Why should I extend my stay as an au pair?

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When you leave your home country to become an au pair you think a year is freaking long. Then you arrive, are with your host family and before you know it, eight months have passed and the question “Do you want to extend?” comes up. You might get a little panic attack or you just know that you won’t stay because home is calling you.

If you are (currently) in the first group then take a deep breath and keep reading. There are some factors you need to think about on why you should or shouldn’t go back to your home country (yet):

How long do you have left?

How many months have you been in America and what do you want to do before you leave ? Are you able to do everything you want to do without extending? This is a once in a lifetime chance to live in America for cheap, have some free time and be able to travel to as many places as your heart desires. Think about the things you still want to see and if you are going to be able to do those things in your last months.

Who am I going back home for?

When you are in America your life back home keeps going on without you, which can be hard sometimes because you see your friends doing all these fun things without you. Family and friends will tell you that they miss you and can’t wait until you’re home. That makes it very difficult to stay in America. It can feel like you are being selfish, speaking from experience, if you choose for yourself instead of going back to your friends. What if they won’t like me anymore if I extend? What if they forget about me? Well, if that happens then they are not your real friends. Because the real ones will cheer for you and encourage you to stay longer, if that’s what you truly want.

What happens when you go back for them and not for yourself? What happens if you go back because your family and friends want you to, but not because you want to? You will be miserable because your heart is still in America. Friends and family will see that too and they will also be unhappy. So, think about who you’re doing it for. Is it because your friends keep saying they miss you or is it because you genuinely miss everything about home?

What are you going to do when you’re back home?

Let’s say in theory you decide you to go home. What then? Are you going to start working, continue your study or do you know which study you want to start? Those questions are very important to have in mind. Is it possible to go back to school when your year ends or do you need to wait a few months until the new year starts? If that is the case then think about extending for six or nine months. For some au pairs that works perfect because that means not another full year gone and having an activity until you start your school. Otherwise you’ll sit at home doing nothing or working at a job you don’t even really like. So, when you’re deciding if you want to extend as an au pair or not think about the questions above. Talk about it with your friends and family. No final answer is right or wrong. As long as it is an answer that makes you happy.

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