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Krakow's mini-boom in IT attracts Polish and foreign techies

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In reporting for The Christian Science Monitor’s “brain gain” project, I met a cluster of young and bright reverse migrants here in a translucent glass-and-steel tech-park. Recent-hires at the British firm Element14, an online interface provider for electronic parts sales, they are part of the vanguard of Poland’s brain gain. Their profiles tell as much about this city’s bright future as the vibrant draw it is at the moment.

Jaroslaw Grabon, a software engineer, was born in Poland, but his family moved to Germany. Now, in an admittedly “wrenching” decision, he’s come back to Krakow, leaving a flat and friends in Munich. He says he got a call from a Krakow headhunter for Shell, and decided, out of curiosity and interest in the country, to move back.

“I felt better in Poland than Germany in ways I can’t easily explain, but it was a big decision. I left the whole family. I sent out 120 CVs and got 80 positive replies. Gdansk was a possibility but I decided on Shell. Then moved here [to Element14].”

Alessandro Lombardi couldn’t get work in his native Italy – but, here, he’s wired-in.

Tomasz Wasilewski worked in Warsaw for a Silicon Valley firm that employed many people like him, offspring of émigré Poles who went abroad earlier. But he was sold on Krakow and moved here, partly because of the Krakow buzz and partly for the experience.

A young Finnish woman, Marianne Kuukkanen, arrived this year and says that the city’s multicultural environment requires looking “more closely at oneself, and I think this has made me more efficient and aware at my job and with others.”

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