Why did I become an au pair? And how did my au pair stay influenced me?Posted By
I traveled abroad as an au pair a few times. Exactly four times - first time in summer 2010 and last time in summer 2014. But what was the reason why I became an au pair? And what influence did my au pair stay have on me?
The very first time I went abroad I was 18. I remember I wanted to travel like this the summer before that but my parents wouldn't let me go. As soon as I had 18 they couldn't stop me anymore. I have to mention a few things which made me want to go. First - I love traveling. I always loved it and I think I will for a while. I always find something positive about it - even when I simply travel by car and I'm looking outside a window or when I travel in an overcrowded train which is slower than a snail. Or when my flight is delayed by 6 hours. The only thing that is enough to make me love the experience is the fact that I'm going somewhere new, towards something new in my life. This is probably the impuls which made me realise I want to go. Other reason for me going was that I wanted to study languages at the university. To be completely honest - working with kids was never my priority. But since I'm the oldest of 3 siblings, I was used to taking care of kids since for ever and it was the most comfortable option - so why not try it, right?
This doesn't change anything on the fact that I wasn't ready for being an au pair. I remember I got a little brochure from my agency before I left where I could read loads of interesting information about being au pair all around the world, all the habits and possible cultural clashes. But even though I had quite a lot of materials on being an au pair, what to expect and how to behave, I still didn't know what am I getting myself into. You never know until you try. I got my invite from an Irish family with a less than 2-year-old girl and well, I was pretty scared. But when I arrived and I settled in, I realized that it's pretty simple and I ended up really enjoying my whole stay. I found many friends from all over the world and I fell in love with the au pair life by the end of my stay. I also ended up in love with my little girl, which at first really annoyed me for being really spoiled. But now when I think about it, it might have been the best stay I had.
And how did the stay influence me?
Before my departure, I wasn't very independent and my English was pretty poor (which means I understood about half of everything the family told me when I arrived). I liked working with kids, but I really wasn't sure what I'm getting myself into since I have never taken care of a child for so long. Never mind the fact that I was about to take care of a child I've only seen in a picture and live in a family which I don't know. Plus, I have never been abroad on my own before that, only wth my parents for some 2 weeks tops. I also didn't participate much in household chores and I could cook spaghetti with ketchup and make tea (nothing else).
Abroad, I had to adapt to the family and to the country. I learned how to all kinds of chores perfectly, how to cook, I learned English and I met friends from all corners of the world (I'm still in touch with some of them), I simply got independent in pretty much every way possible. Plus, the au pair experience helped me learn how to organize my time better. And my passion for traveling grew even bigger.
That's why you all who are thinking about going abroad - go! And if you don't hate kids (if you do, that would be a problem though), try au pair! You never know what will such experience bring you. It brought me lots of great memories and many new friends from all around the world. But it also allowed my personality to grow :-)