Nicole was an Au Pair in the US (Conneticut) for 1 year and 9 months and in Australia (near Perth) for 4 months.
In the US she looked after three children of the age 5, 10 and 11 and in Australia she looked after three children of the age 5, 8 and 10.
Why did you decide to be an Au Pair and how did you decide which country?
Since I was 12 years old it was my wish to be an Au Pair when I was older. There was this German tv show about people who went abroad and whenever they were showing girls who went to the US as an Au Pair, I was particularly interested. I´m generally a “fan” of the United States and therefore it had to be America.
So I assume you applied ahead of time?
No, to be honest in my last year of school I was with my boyfriend and suddenly I wasnt sure anymore if I should go. So I left it till the last minute. In the end he was the one who convinced me to apply and that´s when the whole thing came together.
How was your process of finding a family?
First of all I must say, I didn’t join the “normal” Au pair program, I joined a program with AIFS which is called “EDUcare”, which means unlike other Au Pairs who work up to 45 hours, I was only required to look after the children up to 30 hours and I spent more time at college.
The reason I decided for this program is because I wasnt sure what I wanted to study after my Au Pair year. I thought that this program would give me a great chance to participate in different classes and to find out what I like. I joined in math, french, literature and finance. In the end I knew that maths wasnt for me. I wanted to do something that woke my interest and that would require different activities, so at the end of the year I knew I wanted to join the police.
So because I joined Educare, there weren’t as many families in the system compared to the “normal” program, but eventually I found “my family” and I was very happy with my match.
You extended your time by 9 months, why?
I really enjoyed being an Au Pair in the US. I loved conneticut, I got along really well with my host family and I had plenty of friends. Additionally a lot of my other Au Pair friends decided to extend as well and so thats why I extended.
So I hear it wasnt hard for you to make friends?
No, not at all. First of all I must say that my best friend from Germany was an Au pair only half an hour away from where I lived. But generally I made friends quickly. I had Au Pair friends, but also a lot of local friends.
What would you say did you learn through your Au Pair time?
- to be independant
- a new language
- to appreciate what parents do for you. when I was a child I thought what my parents did for me was just “normal”, but when I was an Au Pair I realised how much they´ve really done for me all my life
Since you´ve been an Au Pair in the US and in Australia, what where the differences?
If I had to describe it in one word, I would say my life in the US was like a movie and my life in Australia was like a holiday. They are both great destinations. For me personally, I´d say I prefer the US a little bit more, but they are both great countries. But generally the way I picked my host families was always by how much I thought we were a good match. Having a good relationship with the family is more important than a place or a city in my opinion.
Which situations would you say are difficult while being an Au Pair?
Well it´s not always easy working with children. There are good and bad days like in every occupation.
Also because you live in the same house, it can be tricky for kids to understand when you are working and when you are off.
Would you recommend being an Au Pair?
Yes, I had a fantastic time in both countries and would recommend it! It´s a great way to meet locals of a country, it´s not too expensive, I wouldn’t do it all my life, but for the time being it was great!