Anyone who has ever moved countries, be it for a job, for school, or for any other reason, will tell you that the whole process can be hard, stressful, and riddled with unforeseen issues. Knowing that, at Ten Square Games, we do our best to help our new employees move and settle in. Here are the stories of five of our team members and their move to Poland.
Francis Leo Tabios, our Argonauts studio’s Creative Director, comes from Milan, Italy. He’s been living in Warsaw for the past two years. His move was the simplest to execute from a technical perspective, as being an EU citizen, the formalities were limited.
“All in all, my relocation took around a few weeks; most of that time was spent looking for an apartment in Warsaw.” Francis tells us.
The story isn’t quite the same for Pedro Silva, a 3D Artist in the Undead Clash team. Pedro comes from the Northeast Region in Brazil, nearly nine thousand kilometers away from his new home in Wrocław, where he’s been living with his wife and three cats for the past seven months.
“The technical side of our relocation was pretty hard, especially the paperwork involved with moving pets across the border.” Pedro tells us, “the whole process took around six months. I was working remotely, and my colleagues kept asking me “when are you coming?”, and I kept answering “no idea!” he laughs.
Mykhailo (3D Character Artist) and Natalia Shutiak (Marketing Creative Producer), a couple from Ukraine working at TSG, had a similar experience moving to Wrocław a year and a half ago.
“It took us six months to get all the paperwork sorted for both us and the cat.” Natalia explains.
“In that time, we managed to get our driver’s licenses and get married.” Mykhailo adds, laughing.
Finally, Miloš Doroški, Senior Game Designer in the Hunting Clash Team, who moved to Wrocław from Novy Sad in Serbia almost exactly a year ago, can definitely relate to waiting, although it didn’t take him quite as long. “I decided to leave my cat with my mother in Serbia, and moving alone, it took a couple of months to get the whole thing sorted.”
At TSG, we know moving is stressful; that’s why we offer new #TeamTSG members relocation assistance of varying degrees. Since Francis is an EU citizen, his relocation was by far the simplest, given there was little bureaucracy involved, and the logistics were the most important part. “TSG sent me a lot of information about Poland, Warsaw, the culture, etc. When I arrived, HR, Payroll, and the Office Teams did a great job helping me with all the documentation and technical stuff needed.” Francis says.
For Pedro, Milos, Natalia, and Mykhailo, our HR, Payroll, and Office teams had to step up to the challenge of helping them with visas and making the bureaucratic process less intimidating.
“TSG was very helpful in the relocation; when I started off, I was talking to HR and the recruitment team, and they set up everything, told me where to go, what to do. I want to give a shoutout to our Office Manager Albina, because without her, it would be impossible; she basically took my hand and showed me what to do, whether it be the bank, getting an apartment, or a SIM card. Talking to other expats, they all have a similar experience – nothing but kind words.” Miloš explains.
“Yeah! Paulina, Ola, and Albina handled a lot of the documentation; the company hired a visa specialist, and I got virtual tours of apartments; the process was very good, especially given that a lot of Brazilians in Europe told me other companies often only take care of the work permit, and leave the rest to you.” Pedro adds.
We also help newly relocated folks with financial support to help cover the expenses associated with moving. We want to ensure every relocated team member is taken care of and can get acclimated as fast as possible.
Since Poland isn’t the most popular tourist destination or an iconic pop cultural country, foreigners coming into Warsaw or Wrocław can have varying expectations, so we asked our heroes how they stacked up against reality.
“Before I moved, my dad told me that he lived in Wrocław as a part of a student exchange and said it’s a beautiful city.” Miloš tells us, “and he was totally right. I was really impressed by how vibrant Wrocław and other cities I visited, like Warsaw, Cracow, and Poznań, are, especially in the summertime. Every week there’s something new happening, like an awesome jazz festival. There’s always something new to explore.”
The Vertigo Summer Jazz Festival takes place every July in Wrocław, giving 31 shows in various venues around town including parks, rooftops and cafes.
“I love Brazilian food, and my biggest concern was that Polish food wouldn’t stack up. Fortunately, it’s absolutely amazing” Pedro laughs “ Everyone told me to try pierogi, and I loved the ones from Żabka (a Polish convenience store chain). Then I was told, I should try them from a restaurant, and it was even better.”
Fun fact: Żabka’s have become a staple of Polish pop culture, due to the franchise’s omnipresence in cities, a big offer of reheatable food, and a frog logo which earned it the English monicker of “froggy shop.”
“For me, the biggest surprise was how much Poland developed compared to what I heard about it before.” Mykhailo adds, “The first time I came to Poland in 2018, I was surprised by how nice the roads were, and how good the infrastructure was. That’s when I first thought, ‘huh, maybe someday I’ll move to Poland.’ And here we are now,” he laughs.
“When I first came to Poland, I definitely had a different picture of it in my head,” Francis says, “and I definitely didn’t expect Warsaw to be the modern cosmopolitan city that it is.”
Those observations are extremely accurate, by the way. Ever since Poland joined the European Union in 2004, it has been growing rapidly, averaging a GDP growth rate of 4% per year, with new infrastructure popping up almost constantly.
We also asked about specific places our interviewees love to visit.
“In Warsaw, I love all the big parks; they’re really green and pleasant to spend time in. In Wrocław, I adore walking along the city’s canals after dark, with all the lights making that area really pretty.” Francis says.
Wrocław by night is definitely stunning!
And Francis has a lot of parks and canals to choose from! According to the European Environmental Agency, Warsaw is actually one of the top 10 capitals in Europe when it comes to urban tree cover. While Wrocław has 13 canals, crossable by a whopping 118 bridges, a Polish record, making both cities hosting TSG studios unique in their own rights.
Francis isn’t the only person loving the unique cityscape of Wrocław
“We really like the area around the Wrocław University of Science and Technology behind the Grunwald Bridge, as well as the Zoo and surrounding beach bars. Finally, Ostrów Tumski is beautiful with the cathedral and surrounding area.” Natalia explains.
In fact, our Summer Party took place in one of those beach bars!
The Wrocław Zoo is actually the largest zoo in Poland, and the third-largest in the world in terms of the number of species housed in the garden. Definitely worth a visit if you’re ever around! Also worth a visit?
The Old Town Square (Rynek). “It has so many awesome restaurants with amazing service, and it’s just beautiful.” Pedro answers.
The Rynek is also home to Miloš’ favorite place in Wrocław, the Vinyl Cafe.
“It has an awesome atmosphere, you can queue up vinyl records to listen to, which I adore as a vinyl collector, and I absolutely love spending time there.” he explains.
Now that we know their favorite places, one last question stood ahead of our heroes, that is, what do they love the most about Poland. We got some really interesting answers that got us thinking about what we love about it as well.
“I love how safe I feel. I love the fact that I can go to a restaurant and walk home with my wife, not worried about, I don’t know, having my iPad stolen or anything like that. It’s a huge thing for me.” Pedro answers.
He is correct in that – Poland is the 7th safest country in the EU according to Eurostat, with a crime rate 2x lower than the European average.
Safety of a different kind is also important for the Shutiaks.
“I love the convenience of Wrocław, especially the bike roads which we use a lot in the summer. We can get basically anywhere in 20-30 minutes.” Mykhailo says.
“Yeah, and there are a lot of places you can just chill in, away from the crowd.” Natalia adds.
Wrocław is a bike-friendly city with over 260 kilometers of safe bike roads in the city limits, allowing you to commute and explore using two wheels.
Our team actually tested out some of the bike roads when we participated in the FRRuuu Company Bike Race!
Speaking of exploring, Poland is a big and diverse country, a fact that Miloš recognizes.
“There are a lot of places to explore, and I keep getting recommendations, like for the seaside, for the Wieliczka salt mine. I love experiencing cultures and learning new things, and I can definitely do that here.” he explains.
That’s true. From the Tatry mountains in the south to the Baltic coast and Masurian Lake District in the north, there’s a lot to discover about Poland, which is also made convenient by modern roads and a constantly developing railway system.
Finally, Francis’ favorite aspect of Poland is a straightforward one
“It’s a mix of a lot of things, but I’m going to have to be honest; it’s the food. I love żurek and pierogi ruskie,” he answers.
For context, żurek is a soup made out of soured rye, while pierogi ruskie are dumplings filled with cottage cheese and potatoes, both being staples of Polish cuisine.
If you’re not into it, though, don’t worry. Poland is filled with diverse food offerings, and if you’re into plant-based meals, Warsaw has been ranked the second-most vegan-friendly city in Europe, only trailing Berlin. So whether you’re into pierogi, żurek, and kiełbasa, or you adore vegan pad thais, you’re sure to find something to suit your fancy in Poland.
In our travels outside Poland, we’ve heard many stereotypes about our country, ranging from polar bears walking the street to the roads being filled with 50-year-old broken-down Soviet cars. We’re glad we could’ve shown Francis, Pedro, Miloš, Natalia, and Mykhailo that is far from the truth.
Their stories are just a few of many. With 16 relocations from abroad and 9 moves within Poland in 2022, many people from all around the world have discovered Poland through Ten Square Games. Will you #DareToExplore Poland with us? Check out our Careers page!
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