Au pair relationships: Falling in love abroad?
For just about every au pair, going out into the big world is a time of great excitement. A new country, a new language, a new culture, a new family...a new love?
Of course it happens. Being on your own as an au pair in a new country and culture can bring together some potent ingredients for falling in love.
It's no secret that falling in love is one of the biggest adventures that life has to offer. And adventure is one of the key aspects of being an au pair, right?
Although the majority of au pairs probably don't start their au pair stays with love as a top priority, that doesn't mean that they can't suddenly find themselves in an unexpected (and very involving) relationship.
The main thing for Janet* from England when she was planning her au pair stay in Germany was to make good progress with learning German and to establish strong connections with her new host family in Munich. And, indeed, that has all worked out quite well.
Totally unplanned, but now just as important for her is a relationship that "came out of nowhere". Spending her free time with Micha*, who grew up in Munich and has recently begun studying business management at the university there, is now the high point of her day.
The relationship feels very special. Janet says that she's learning about a side of life in Munich that she never would have discovered if she weren't together with Micha as a native 'guide'. "We go to places now that simply weren't on my list of possibilities before."
And there's a more personal, emotional aspect as well. "Falling in love in Germany and having a German boyfriend is different from anything that ever happened to me with boyfriends in England. In a way that I wouldn't have expected, it's truly different and it's kind of amazing what you start to learn about life."
So it's a very exciting time for Janet and Micha. But it's not only easy and fun. "We have a lot of questions ahead of us," explains Micha. "What's going to happen now when Janet's au pair stay is finished? Will she stay here longer? Should I try to find a way to study in England somewhere? Would that make sense? Could we really have a longer future together? We just don't know."
Write us an email and share your experience. The APW Blog will bring together reader input and make it available on these pages for other readers - from members of the AuPairWorld community from around the globe. To begin with, we are working with email functionality to collect reader responses. Take the opportunity to share your story with other readers!
Young people who travel abroad to spend time in another country and then fall in love in this new environment can encounter a dramatic mix of highs and lows in this special situation.
What's your opinion? What kind of relationships are you looking for as an au pair? Share your opinions, impressions and experiences with us and other readers!
* Names changed by the editors.