I have spent a considerable amount of time in these locations to share my opinion with you but, it’s still an opinion! One country is known for its revolutionary history while the other is known for its natural beauty. Both the places obviously have similarities and differences and comparisons can be easily drawn, I would share some of the observations made during my expat life in these two countries. I am an IT Consultant who lived in Switzerland before moving to Poland.
Poland has progressed substantially in the last decade and many global companies now have their office in the cities of Warsaw and Wroclaw. The expat population has risen exponentially boosting the economic growth and making it more international. With support from the EU (which some neighboring countries are still jealous about), the standard of living and lifestyle has been visibly influenced. Switzerland has been independent for 350+ years. This time frame is good enough for any country to become a developed nation. Living in Switzerland is like a dream for many expats like me who may have known this country only through some of their famous regional movies. It still remains a dream destination for many Asian couples (even if it means shelling years of savings). Switzerland by any standards is one of the most expensive places in Europe, in many places you have to spend 5 Zloty to even use a public toilet if your muscles can’t hold it long enough 😉 Because of the minimum wage policy, an expat can save a lump sum amount but the irony is it takes back 40% of it by luring you to visit it’s natural beauty and breath-taking views from mountains like Jungfrau or Pilatus. It’s irresistible!
Let me talk about something delicious. The Swiss cheese is truly loved by locals and expats but for majority of other foods, preference is salt and pepper over various possible spices. Even the Asian and African restaurants would serve food as per the local demand, but off course they would vary it if you request. In Poland, herbs and spices dominate the taste buds of locals and tourists. The food tastes wonderful and affordable enough to eat out even twice a week! The Swiss food minus the cheese varieties was bland, especially for my wife. It went to an extent that I had to take her to London to taste her favorite dishes during pregnancy and it was a successful trip covering 15 restaurants and some sight-seeing on our way from one restaurant to another(seriously!). Funny part is, if I was in Poland that time, I could have saved 2000 Pounds with so many places in Wroclaw alone to please the taste buds.
English is not the official language in both the countries. There is a cold hatred for it but unfortunately (or luckily) most of the administrative documents, food chains, public transport apps, Facebook events etc. now have an English version to ensure the foreigners don’t leave the land 🙂 To gel well in the country, learning the local language would always be a good move for any expat. Please note that German and Polish are still easier than learning Chinese or Sanskrit.
Another aspect is the fashion sense in these countries where undoubtedly Polish ladies and men have an edge. Summers are very fashionable in Poland. Some of my Swiss colleagues regret not being in Poland during their youth days. Wroclaw has a much lower average age because of the young working population and students. I personally liked the fashion sense in Switzerland which resonates with the idea of ‘simple living and high thinking’. There is high fashion sense in both countries, but not everyone can afford the coolest fashion in Switzerland.
Switzerland is known for its discipline and precision also. Heavy fines for speeding are very common and can be as high as 1000 Zloty for crossing a ‘yellow light turning red’. The administrative work is fast and you can expect deliverables in the promised time-frame. If you move to Poland from any other country, hopefully you can still accept the timelines here, but when moving from Switzerland, it can come as a surprise. Within the next 5 years, we can expect a significant improvement in the administrative and medical services here, fingers crossed! When everything is not perfect, there is an attitude of helping each other and caring for others; which is widely visible in Poland and its inhabitants. This attitude increases belongingness and is the basis of a strong nation. One may think about having a better salary but you have to earn for a few years in Switzerland to conclude that money is not the answer for your happiness! You may be at the best place on the Globe yet feel miserable or you may decide to stay in a small village and live the most wonderful life. I would end with a note that create your own bubble of happiness wherever you are and this expat life would be worth living!