Preethi Nair, MBA student in Wroclaw
Cultural differences between India and Poland:
“A particular society at a particular time and place, the tastes in art and manners that are favoured by a social group, all the knowledge shared by the society can be considered as a culture.
If you arrive in India it just takes few minutes to understand what is wrong with the country, chaos everywhere and it takes few years to understand what is right about the country, however when you arrive in Poland it takes few minutes to understand what’s good with the country, calm and peaceful and it takes few years to understand what is wrong about the country.
This brief introduction sums up my personal experience with the two different cultures. No two cultures are the same, the Polish and Indian cultures have vast differentiation between them.
Religion and Language:
India has 22 official languages and many religions, now imagine moving from one province to other with in Poland and you need to learn the different language, this is something beyond imagination for Poles, since, almost whole of Poland speaks one language and follows one religion which sort of makes the system/society less complex, whereas in India system should adopt to many languages and religion society /system which in turn makes system/society more complex. However, most Indians speak English (In fact there are more Indians who speak English than anywhere else in the world), so you can get along pretty easily even though if you don’t know the local language, whereas if you do not know Polish in Poland it is not easy to get along.
I found one common ground between Polish and Indian cultures is their family relations. Indians are very much family oriented so as Poles. In Indian culture, the family values are given more prominence than the individual values. Indians may even forsake their individual wishes and also one’s happiness for the sake of families. All the decisions made will be centred around the family which i feel the same with Poles. However having said that, time, place tastes of society and exposure of other cultures is changing India fast, more and more Indians are leaning towards individual oriented where individual values are getting more prominence than the family values, which i felt the same with Poles. Grass is green on the other side of the fence.
Service versus Self Sufficient:
India is a service based culture in every way, you walk in to a store you can find people following you around to help you buy even little things, there is virtually nothing you need to do that you couldn’t hire someone to do, at a relatively low cost. This is possibly a legacy of the caste system which is deeply embedded in Indian culture, but most certainly a result of India’s two largest commodities, people (India’s has more than 1 billion people) and time. Where as in Poland Labour is expensive, people are more independent when compared to Indians, companies in Poland –from Biedronka to Costorama are about automation and helping people become more self sufficient.
Law and Order:
If you are driving in India, you can almost all Indians violate all the road laws including red lights and helmets on the contrary the same Indians are law abiding citizens when they are alien country, whereas, in Poland we find few people snubbing the road rules.
While judges are honoured members of society, a land dispute in India can last generations with no resolutions; Poland relies heavily on the law to settle disputes, you have to sign agreements for almost everything here in Poland. The one common factor between Poland and India is Bureaucratic and Red tape procedures.
Eating habits are entirely different, Indian food is full of spices and truly diversified as its culture, where as Polish food is bland and lacks variety. Generally, In India, people who are overweight are wealthy, In India, a box of cereal or a meal at KFC/McDonalds costs around 40 to 50 PLN where as a bag of carrots or yoghurt will cost me less than 2PLN, Water is served free in most of the restaurants across India, where as in Poland cola cost less than water, ready to eat snacks (chips/fried items) are cheaper than fresh fruits and vegetables. Drinking alcohol in front of your elders or family members is a taboo in India, whereas it socially acceptable in Poland, even law does not allow companies to advertise products related to alcohol and tobacco, where as it is allowed in Poland.
Street signs Versus Landmarks: In Poland, each street in a city is identified by unique name and for most part you can get in a cab and say where you’re going and usually get there. In India you almost always have to know where you are going and that also almost always involves landmarks as few streets are properly labelled, In India you can find streets by numbers like “1st cross, 2nd cross”. This may be bit different in more metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore but at rest of the places maps are useless.