Thinking about it, I am kind of suprised that life made an expat out of me.
After finishing high school, I worked in the German media sector for several years. Since I had not visited a university, like most of my peers, I started to feel sort of uneducated after a while, which was, next to a feeling of unfullfillment in my job, one of the main reasons, why I quit working and started doing my Bachelor in Political Sience. My university offered a course about potitical transformations from authoritatian regimes to democratic systems. Naturally, Poland and many other countries from middle- and eastern Europe where examples we read about and discussed in class. That was the first time in my life that I truly realized, how diverse this area and its history is. Up to this point, being an ignorant smartass, I assumed that everything to the east of Germany is more or less like Russia. I grew a particular interest for Poland, since back in High School we had a couple of people with Polish roots in our class and I sometimes hang out with them. I guess you might say, that due to that experience Poland felt sort of closer than other countries from the MOE region.
Most of my friends from high school had joined the Erasmus program and judging from their stories, it seemed to be a lot of fun. My university offered Erasmus exchange programs with the universities in Krakow. Poland sounded way more interesting than Italy or France, where most of my fellow students went. I decided to apply and got accepted immideatly accepted. Most programs that try to bring German people to Poland are still not that popular. That is of course sad from a general point of view, but for me it was great, since there was not much fuzzing around with letters of motivation, interviews and what not.
Krakow is a great city, however my start was a bit bumpy. I was missinformed, when classes would start and missed the first one or two weeks. I got a place in a two-bedroom dormitory room from the university. My roommate was nice but a bit smelly. I did not speak any Polish and tried to visit a language class, however the teacher was an old lady, who did not really care. I quickly fell into the Erasmus trap, meaning that I mostly hang out with other Erasmus students. On the plus side I can say that I had a great time and due to some trips to other citys like Warsaw, Wroclaw and Gdansk, my interest in Poland grew.
After returning to Germany, it was clear that I wanted to get to know more about Poland, while avoiding mistakes I did during my first stay. I joint a Master program, that taught Political Science but with a heavy focus on Poland. Best decision of my professional life so far. The program taught some great insides with dedicated teachers. Language classes were offered and had a very good quality. It also included a semester abroad. I had the pleasure to join a semester-long intensive language class in Krakow, which really helped me with my Polish. Since the end of my studies was on the horizon I also started to look around for a Polish-German work environment, where I could start working after getting my Masters-degree. I did not want to do anything culture-related. I am neither a big reader nor do I go to plays or other cultural events. The sector also seemed too unstable for me in this modern market-driven society.
I got accepted as an intern in a consultancy agency, which is where I also started working after finishing my Masters and where I am still working today. I am still very fond of Poland, however I do not think, that I will stay here forever. I cannot deny that the political climate is bothering me sometimes. I am living in Warsaw, so in general everything feels very openminded and tolerant, but there is maybe no week passing by, where I ask myself, why do people here react to certain events the way they do. I also cannot deny that I do miss my friends and family back home. When I was studying, this had never been an issue for me. Maybe, because studying has sort of a fixed date when it is supposed to end. Since I do not have a wife or kids, moving somewhere else is still a relativley easy option for me.