Germany you cannot exceed 0.5 per mil, unless you are very young (before the age of 21) or you are a professional driver - then the breathalyser must show 0. In Great Britain, driving is punished if you exceed 0.8 per mil, in France 0.5 per mil, in Greece and Italy up to 0.5 per mil, and in the Czech Republic and Slovakia the result of the breathalyzer test should always be 0. Depending on how much you exceed the 0.2 per mil, the seats may be from 50 PLN to 5000 PLN, and if you exceed 0.5 per mil of alcohol in your blood, you may lose your driving license. You can find calculations on the internet about how much time it takes for your body to recover from a beer or a glass of wine, but it's better to avoid this risky math. If someone wants to count, the calculator is available in English HERE, and HERE in Polish. Depending on sex, age, health, weight, blood alcohol concentration may look different, i.e. a different blonde may have a different beer on the breathalyser, a young boy who weighs 120 kilograms will have a different result. It is safest just not to drink.
What does it look like for you? What surprised you in Poland and what should foreigners in Poland know to avoid trouble?