Good morning, guys! So today we are hearing from Agnieszka, a (former) Polish au pair in the USA. Agnieszka has a bit of an unusual situation, as she and her host dad fell in love and got married! They still live in Atlanta, Georgia, where she is a step-mother, blogger and wife.
I really enjoyed interviewing Agnieszka as her story is different than any other au pair story I’ve ever heard. Take it away, Agnieszka!
Country of origin: Poland
Age at time of au pairing: 21 when I started
Salary: $195.75 a week
Location: Sharpsburg, GA
Length of stay: AP program – 2 years (extended with the same family)
Welcome, Agnieszka! So how did you find your family in the U.S.? Through a website, friends, etc.
I learned about the whole Au Pair programs from one of my friends who watched some video on YouTube. After several months I joined a Polish au pair agency and then they sent me to an American one – AuPairCare. I found a family through AuPairCare, or I should say – the family found me because au pairs can’t search, they just have to wait.
What is the town like where you live?
I live in a very small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia, with easy-going, relaxed, happy and friendly people. Even though I can’t walk anywhere further than my neighborhood because we don’t have any sidewalks in here, I’m close to pretty much everything I need when I use a car (shops, dance school, etc.) and even more (rivers, lakes, mountains, ocean). I’m surrounded by trees and animals and I love it.
Also, they record The Walking Dead in my area which is cool too because I’m a fan of this TV series.
What kind of visa were you on?
What was your relationship with the family like initially?
They greeted me very warmly right after I arrived. They wanted to help me with everything, they were driving me around to show me places, they were talking about the way their lives go… I came to a single father with one girl who was 4.5 at that time and her grandmother was living with us too for the first year. I felt very good with them, very comfortable and welcomed.
Did you live with the family or did you have your own apartment?
I’ve been living with the family from the beginning.
What duties did you have at the beginning? Did you cook for the family?
I played with Alicia, cooked for her, etc. I didn’t have to do any housework but since I was living with them and they were my new family, I obviously did stuff as well.
How do you entertain/educate the girl you take care of who is now your step-daughter?
My little girl loves drawing, painting and making things out of a paper. She knows how to entertain everyone around :-) If I didn’t have ideas, then she had some. If none of us had any, we’d do our own things for some time.
Did you take English classes when you first got to the states? And did you have any trouble understanding American English at first?
I didn’t have any problems understanding people talking to me but I was a little bit afraid of speaking because I didn’t have many opportunities to talk in English back in Poland. Since I’ve been around only Americans from the beginning, I caught onto the language very quickly. I didn’t take any English classes; I took classes about American history and culture.
Are there any cultural barriers you have noticed?
There’s a lot of differences between the US and Poland but things in America are better for me so it was easy and I passed all the barriers immediately. I didn’t have any problems with adjusting to a new environment.
How do you spend your free time?
With the family very often. I also take dance classes, go for walks, meet friends…
How did you make friends at the beginning? Were there many expats/fellow au pairs?
There are some au pairs in North part of Atlanta but I live in the South and I don’t have any in here. I met my American friends because of my dancing classes or at my chiropractor’s office.
What was the dating scene like where you lived?
I don’t know much about this because I didn’t date. It might be surprising for some but me and my Host Dad fell in love with each other soon after I came here and now we’re married. So everything turned out very well for me!
What you loved about working in the US & What you disliked about working in the US:
Even though I’m still in my au pair agency, I stopped treating being here as my job a VERY long time ago simply because I became a part of the family since me and Alicia’s dad created a relationship. So I can’t really say anything about that, I don’t have any experience working in the US.
Overall would you recommend working in the US as a Polish au pair?
One last thing! Any important things to pack?
Not really because you’ll buy everything you need sooner than you think :-)