For 2020 I hope to spotlight a new au pair each month, you can learn about their experiences as an au pair, and maybe gain more personal insight on what being an au pair is like, and what hosting an au pair means! This month is Rowan from The Netherlands, read on as she describes her time as an au pair:
My au pair experience Rowan, The Netherlands.
My name is Rowan. I am 20 years old and originally from The Netherlands. I arrived here in Minnesota in March and sadly my au pair year is almost ending…
I remember how it all started. I was so exhausted from the intense couple of days at the trainings school in New York, the nerves and all the excitement. I did not know what to expect from the whole program and being an Au Pair. From the first moment I met my host parents at the airport I knew that this year was going to be great. Why? They made me feel at home from the moment I entered the house. They were so nice and kind and very relaxed. It made me feel less nervous.
In the beginning everything is new. A new house, people you don’t know, kids you don’t know. I remember that everything I did felt weird. for example just opening their fridge and get some food out of it I remember thinking “Is this ok? Can I just do this without asking?” Just the little things like that. What really helped me through this ‘awkward phase’ was communication. Talking to my host parents about how I feel made it much easier for me to adjust and fit in. My host parents are very kind and relaxed people. The best thing I like about them is that they give me freedom. I think this is a very important topic for Au Pairs. I can do whatever I want and go to my room if I need alone time and they completely understand. They always invite me to go do things with them but if I don’t want to, it’s completely fine. They respect my privacy very much, which is very important.
In my au pair year I already have been to so many places! This is also because there are a lot of great affordable au pair weekend classes you can do. This is a chance to explore another city. I’ve already been to: Orlando, Miami, LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boston, Chicago, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.
What was the hardest thing for me? The hardest thing for me was and still is that sometimes you need to discuss ‘work’ things. Not every family or au pair is perfect and it can happen that you need to talk about that. It still makes me feel very uncomfortable because they feel like family to me. You do so many things together and they do so much for you, but don’t forget that you also do a lot for them! So if there is an issue, communication is the best way. For me sometimes it’s still hard to talk about serious work things, I think a lot of au pair struggle with this.
And last but not least… Do not worry about being alone!! Cultural Care is a GREAT organization and does a lot about getting au pairs together. There are so many social media groups where you can meet other au pairs and we are all in the same situation, so don’t feel insecure! I met so many great people from all over the world, friends that you will NEVER forget. Cause after all this is a one in a lifetime experience and you will always remember the people who you experienced it with.
It seems all super scary… but after a while it will get better! Being an au pair was the best decision I’ve ever made and I recommend it to you all.
Tuesday, 4 February 2020 2:11 PM