Polish Expat Living in Bolivia - Interview with Danuta Stawarz

Published: 22 Apr at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Bolivia
ART HISTORIAN by education, PHOTOGRAPHER with passion, TEACHER with experience, TRAVELLER with curiosity and BLOGGER by choice. Danuta Stawarz's expat blog is called Bolivia - In My Eyes (see listing here)


Here's the interview with Danuta Stawarz...

Where are you originally from?
I am from Poland.

In which country and city are you living now?
Currently I am living in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia.

How long have you lived in Bolivia and how long are you planning to stay?
I've been living here for almost 2 years and I think I will stay for 2 more. However, I am not making any plans!

Why did you move to Bolivia and what do you do?
I came to Bolivia with my partner (half-Inka), to experience his ancestors' country. What do I do? I enjoy my life, and in the meantime teach English, take photographs, travel, learn Spanish and miss my family and friends back in Europe!

Did you bring family with you?
My extended family:)

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Unfortunately, my first ‘face to face’ meeting with Bolivia was not the most pleasant, and willy-nilly, all the differences between the new country and Europe exaggerate enormously.

Fortunately, the first shock quickly changed into fascination – it turned out that Bolivia has many faces and one needs time to know them all!

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I was very lucky to meet a group of university students who first became my Spanish teachers and later my friends. We still keep in touch, even after I moved to another city. However, in Santa Cruz, we haven't managed to make profound friendship with any locals so far, getting however in touch with some fellow expats.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Bolivia is mainly known from the biggest salt desert in the world and the highest cities deep in the Andean mountains, but not many have a chance to explore the biggest part of the country - the tropics! If you wanna learn more about 'many faces of Bolivia', you are very welcome to visit my blog!

What do you enjoy most about living in Bolivia?
Fresh fruit and vegetables. Mostly sunny and warm weather. Breathtaking landscapes and nature. Beautiful architecture of old cities and interesting history of the country. Traditional dances. Wine. Country people. Chocolate and... SLOTHS!

How does the cost of living in Bolivia compare to home?
It depends what quality of living we are talking about? To live on the same level as back in Europe, one needs to spend a lot. The only difference is that you make less money than you would like to spend. Who would have thought?

Bolivia will sometimes break your heart...
Bolivia will sometimes break your heart...
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Bolivia?
You pay high price for something that is 'given' in Europe: education, health care, safety. It's also hard to accept ubiquitous bribing, bureaucracy, animal mistreating and 'laziness'.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Bolivia, what would it be?
Be prepared! And bring suitcase full of clothes, cosmetics and books:)

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Getting resident visa.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I left my country some time ago, so it would be like coming to a totally new place and starting everything from the beginning.

..but more often - make you happy!
..but more often - make you happy!
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. As I said before - be prepared! Bring suitcase full of clothes, cosmetics and books as these things are more expensive and harder to get than in your country (however, it depends where you live now:).
  2. Don't have any expectations and don't have prejudices - your experiences might be totally different than mine or someone elses.
  3. Look for positives - they will eventually overcome negatives.
  4. Travel a lot, eat well, drink some of the tasty Bolivian wine or beer, and enjoy your life!
  5. Stay safe!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I write my blog in Polish and English, to make it easier for my family and friends to follow. It's illustrated by many photographs that show my life & trouble in this far away country but also Bolivian culture, history, people, food, and all these wonderful places I've visited already and I am going to visit in near future:) Simply - Bolivia In My Eyes but also ears and belly;)

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can contact me through my blog: 'Bolivia In My Eyes' (which can also be found on facebook)!

About the author

Expat Blog ListingDanuta Stawarz is a Polish expat living in Bolivia. Blog description: 'Bolivia In My Eyes' is a blog in En/ Pl describing LIFE 'n' TROUBLE in this beautiful 'far away' country.
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