Ten years ago, Polish au pair Marcin arrived in New York state ready for his au pair program to begin. Marcin had decided to join the program after graduating high school and wanted to travel, get to know different cultures, and develop his English skills. Being a male au pair was a great opportunity to get out of his comfort zone, and he would be able to work on skills such as responsibility, flexibility, and persistence. He says:
The program was also very popular among my peers back in Poland who highly recommend taking part in it.
Marcin lived with the Hagen family for his program year and he became very close with his host family. Host mom Suzanne reminisces about finding a perfect match for her family in Marcin: "I wanted a male au pair for my son to be a good role model and big brother. Marcin was raised by a single mom. We had a mutual respect for each other. [My son] Bradley wanted to play outside all afternoon with his au pair. Bradley, Marcin and the whole neighborhood played every kind of ball you can imagine."
Marcin shares his favorite part of being an au pair:
The best part of the program was to live with an English-speaking family as well as become friends with people from all over the globe. It gave me a unique chance to get to know different individuals, their everyday customs as well as inspire each other to become more open-minded and adventurous. The program is a great character builder and makes you become more confident about your future plans.
While on his program year, Marcin discovered that advertisement strategies in the United States were different to what he saw in Poland at the time. This led him to take his observations back to Poland, where he began to work on a big business idea. Host mom Suzanne shares her memories of how Marcin achieved success as an entrepreneur:
Marcin took an idea that he learned about in the USA as an au pair and brought it to Poland . Marcin, when he was an au pair, always cut coupons for us [his host family] . Marcin was unaware of any couponing in Poland . Marcin first started his company by making coupon books but now has applications on the web.
Marcin now works in the Polish start up world mentoring budding entrepreneurs. He was recently honored in Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Poland, and his host family could not be prouder of him! Marcin tries to visit his host family as often as possible, and during his most recent visit his host family celebrated his latest accomplishment. He has continued to keep in touch with host family over the years, and shares that
My host family became my real American family. I was always a part of their everyday life and holiday celebrations. For the last 10 years we have stayed in touch using social media mostly. I am always very welcome at Suzie’s home whenever I visit the USA. The bond you create during the program is strong enough that both sides are interested in their lives once it finishes. I love both the Christmas cards they send me as well and social media comments once something significant happens in my life. The support has always been amazing.
Marcin fully embraced his au pair program, and shares that he "ha[s] already inspired a few young people to be a part of the program. You should join the program if you want to learn new things, become a stronger person as well as have fun and enjoy the vast majority of interesting activities / places you can visit in the States. It makes you a stronger, more responsible person and also gives you extra time to decide what you want to do later on. One should definitely focus on having the right match with the host family - the mutual vibe is vital. On top of that, living in a foreign country broadens your mind, gives you a new perspective on life as well as allows you to create genuine friendships with other participants of the program."