Expat in Europe – Jess – #EXPATWISDOM

Expat Wisdom

January 18, 2020

This week’s post is another in my Expat Wisdom series. If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that each month I share the story of one expat in the hope of building a close-knit online community. This month I’m sharing the story of Jess, a Canadian expat living in Poland; read on for some of her expat wisdom!

Hi, I’m Jess! I’m a Canadian expat currently living in Poland with my fiancé. Our expat lifestyle began three years ago when my fiancé, Jason, decided to play professional hockey in Europe. A basic professional hockey contract lasts about 9 months from August to April, which means we live in another country for this period of time learning about different cultures and trying to adapt. 


Jason and I were so excited to spend our first year in Europe and see what this lifestyle would be like. He played his first two years of hockey in a small town in the French alps called Briancon. I work in digital marketing and have been lucky enough to continue working remotely with my Canadian clients. We loved learning about the European lifestyle in our first two years, and because we spoke french it was a lot easier to adapt to the culture and lifestyle. 

This is our third year living in Europe and this hockey season Jason signed with a team in Nowy Targ, Poland. This polish city is located about an hour and a half from Krakow, Poland, which is a beautiful hub city. When we first arrived in Nowy Targ we noticed that not a lot of people in the city spoke English. We found the language barrier made it a little harder to adjust because Polish is a very hard language to pick up. Although there was an adjustment period this year, we found our bearings after a few weeks and feel comfortable in this city now. 


Living as an expat can definitely be hard the first time around, but after a while, you become accustomed to the lifestyle and pick up tips along the way. Here are a few tips I always share with new expats:

  1. Learn the basics of the city’s language. Knowing how to say hi, bye, thank you, please, excuse me can really help you in the long run. It also makes it look like you’re trying and want to learn a new language, people always appreciate that!
  2. Take on a hobby or get a part-time job. I find it can get really boring if you have nothing to do with your days. Filling them with activities or work really helps you enjoy your surroundings more. 
  3. Walking through a city is the best way to explore and find hidden gems. Yes, you can search online for the best parts of a city, but finding them yourself is a lot more fun. It also allows you to find places that might never be mentioned online – these are the best finds!

The expat lifestyle is so much fun and an exciting time, I recommend everyone try it out for a short period of time or a long one. It can change the way you look at different cultures and cities. I’ve fallen in love with so many European cities already, and my must-see travel list just keeps on growing!


I hope you were able to connect and learn something from Jess’s story! As always, if you’re interested in being next month’s feature you can find more information about the Expat Wisdom project here!

See you next week


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