The Kosciuszko Foundation's Teaching English in Poland Program is NOW recruiting both American teachers and American teaching assistants as volunteers for its 2022 Summer Camps. Teachers of all subject areas and levels are encouraged to apply.
Teaching assistants can be college students, retirees, business people, former military, or anyone who has an interest in experiencing living and teaching in Poland. Children under 18 can accompany a family member as a peer tutor for the camp.
Do I have to be of Polish descent to participate?
Absolutely not! One of the things we love about the TEIP Program is teaching participants about the amazing country of Poland! We welcome all participants, whether they have Polish roots or know nothing about Poland. Our students appreciate getting to know the diversity of the United States.
Do I need to speak Polish to participate?
No! It's actually beneficial to our students if you don't speak Polish (although we certainly welcome you if you do)! We try to give our campers a fully immersive English experience, and sticking to English the whole time makes the camp experience even more beneficial and authentic for them. At times when we're not with students, we travel with a translator who will make sure you understand and are understood in all situations.
Do I need to be a licensed, K-12 teacher to participate?
We have three types of participants: teachers, teaching assistants, and peer tutors. Our teaching assistants come to us from all walks of life and all ages--from college students to retirees and everything in between! Teaching assistants offer their life experiences and cultural knowledge while they are assisting in classrooms. Similarly, peer tutors (who are current elementary, middle, or high school students accompanying an older relative in the program) add their knowledge of American culture and student life to lessons. Our teachers come from all fields and kinds of instruction. We have had successful teachers in our program who were preschool teachers, university professors, corporate trainers, dance instructors, guidance counselors, military officers, and many more. If you know how to deliver an engaging, student-centered lesson, we'd love you on our team!
If I'm accepted, what does the "registration and insurance fee" cover?
Since we are a non-profit, the registration and insurance fee helps us to cover our insurance and administrative expenses both in the U.S. and in Poland. With this fee, we purchase insurance for every staff member while in Poland. The insurance we purchase covers emergency medical situations and evacuations.
The Kosciuszko Foundation
Is this a for-profit program?
The TEIP Program is fully non-profit! The program is administered by the non-profit, 501(c)(3) Kosciuszko Foundation. Since 1925 the Kosciuszko Foundation has been dedicated to promoting educational and cultural exchanges between the United States and Poland, and to increasing American understanding of Polish culture and history.
Is Poland safe?
Yes! Poland is a member of the European Union and a modern, European country. Overall crime rates in Poland (both violent and nonviolent) are significantly lower than in the United States.
Is Poland expensive?
Most things in Poland are at least a little cheaper than in the U.S. You will find your dollar stretches just a little farther in Poland. Once you are in Poland, meals, tours, and accommodations will be provided at no charge to you. You may want to bring some pocket money for things like snacks and souvenirs, however.
Is the program free?
What do you pay for/what do I pay for? The host camps pay for all of your basic needs once you're in Poland: lodging, food, tours, entrance fees, transportation, etc. for the duration of the camps and for the three-day tour after camps.
You pay for your airfare to Poland as well as the insurance fee through the Kosciuszko Foundation.
Peer tutors only will be asked to pay for their portion of the after-camp tours, this usually amounts to between $250-$500. The amount will be calculated by the Polish camp director prior to camp and will be communicated to the parent/guardian travelling with the peer tutor.
Do I need a visa to enter Poland?
No. You only need a passport to enter Poland for camp. You will need a passport that expires January of 2023 or later to be given entry into Poland. You will also need to provide proof of full COVID-19 Vaccination. All Covid vaccines currently available in the US (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson&Johnson) are accepted by Poland for entry. You must show your vaccination certificate at the border to be allowed entry.
Do I meet you at camp? How do I get to Poland? How do I get around Poland?
Our camps designate a central meeting area and time in a major city/airport (usually Warsaw, Kraków, Gdańsk, or Rzeszów) near the camp for the American staff to gather in Poland. You book your own transportation to Poland/the meeting point, and then the camp will provide all transportation, lodging, and food in Poland from that time until the time of departure.
What does a typical day look like for American staff?**
A typical day for all staff starts with breakfast provided by the camp. Classes typically start somewhere between 8 and 9 depending on the camp. The major meal of the day in Poland is lunch, provided by the camp, somewhere between 1 and 2 p.m. A light dinner is then served in the evening after camp is over. In the evenings, your hosts may provide a small activity, or you may be given free time to explore your new surroundings.
**All camps' schedules vary slightly. Olsztynek has a very different format. See Olsztynek section below for more information.
A teacher's typical day starts with classes in the morning. Class sizes are typically around 15 students. After lunch, teachers have time to plan and organize for the next day's lessons. All necessary materials (within reason) will be provided by the camp organizers if requests are made ahead of camp. Teachers are welcome (although not required) to participate in afternoon activities in most camps.
A teaching assistant's(TA's) typical day starts with assisting with class activities as needed in the morning and setting up for afternoon activities and games with the students. After lunch, the teaching assistants run English-based games, activities, crafts, and sports for the campers. This is a great time for the campers to practice their English in a low-pressure setting, and a wonderful opportunity for the TAs to get to know the campers even more.
How is the Olsztynek Camp different?
The Olsztynek Camp's format is different in that teachers conduct shorter workshops at different times throughout the camp. During these workshops, teachers share an area of expertise with the students in English (American architecture, karate, and dance are just a few that have been given in the past). When they are not teaching, teachers are participating in activities in English with the campers. Olsztynek is a very active camp! Activities can range from hiking to kayaking and sailing.
Where do we stay during camp?
Accommodations are usually hostel-style at or near the camp. Families/family members will be housed together (or separately on request). Some locations house staff at the school where camp takes place, while others will house teachers in a nearby hostel. All facilities will have Wi-Fi, linens, laundry capabilities or services, and at least a small kitchen for preparing and storing snacks and coffee.
What do my weekends look like? While this varies from camp to camp, weekends are usually your time to explore the local area. Host camps typically offer a couple of small activities on the weekends but give you time to relax or explore. We have had staff members who use the weekend to go visit an ancestral village, do some shopping, or simply relax around camp.
What does the end-of-camp tour look like? The purpose of the tour is to introduce American staff to the culture and history of the local region in Poland. Travel for the tour is typically done by chartered motor coach or train/bus, depending on the size of the group. The tours visit castles, museums and other historical locations as well as sites that introduce program participants to the unique culture and handicrafts of the region. Accommodations will be provided in hostels along the way, and meals during the tour will be provided by the Polish hosts.
I have a special diet--can you accommodate me?
In short, if you can find food to eat when dining out at restaurants in the US, your diet can most likely be accommodated in Poland. Our Polish hosts try their hardest to meet your dietary needs, and common diets like vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free are not a problem. Combination diets such as gluten-free AND vegan may be harder to accommodate and may require some flexibility or pre-planning on your part.
What about Covid?
Since camps take place in late June and throughout the summer, we are very hopeful that by that time, Covid will not be a major concern. We will not ask accepted participants to book their travel and buy their plane tickets until closer to travel time, just to make sure the Covid situation is stable. We will also fully refund our insurance fee should travel to Poland be prohibited. Camp organizers will take every safety precaution necessary to ensure that all campers and staff remain as safe as possible.
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