Leaving home isn’t always easy. So going abroad for a set amount of time and taking on the big responsibility of being an Au pair isn’t for everyone. BUT it’s an experience like no other and something I’m so happy and grateful for being able to have done. It’s life changing and eye opening. If it’s something you’re interested in then don’t let fear stop you. I was an Au pair in the Netherlands for one year with two kids. I can honestly say that it has changed me as person like no other experience could’ve.
- Kiddie Love
This probably sounds funny and obvious but I really can’t express it enough. You really need to love children and I mean all the different parts of it. The good and the bad. Children aren’t always easy. They’re going to test your limits and really see just how patient you can be. There will be days when you honestly don’t want to deal with the same nonsense and there will be days you love your host kids so much that the idea of leaving them physically hurts.
- Country Love
If you’re going to au pair in another country it really needs to be a country YOU are interested in. It’s going to be your new home for a year so it really needs to be a place you feel like you can fit in, experience new things and really embrace and learn from the culture.
- Host Parents
Please take your time with choosing a host family/parents. Don’t just choose a family because they chose you and your scared you won’t find a family. No. Kick this idea right out of your head. These people are not only going to be your family and basically the baseline in this strange and new country but they’re also going to be your boss. You have to have similar views and interest or it won’t always be a breeze in the park.
- Au Pair Friends
Having Au pair friends is really a blessing in disguise. They’re experiencing the exact same thing than you are: the frustrations that can come with looking after kids, the home sickness, the struggles with the new culture and language and overall they’re your support in this new environment. They’re your comedian relief. They’re someone to have fun, unwind and most importantly to grow with.
- Wise Company Choices
Choose your company wisely. They’re going to effect the entire experience in ways you won’t imagine. You can get absolutely wonderful companies that truly carries your best interest to heart, but then you get horror companies that basically…to put it nicely screw you over. Do your research on the company, specially Google their names with words like scandal, horrible company etc. If someone didn’t have a great experience with them it will be somewhere on the internet. Go to their Facebook page, try to contact other au pairs that went through them and not just that, go with your instinct. If you feel good about the company then that’s all you need to know. I recommend House-o-Orange for my South African Au Pairs: https://www.house-o-orange.nl/
Take the leap and Au pair. At least once.
PS: It’s not always going to be fun and games but again, it’s a great experience. You really ‘grow up’ while you Au pair. If you’re interested, go for it!
Edit from future Cassy – 25/06/2018
I know that I promised to write about my actual au pair experience but after long consideration I’ve decided against doing so. I respect my host family too much to share about it in such a public platform. In the end of the day I need to respect their privacy and I also need to take into account that one day the host kids might read it. It’s not like there was many bad experiences, heck I will cherish some of my memories with the kids forever but too write about it honestly I need to be able to share the good and the bad you know. I’m sure you will all understand.