Tips and tricks from former au pairs

When you want to become an au pair it can be difficult to find stories of how your life in America will look like. The good and the bad can be told best by the people who are and were au pairs themselves. Why did they decide to become an au pair? What did they need to adjust to most when they arrived? And what are things they have struggled with all year long?

‘Nobody here will judge you’

Saskia about her least favourite and favourite part about being an au pair:

The start of my first year was really though. One of my girls has a lot of sensibilities and was really emotionally unstable. Some days we had 10 timeouts a day. A lot of unsafe behaviours like being unsafe with bodies and things. That really emotionally drains me. With a lot of consistency we got that under control and now she is such a sweetheart.

My host family took me to a trip to lake Quinault. We stayed in the Quinault lodge in a beautiful room with lake view. It was such an amazing bonding experience with the whole family. We spent every evening outside until sunset, we sat around bonfires, went kayaking, had an amazing tour through the forest, went fishing, visited waterfalls and had amazing family time. After we came back from our trip I felt like a true part of the family.

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‘Do not be afraid of speaking up!’

Amanda about why she decided to become an au pair:

I needed a big change. I knew that I couldn’t get that at home in Sweden. When I was about to graduate and realized that I wouldn’t be accepted into the education I wanted to attend I needed to find something else to do. I had no idea what else I would like to study. Then I remembered that a few years before I had heard about the au pair thing and wanted to explore that more now.

I have always loved kids and before my youngest brother was born in 2010 I had dreamt for years about a small sibling. English is one of my favorite subjects and why not combine these two? In addition, the feeling of doing something so nice for someone else made me sure that becoming an au pair was the right choice for me. I also felt that I needed to do something different, try something new before I decide what I want to do in the future.

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‘Don’t worry about speaking and understanding’

Louis about his favourite trip:

My favorite trip so far was to Los Angeles, but I also loved San Francisco. I am even going back to L.A. in the summer, that’s how much I liked it and I can even imagine to go after that again. But I think one of the main reasons I liked it so much was because I had awesome weather (blue skies and 30C/86F) and I could escape the snowy and cold weather in Utah for a bit. I met some nice people in L.A. and also did an awesome hike from the Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood sign.

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‘I felt a little bit stuck in my small hometown’

Eva about what she loves most about her host family:

I love the relationship I have with my current host family, we are like best friends. We talk a lot – even about the most embarrassing stuff. They are very social therefore they are always okay with me hanging out with them. I get an invite for everything they do and treat me like a family member but still give me freedom.

With my last host family: that they were so easy to be with! They expected a lot from me while I was working but it was always super easy living with them. We would talk all the time and if my friends came over they engaged with us and sometimes joined our game nights. Also, probably what I love most about them, they always supported me with every decision. Telling them I would move to another family was not easy but they understood my reasons and were very supportive. 

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‘They will always be my heroes’

Daniela’s tip for current and future au pairs:

Be honest and be you. Don’t be afraid to step up for yourself. If you are unhappy talk to your LCC or your family! Because if you don’t tell anyone you are gonna be the only sad person. And you are going to America to have an awesome experience and best time, so fight for it. And also save money every week to a savings account!! As an Au pair who’s been here for 2 years, I know what I’m talking about.

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