February 2017

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Page 72 of 85 | Mobility 65 A long the coastline of the Baltic Sea in northeastern Europe lies Poland, a country with a varied land- scape that includes beautiful beaches, glacial lakes and mountains, and much more. An extensive flat- land, known locally as the Polish Plain, covers most of the northern and central portions of the country. The southern area of Poland is mountainous, with a sandy region known as the Blędów Desert. The country's climate is generally considered to be temperate due to its geographical position. It has four distinct seasons, with bitterly cold winters and relatively hot, humid, and rainy summers. Poland stands as a buffer between Germany and Russia, two great adversaries in European history, and its geography has played a significant role in the formation of the Polish psyche. The Polish people have had to fight for their sovereignty time and time again as Germany moved east against Russia, and as Russia moved west against Germany. As part of their struggle, they have formed close alliances with nearby countries—Lithuania, Ukraine, and Sweden—sometimes being protected by them, at other times being absorbed. Yet Polish culture has remained unique. Polish people tend to speak softly, slowly, and calmly. It is consid - ered disrespectful and immature to raise one's voice, and it is espe- cially important for women that they not appear loud or assertive. All individuals are expected to maintain decorum in public; loud, disruptive behavior, even boisterous laughter, is considered rude. The handshake is common in greetings, and the Polish handshake is like the German one: a firm grip with several quick shakes, though not as robustly between men and women, or women and women. Eye contact during the introduction is very important, and as long as one is being addressed, that person is expected to maintain eye contact. DESTINATION PROFILE: POLAND A soft-spoken, family-oriented culture in northeastern Europe By Raluca Pandele and Andrew Scott

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