As some of you may, or may not, know I used to be an Au-Pair. I left South Africa to be an Au-Pair for a family in New York, about half an hour away from New York City! I was super nervous but full of excitement at the same time. It was going to be a new experience and I was going to make amazing memories. I had heard great stories about it and I was ready for the journey!
My contract with the family was for a year; but I was sure that I was going to love it so much I would stay for two. I had started speaking to some of the girls I would be travelling with before I left so at least I was not going completely alone. We got to know each other during the flight and the airport wait. During orientation I became closer with some of the girls and honestly made lifelong friendships. Also, the hotel we stayed in was really lovely and came with delicious food! 😉
The minute I arrived at my family’s house something felt off. I just did not feel as though I was meant to be there. I just put this down to the fact that I was (essentially) in a strangers home and away from everyone I knew. As time went on I knew that it was not where I wanted to be. The family and I did not see eye to eye on some things and it was quite disappointing as I had been so excited. Eventually I came back home because I could not live in that environment any more.
But wait, isn’t this post supposed to be about why I LIKED being an Au-Pair?! This doesn’t sound like too much fun, Kirsty… I know, I know. That is because even though I did not stay for as long as I had intended and I had not done as much as I had expected to do, a lot of good came out of it. I am trying to look at the positives that happened instead of focusing on the negatives. So, what are some of the positives? Well…
- I learned a lot, about myself and about other people
- New York City was right on my doorstep – and I watched my first Broadway show… with Taye Diggs!
- I saw iconic things like the Empire State Building, Times Square, and 5th Avenue
- Starbucks became my best friend
- Travelling happened with me visiting Boston, Hopedale, and Martha’s Vineyard
- I made lifelong friends – 15 minute voice notes when you’re living on opposite sides of the world is amazing
- It made me realise how much I wanted to teach
- Way too much junk food was had but I still lost weight because I walked everywhere
- I had the biggest McDonalds fries in the world and ate them in Times Square
- I went to the Disney store and it just changed my life
If you want to be an Au-Pair then I still say go for it! I had a less than ideal experience but I know so many people that had the most incredible families and had the best time. Please do not let this experience put you off at all. I mean look at just some of the positives that I mention above. And I was not even there for all that long. The main advice that I would give you would be to make sure you choose your family carefully and be sure that it is the family you really want before you accept!
Have you been an Au-Pair before? Is it something that you might want to do in the future? Let me know in the comments below!