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Wiktoria, Ukraine, 21 years old

I was born in Drohobych where I went to primary and secondary school and where I started studying economics. I was also a volunteer in Caritas, working with orphans and children from alcoholic families.

One day I found out about an opportunity to work as a volunteer in Poland. I decided to go. It wasn’t an easy decision to take – I was supposed to go for one year but I’d never left my home town for a long time before. What’s more, it turned out that to go would mean to give up studies because they wouldn’t let me take a year off at the university. I took my chance. I quit my studies and went to Poland.

In the beginning I worked as a volunteer in One World Association and Volunteer Centre. After one year I decided to stay and finish my studies here, in Poznan. I wanted to study at the Poznan University of Economics. It turned out to be quite complicated – I had to collect a number of different documents. I’ve made my decision in February but it took me four months to get and translate all the papers. I enjoy living in Poland but I have to admit that I would also like to go somewhere else, somewhere even further from home. I’m not sure if Poland is the country I would like to spend my whole life in. Paper work you have to do here is terrible. Arranging the simplest things takes so many official documents! I’m applying for permanent residence now and believe me, it’s not the easiest thing to do. As a foreigner it’s really hard for me to get over all these problems with formal papers. I cannot go to Western Europe, it’s difficult to register to a doctor here.

During my voluntary work I was given support from the EU, but since last October I’m supporting myself with some help from my parents. As a foreigner I have to pay for my studies. Economics is relatively expensive, so now I also work in a hotel.

I can’t say I had many problems with the language. Ukrainian is quite similar to Polish, besides, when I was a little girl, I used to watch Polish TV (especially cartoons for children) and that’s how I learned Polish.

The decision to come to Poland was very spontaneous so I didn’t really have time to think what it would be like here. It was very hard for me and I missed home very much in the beginning. I was writing text messages to my family everyday and crying a lot. I wanted to go back. It took me about a month before I started feeling better. I settled in, met new people. Few months later I already felt like home here. I still missed my family, of course, especially during Christmas time, but the feeling is not that distressing anymore.


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