When cash lies on the field

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Five times the wage: that's how much Bartosz earns when he's in Luxembourg. The 23-year-old Pole actually wants to study, and seasonal work should soon open university doors. For him and many others, field work abroad is nothing unusual, because in the ‘third Poland’ personal dreams come far behind financial security.

“My parents always tried to help me as much as they could, but I knew early on that nobody would give me anything if I didn’t work for it myself.” A childhood like Bartosz Wójcicki’s is familiar to many young men and women from Poland. Growing up in the Third Polish Republic meant getting along with very little. “Life in my country has always been difficult. Either you lived like a king or like nothing”, says the 23-year-old, who came to Luxembourg for the first time in October to earn some extra money as a seasonal worker. Despite financial constraints, Bartosz fondly remembers his childhood, because the opening to the West also opened up uncharted paths. “We didn’t have much, but there was always something new to discover”. He knows enough stories from his parents’ lives, but politically the couple did not want to influence their children too much. “My father hates communism. He even had to go to prison once for three months with his brother because he was active in an anti-communist party. But he never wanted to teach us these things.”

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The culture of not yet knowing