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Joanna Figuła


My leaving for France was quite accidental, and I would never thought I would ever work here, especially without adequate knowledge of the French language and, in addition, in the medical environment. I came to Nancy (the city where I work in France) in February 2008. When I was leaving I had a fear arising – I still emphasize it – from the poor knowledge of French. I was worried if I could handle work involving contact with the patient, staff, or even with my employer.

I wasn’t looking - at least for some time – for a place to live, I concentrated on learning the language, preparing for work. Perhaps it resulted also from the fear that I wouldn’t be able to communicate with others or I would be misunderstood. With time, the place to live came spontaneously, independently, without any effort in seeking it, and with better French.

I think I've never been a patriot, maybe a local one, i.e. "Pcim" patriot. Yes, I miss Pcim. Its peace (though perhaps not the proximity of Zakopianka), proximity to the mountains and Krakow. And as Jan Kochanowski wrote "the peaceful village, the cheerful village ...". I am quite often in Poland. This is another big advantage of my leaving - that France is on the same continent, and I have only two-hour flight from Paris to Krakow. I am four times a year at home, and being here in France most often I contact my family via the Internet. It is yet another advantage, because thanks to the technology we have now I am in touch with them more frequently than before the departure.

I think the biggest success of my departure, above all, is that I learned the French language! Probably I would never have undertaken to learn it, but for this trip. The discovery of a different society, mentality (though it is still one and the same Europe), the character of work, a taste of the French cuisine, reality, a touch of France from the inside, is yet another positive experience.

I think that the phenomenon of emigration, like most situations in life, has positive and negative aspects. In its assessment the age of the emigrant should be taken into account, because the older we get, the harder it is for us to change anything. Even the change of life is probably a big jump. You have to consider if someone left with the family or alone, and if they went with knowledge of the target country, in what profession they worked abroad, etc.

The first day at work was for me, above all, a large dose of stress, the great unknown what I would encounter there. I mean here my first day in the hospital and the first day of confrontation with patients and the team that I was supposed to work with.