I’m really very intrigued indeed by what’s being termed Poland’s “Brain Gain”. It’s not the fact large numbers of Poles, no doubt discouraged by the crisis in Western Europe, are returning home to one of the few EU member states still progressing economically (though despite 13% growth in the last 5 years, worth pointing out that Poland still faces major economic hurdles, and the number returning is not huge). It’s more that these returning Poles apparently find it difficult to readjust to Polish living conditions. Examples range from customer service to social attitudes to the conditions of the toilets! – though at the same time it’s precisely this intolerance with such practices that is helping to change them. This is of great interest to me because – as well as describing all that is good about Poland in my book Polska Dotty – I also address its challenges including precisely social issues, and yes, even sanitary conditions. So, I tackle the contradiction that women’s rights are severely under-represented in a country that so reveres the Virgin Mary; and, that attitudes to minorities are not always as enlightened as they should be in an almost monoracial and monoreligious country. I devote an entire chapter to Customer Service, something that I admit boiled my blood at times when I lived in Poland. In the past I found Poles abroad a receptive audience to such observation – they didn’t have to agree with everything I said but there was a willingness to debate and, in fact, often agree because they’d lived abroad themselves for so long they’d really assimilated into a foreign culture. Some of our UK-based Polish friends find returning to what they see as parochial Polish attitudes gives them a headache, and after a trip to Poland can’t wait to get back to UK (not without its own challenges, but maybe of a different sort). My fascination will be if this Polish Brain Gain dramatically widens the number of those Poles – traditionally a proud people – in situ and wishing to take a fresh look at their country. For whom, in essence, as it does for all of us, travel broadens the mind. So whilst in a selfish way I’m sorry to hear that an increasing number of the 2 million Poles who came mostly to UK and Ireland are returning home – I like to hear Polish voices and notice the positive impact Poles have on our society – I still say roll on the Brain Gain and may it diversify Poland in the tradition of Polonia.