Poland - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
Exercise normal precautions in Poland.
Poland is one of the largest countries in Eastern Europe and has the largest market for English teachers in all of Europe. The busy season for hiring usually begins in September and October, although there is some hiring year-round.
Poland is an ancient nation that was conceived near the middle of the 10th century. Its golden age occurred in the 16th century. During the following century, the strengthening of the gentry and internal disorders weakened the nation. In a series of agreements between 1772 and 1795, Russia, Prussia, and Austria partitioned Poland amongst themselves. Poland regained its independence in 1918 only to be overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in World War II. It became a Soviet satellite state following the war, but its government was comparatively tolerant and progressive. Labor turmoil in 1980 led to the formation of the independent trade union "Solidarity" that over time became a political force and by 1990 had swept parliamentary elections and the presidency. A "shock therapy" program during the early 1990s enabled the country to transform its economy into one of the most robust in Central Europe, but Poland still faces the lingering challenges of high unemployment, underdeveloped and dilapidated infrastructure, and a poor rural underclass. Solidarity suffered a major defeat in the 2001 parliamentary elections when it failed to elect a single deputy to the lower house of Parliament, and the new leaders of the Solidarity Trade Union subsequently pledged to reduce the Trade Union's political role. Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004. With its transformation to a democratic, market-oriented country largely completed, Poland is an increasingly active member of Euro-Atlantic organizations.
Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is bordered by Germany to the west, the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south, Ukraine and Belarus to the east, and the Baltic Sea, Lithuania, and Russia (in the form of the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave) to the north. Poland shares a maritime border with Denmark and Sweden in the Baltic Sea. Since May 1, 2004, the republic has been a member state of the European Union.
A Polish state was formed more than 1,000 years ago and reached its golden age near the end of the 16th century under the Jagiellonian dynasty, when Poland was one of the largest, wealthiest, and most powerful countries in Europe. At that time, Poland had one of the world's largest and most vibrant Jewish communities. In 1791 the Sejm of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth adopted the Constitution of May 3, Europe's first modern codified constitution, and the second in the world after the Constitution of the United States. Soon afterwards, the country ceased to exist after being partitioned by its neighbours Russia, Austria, and Prussia. It regained independence in 1918 in the aftermath of the First World War as the Second Polish Republic. Following the Second World War it became a communist satellite state of the Soviet Union known as the People's Republic of Poland. In 1989 the first partially-free elections in Poland's post-World War II history concluded the Solidarity (Solidarnos'c') movement's struggle for freedom and resulted in the defeat of Poland's communist rulers. The current Third Polish Republic was established, followed a few years later by the drafting of a new constitution in 1997. In 1999 Poland acceded to NATO, and in 2004 it joined the European Union.
Officially the country is known as Republic of Poland, in Polish Rzeczpospolita Polska. The word Rzeczpospolita is the historic name that has been used continuously since the 16th century during the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which was an elective monarchy. The term Rzeczpospolita can mean "commonwealth" or also "republic" (there are two Polish translations for the English term "republic": republika and rzeczpospolita; the second one nowadays is used only with reference to Poland, e.g. Republika Czeska - Czech Republic, Republika Francuska - French Republic, etc.) During communist rule from 1952 to 1989 the country's official name was the People's Republic of Poland (Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa), which was the only break in the official historical designation.
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