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Moving to Poland to immerse my kids in Polish language and culture. What are the experiences of other parents?


DaisyW
13 May 2016 #1
Hi,

Both my husband and I are from Poland and we came to Canada when we were kids. We are both fluent in Polish, but our kids (who are elementary school age), though they understand a lot, don't speak it. We all have Polish citizenship (I made sure my kids have it to have access to European Union privileges). We went to Poland on our vacation last year and visited both sides of the family and traveled a lot. Now we are considering moving to Poland for a year to immerse our kids in Polish culture and language. I have an opportunity to take a leave of absence from work for a year and my husband has his own business and would be able to work remotely from Poland.

I'd love to hear about the experiences of parents who have gone through similar experience whether going to Poland for work or cultural enrichment. Where did you live? How did your children respond? What schools they went to? Or even if you know of people who have done something similar and their experiences.
Ktos 17 | 456
13 May 2016 #2
Hi DaisyW,

I think this is a very good move, although I do not have kids I worked with children and youth and having had an international experience I can say with all confidence that it is for the better to have your children raised in Poland during their formative years as Poland still exemplifies good parenting and child rearing practices which will come to fruition later in life when your children become adults - you probably thought the same once you grew up "czym skorupka za mlodu na siaknie tym na starosc zakwitnie".
delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
13 May 2016 #3
as Poland still exemplifies good parenting and child rearing practices

Not really. Poland teaches kids to cheat in schools, teaches them nothing about life and most of all, shows them that their opinion is worthless.

Now we are considering moving to Poland for a year to immerse our kids in Polish culture and language.

Don't do it. Schools will not help you, even private ones - the kids will struggle, especially as Polish kids are expected to do a lot at home to make up for the relative lack of hours in school.

The best bet would be to get a Polish aupair who preferably doesn't speak English and get her to spend a year with you. The kids will pick up very fast, especially if you ask her specifically to introduce Polish traditions.
OP DaisyW
13 May 2016 #4
Schools will not help you, even private ones - the kids will struggle, especially as Polish kids are expected to do a lot at home to make up for the relative lack of hours in school.

And that is my worry. One of my cousins in Poland is a teacher and there seems to be no support for kids who don't speak the language already. I found a few "non-public" schools that are small and seem to have the right attitude towards immigrant kids, though there is not much proof of that other than the information on their websites. I'm not sold on the private schools such as American or British, because from what I've seen on their websites, many of their teachers are not qualified teachers. They may have expertise in the subject area (or not even), but are hired because they speak English. In addition they are ridiculously expensive, even comparing to many of the private schools in Canada.

The best bet would be to get a Polish aupair who preferably doesn't speak English and get her to spend a year with you.

My kids are in school all day (9:00 - 3:30) so having aupair does not make much sense financially at this point. It would have been a great idea when they were under 4.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
13 May 2016 #5
I found a few "non-public" schools that are small and seem to have the right attitude towards immigrant kids, though there is not much proof of that other than the information on their websites.

Take it from someone with a significant amount of experience in such a school - they will pretend to care, but in reality, it will be a different story. I've seen how it works in reality - the kids struggling with Polish are often simply left to fend for themselves, perhaps with a token effort from a teacher to help them in Polish. How old are your kids?

I'm not sold on the private schools such as American or British, because from what I've seen on their websites, many of their teachers are not qualified teachers.

Couldn't agree more. I can tell you that a lot of them have teachers with thick English accents, the type that you absolutely wouldn't want your kids to pick up in any way. The very very best schools are comparable to a good public school in the Anglosphere, but that's about it. The stories I could tell about some of the more expensive ones...

My kids are in school all day (9:00 - 3:30) so having aupair does not make much sense financially at this point.

Could you perhaps take them out of school for a year while at home?

But - is there no Saturday Polish school where you are? They're all over Europe, but I have no idea if it's the same there. If not, maybe you could take a year out of work to establish such a school?
OP DaisyW
14 May 2016 #6
Could you perhaps take them out of school for a year while at home?

If I'm staying in Canada, I would not take them out, nor would I take a leave of absence just for the sake of staying home. If we were in Poland, I would consider home schooling (I'm an educator and I worked with kids from kindergarten to grade 12 - English speaking and ESL, so I'd be comfortable with that). The main idea behind sending them to a school was so that they would get more exposure to the language and hopefully make friends with their peers.

But - is there no Saturday Polish school where you are? They're all over Europe, but I have no idea if it's the same there.

Yes, there are. I even taught in one for a year, and then quit, as it resembled the kind of school I went to back in Poland over 20 years ago. So when I had my own kids, I wasn't too keen on sending them there (they are 7 and 10 now).

Where are you located? We were thinking of going to Wroclaw...
Marsupial - | 886
14 May 2016 #7
It's an unrealistic assesment above, too negative a year in private school is fine. The first thing to remember is that poland is exacly the same as everywhere in that if you can pay some money your kids will most likely go to a better school. Povos will tell you that it doesn't matter but it does matter in every country including poland.
marzatplay - | 1
21 Dec 2016 #8
@DaisyW
My wife and I are considering the same situation. Our kids are younger however and my wife can take time off work whereas I run a business where I can run it remotely. I am very interested to hear how your experience has been so far. We are planning to take the plunge in March/April next year.
After2020
22 Dec 2016 #9
A loophole in the law many wealthy Poles have been taking advantage of for many years is as follows, the Polish constitution states all children have the right to education in Poland. So any returning child or EU child has the right to choose any school in Poland.So if your child is not academically gifted, one year abroad back to Poland and apply to the best schoo, the school is oblidged by law to accept your child, irrespective of educational achievments, they are also obliged to provide extra support at no cost for any underperforming child. Polish families in the UK take advantage of the UK system, any Brits or Poles returning to Poland should not be embarrassed to do the same.
Helianthus - | 4
23 Dec 2016 #10
Why not just take them for the Summers? It won't be the same as putting them in a Polish school, but you could look for summer camps or events that they could do to make friends with other kids who speak fluently.


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