Today I interview Madeleine who has a YouTube Channel and is about to begin her journey as an Au Pair. She is 19 years old, from Germany and goes to the US for a year in just a few days.
Her Host Family lives in Seattle and they have 2 children of the age: 12 and 9.
How did the idea of “Au Pairing” come to you?
The first time I heard about it, was when the sister of a friend went away as an Au Pair. This raised my interest and I started to follow her journey on instagram. The second time this topic came back to me was in 10th grade. I did a weekend seminar and one of the topics to choose from was: “What to do in a gap year”. I also like children and really want to explore the USA!
So did you consider any other countries?
No, I was set on the USA.
Why did you start a YouTube Channel?
Actually first I started to write a blog, but fairly quickly I realised that I prefer talking much more compared to writing, and I also enjoy videos more than blog posts. So therefore I changed from the blog to YouTube. And then of course to have lots of memories of my Au Pair Year.
How is your emotional state now that your departure is very close?
It´s really weird. I feel like a good friend is going to go on this journey and not me. It´s totally unreal. One day I can´t wait to go, another day I´m sad.
I mainly realise it´s happening soon, when I say goodbye to people. But I think the hardest goodbye is going to be the one with my boyfriend. I actually think that I mainly have these ups and downs with my feelings because of him. I just don’t know how it´s going to be like when we are apart and that scares me.
Did you ever consider not to do the Au Pair Year and stay home for your boyfriend?
Well, when I matched with my host family I didn’t have a boyfriend. It was about 3 weeks later that we became a couple and of course it was out of the question that I honour my decision to be an Au Pair. But even if we had been together before, I still would have gone ahead with my choice. I don’t think you should ever sacrifice a dream like that for another person.
What are you looking forward to the most?
I´m looking forward to finally meet my host family! I am also excited to see New York and to be at the “Orientation days”. Generally I am looking forward to all the little things and then later on it will be my travel month that I´m looking forward to.
What was the process of finding a family?
I signed up with AIFS and Ayusa, but I personally didn’t have a preference. I just wanted to have more choice when it came to families. I had 3 suggestions by AIFS and 2 suggestions by Ayusa. In the end I matched with a family from Ayusa.
Before you started the matching process, how did you think your host family would look like?
Well first of all, I thought I would be at the east coast, because that´s were most Au Pairs are. I thought I would end up in the New York area, look after children of the age range 4-10. I also guessed I would look after 3 children. So my imagination was completely different to my reality.
What are you afraid of?
When it comes to my host family, I am scared that maybe our communication isn’t good. Or that we don’t have chemistry. I mean, I don’t think it´s gonna happen, because every time we Skype we get along really well, but I´ve never met them before, so I think these fears are perfectly normal.
What do you think you will learn in this year?
I think I will learn to be more independent. I will improve my english language skills, I will learn how to be more patient and how to run a household. I think being an au pair is a great way to learn all these things. I know I will have to be more independent but at the same time I have a family who is there to help me. If I would move to another city for studies now, I wouldn’t have anybody who would be around to help me get organised. I think this year is a great transition.
What do you think could be difficulties you may experience?
Homesickness, goodbyes (because this year will be full of goodbyes), emotional chaos and maybe misunderstandings with the host-parents.
What´s on your bucket list?
Cheesecake factory, Starbucks, In & Out Burger, a concert, a festival, a football game, an ice hockey game and various travel (Miami, Chicago, Atlanta etc).
Thank you Madeleine for taking the time to be interviewed and we will speak again when you are in the USA!
If you want to be an au pair too, check out my book: Rock Your Au Pair Year!