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.
- You're not together with your familiar circle of friends.
- You're looking for orientation and something to hold onto.
- You're in a world full of new and exotic and intriguing things and everything (also the people) can seem extra special.
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?
Being surprised by a new relationship
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."
Have you fallen in love as an au pair (or with an au pair)?
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!
Love abroad: Pros and cons
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.
Three of the good things
- Love in another country has a special intensity. Everything is new and different, which (at least at the beginning) adds to the romance and enchantment.
- When you fall in love with a local, there's no better way to get to know the language or really step into the other world.
- Love (whenever it happens) is beautiful and fun and wonderful, and when it comes, of course, you feel happy and each day seems special.
Three of the difficult things
- A relationship in which the couple doesn't share the same native language or culture is not so easy. What initially seems intriguing and exotic can also be a big obstacle for really understanding each other.
- An au pair stay doesn't last forever. What is going to happen to the relationship after your au pair stay is over? Will there be a future, and if so how can you manage it?
- Falling in love is intense and it tends to blot out a lot of other things. Is this really what you're looking for when you're experiencing another country or is it a distraction from other important things (new friends, your host family, the sights of your host country)?
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.