AU PAIR CULTURE QUESTS
The following information is generalized and compiled from questions posed to the agents and interviewers in Poland. Although au pairs from this country may or may not have had these experiences/beliefs, Au Pair in America wishes to share this general information with our families.
Child Care Skills
- It is common for Polish people to take care of their siblings and cousins. It is considered natural that older children in the family take care of younger siblings
- Preparing meals from scratch for children is very common (often preferred to eating out).
- Polish families believe in the value of positive motivation. Techniques such as motivational charts, schedules and written house rules are favored.
- Two or more children per family are a common occurrence and a large family with three or more children is often the dream of many young couples.
- Children are taught responsibility by giving them light but regular tasks and duties from an early age.
- Poland is a very family-oriented country. It is common to visit other family members over holidays or weekends. For most parents, spending time outdoors and organizing sports activities is the idea of “quality time” spent with their children.
- English is taught at all levels of education, starting in kindergarten. It is a compulsory subject in every kind of school from 4th grade to graduation. English classes focus on oral and written skills.
- English-language movies and TV series are not dubbed in Poland (subtitles are used instead). As a result, Poles have everyday contact with spoken English when watching TV, going to the cinema or using the internet.
- The opportunity to improve their language skills during the Au Pair in America program is one of the reasons Polish applicants join the program – they humorously admit they’d like to “polish their English”.
- The minimum driving age in Poland is 18. Most applicants obtain their driving license at this age.
- The process of obtaining the license is at least 4-6 months long. Completing a full professional driving course is required before the candidate is allowed to take the exam.
- Polish drivers experience a variety of weather conditions, including rain, snow and ice.
- Education in Poland is free and compulsory until the age of 18.
- 89% of Poles complete at least upper secondary education, which is the highest result in the EU (alongside Czechs, Slovaks and Slovenes). 55% of young Poles complete university education (MA or BA degrees).
- Parents put a lot of focus on children’s education from a very young age. Children start to learn foreign languages very early and various additional courses (e.g. dancing, ballet, arts & crafts, sports, horse-riding) are added to the standard curriculum.
- Poland’s healthcare system is based on an all-inclusive insurance system. State subsidized healthcare is available to all Polish citizens who are covered by this general health insurance program.
- Regular medical check-ups are provided by schools at every stage of education.
- It is common to visit the dentist on a regular basis.
- Polish people describe themselves as hospitable, ambitious and resourceful.
- Poles have strong family ties.
- Tradition and culture are very important values for young Poles.
- Poland has exactly the same population and is almost the same size as California.
- Poland’s biggest city is… Chicago – the number of people of Polish origin is higher in Chicago’s metropolitan area than in Poland’s capital Warsaw!
- Poland is the most important bird breeding ground in Europe, as it hosts over one quarter of all migratory birds travelling to Europe for the summer.
- How are you? Jak się masz?
- Fine, thanks. Dobrze, dziękuję.
- My name is… Nazywam się…
- Nice to meet you! Miło Cię poznać!
- Thank you. Dziękuję.
“Go for it. Be positive and open. It has been one of the most important experiences in my life.” – Karolina, au pair from Poland
“I would say it is the most life changing adventure, worth every single minute spent discovering places, people and cultures; a beautiful journey into getting to know yourself and your priorities. So, no second thoughts – just make the first step!” – Dorota, au pair from Poland
“Just do it. It’s the best adventure.” – Paulina, au pair from Poland
“You can not beat the flexibility of the Au Pair program. My au pairs have been so great that my friends want to steal them and take them home!”
Catherine , host parent