About the Poles without the Poles

When visiting Warsaw we spent a couple of days as guests of a slovak-polish family. Marta, our host, comes from Slovakia and has been living in Warsaw for five years now. We could not resist to place her a couple of questions in order to find out, what is her point of view of the Poles and their country and whether it differs from what the rest of the Slovak population living in Slovakia thinks.

Vista Travellers: Slovaks typically relate many stereotypes to the Poles. Unfortunately, not all of them are very favourable. You have been living and working in Warsaw for five years now. You have had already the opportunity to experience the Poles in various situations. What do you think, in which points are the Slovaks right and in which wrong in their opinions about the Poles?
Marta: First of all I would like to mention that I also used to live and work in the Czech Republic and Austria before I moved to Poland. I therefore have plenty of experience with living abroad and coexistence with other nationalities. When it comes on the Poles, I think that our associations are outdated. Many Slovaks still associate the country with marketplaces where you can buy cheap but cannot expect high quality. Other not very flattering characteristics that Slovaks relate to the Poles concern alcohol drinking and stealing.
After spending five years in Poland without any hesitation I can decline all of those stereotypes and announce them untrue. Personally I have never experienced any situation that would confirm any of the above mentioned characteristics. Yes, the Poles really like to celebrate and they enjoy alcohol – just as all the other nations. By  now, I have never met any thief here (and I hope I will not anymore). In this regard I have gained more experience during the four years spent in the Czech Republic.
When it comes on quality, in Poland the polish products are generally considered to be of higher quality in comparison to the import. I can confirm that from my own experience. I exclusively buy polish products and I only can recommend them. Especially the clothing, cosmetics and groceries are of high quality. Also the Poles support the local production by buying it. I appreciate this approach and give them a big plus.

Vista Travellers: You have moved to Poland following your partner. How did you perceive the Poles before you moved here and what have changed in your opinions about them afterwards?
Marta: I have to admit that before I moved here I have very similar opinions related to the Poles as mentioned above. Today however I perceive the Poles as pride and ambitious nation. They are united and patriotic.

Vista Travellers: In your opinion, is there something the Slovaks could learn from the Poles and vice versa?
Marta: The Slovaks could definitely learn from the Poles how to be more sovereign. The Poles could learn from the Slovaks how to cook our traditional meal – potato dumplings with the sheep cheese. I am just kidding. The Poles and the Slovaks are in fact very similar. For sure there is something the Poles could learn from the Slovaks, I just cannot think of anything particular at the moment.

Vista Travellers: The Poles are much bigger patriots in comparison to the Slovaks. Why is it so in your opinion?
Marta: Indeed the Poles are very patriotic. I guess, it is partially caused by the fact that they are in comparison to the Slovaks a bigger nation. Their patriotism is at the moment also influenced and strongly supported by the government.

Vista Travellers: If you could transfer anything from Slovakia to Poland what would it be?
Marta: Our mountains.

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