Expat Voices: Lidia Konar on living in Aberdeen
Communication student Lidia Konar compares life in the UK with life in her native Poland.
Name: Lidia Konar
City of residence: Aberdeen
Date of birth: 1980
Civil status: Single
Occupation: Currently a full-time student in Communication with Media but I am also a teacher, singer, writer and…cook.
Lived in the UK for: 5 years
Reasons for moving to the UK:
- Unemployment - A few years ago when I graduated from my university and from State Music School in Lublin, Poland, I realized there were not many options for me for getting a job. I mean, I was struggling to find a job relevant to my qualifications. At that time, I had a part time job as a choir singer in The Music Theatre, but it wasn’t enough to live on.
- Curiosity about the UK – Basically, I wanted to see how people live there, what their culture and customs are like.
What was your first impression of the UK?
Well, I was quite surprised by people wearing t-shirts in the streets in November and 'X' crossing system. I wondered how people could cross the road and go in every possible direction, as in Poland I used to wait civilly for the next and next green lights.
What do you think of the food?
British cuisine is very specific and very different from the Polish one. I don’t like a traditional British dish which is fish and chips, but I love Scotch broth and a wide selection of seafood and Irn-Bru.
What do you think of the shopping in the UK?
Shopping in the UK seems to be one of most important values of its culture. I mean, some people are crazy about shopping; that is why shops are always full of buyers buying gadgets, and other unnecessary things. I find it funny and sometimes stressful.
What do you appreciate about living in the UK?
I like British tolerance and their good manners. Also, I like their easygoing nature.
What do you find most frustrating about living in the UK?
I don’t like slow crowds, as I’m always in a hurry. So it can make me frustrated when I try to get through a multitude in the streets, who seem to enjoy their slowness.
Lidia Konar is hugely passionate about writing, reading, watching good movies and analysing sounds around her. Her focus is on everything she is surrounded by, so she shares ‘philosophical’ reflections on culture, music, film, poetry, and politics and so on. Visit her blog A barrel of words.
What puzzles you about the UK and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
I would say, right now nothing puzzles me here. But I really miss Polish summers and my mountains, where I spent more than half of my life.
How does the quality of life in the UK compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
The quality of life in the UK is quite good. I mean, you don’t need much money to survive here. However, I’m not very happy about NHS services, as in Poland they are very good.
If you could change anything about the UK, what would it be?
I don’t know. It’s a different culture, different people, so why would I want to change it? Multiculturalism is nice.
What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Don’t be afraid to ask local people questions, as they are really helpful and nice.
Lidia Konar / LB / Expatica
Irn-bru photo by Tak / Flickr
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