6 September 2017

Danka Markiewicz - Expat in Italy

Danka Markiewicz - Expat in Italy

We’ve had the chance to talk to Danka Markiewicz, 39, a Polish expat who has moved to Italy with her family. Mrs. Markiewicz who has been living there for six years, now works as a writer. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I was raised in Poland.


Q: What made you move out of Poland?

A: I moved abroad because of my job. In Poland, I struggled to find employment and decided to try my luck in the UK, like many young graduates from my generation.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I live in southern Italy, my husband's home country.


Q: How long have you been living in Italy?

A: Six years.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I live with my family. My children have grown up in Italy, so the only one who is “adjusting” it's me. Think I'm doing quite well. Southern Italy it's not such a bad place to live!


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I do. I miss Poland, but believe that sometimes I'll be back for good!


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: Southern Italians are chatty and friendly. They would ask what you've had for lunch and believe that you should eat pasta every day.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Italy? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: We used to live in a small town at the beginning. The people would speak dialect there, they were not that keen to socialise with the strangers.  I have to say that I felt quite lonely, but then we moved to another place. It was even smaller, but also different. This time making friends was much easier! I socialise mainly with Italians – I haven't met many Polish in Basilicata and Puglia.


Q: How does the cost of living in Italy compare to your home?


  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 1€.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: About 20 euro more or less.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: I'm not going to fancy restaurants!

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: 5€.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Italy?

A: Not really!


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: I haven't worked in Italy. When it comes to Visa – there is no need to apply for EU citizen.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Italy is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: The healthcare system in Italy provides public healthcare free of charge. Think that standard hospital care is working well.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Poland or Italy?  What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: As I've said before, national health service provides universal coverage. EU nationals can use their European Health Insurance Card.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Italy? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I moved to Italy back in 2010. We lived in the UK at the moment, I worked with people with learning difficulties. The most memorable – and regrettable thing was quitting the job I liked very much.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Honestly, at the beginning, I felt like a fish out of water. I was missing my job, friends, and everything.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Italy?

A: My husband uses to say that in the UK we would be both expats. Italy is his home country, and it's also a good place to live. The weather is great!


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: There are many good things in Southern Italy! Nice food, beautiful beaches, lovely towns on the hills, friendly people...


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Think I would like to be back to Poland sometime in the future.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Foreign languages are not Italian's “forte” so it's better to learn Italian!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Italy?

A: I haven't found it yet!