How to manage the return to your home country after an au pair stay

As the first long-term time abroad for many young people, the au pair stay can be a life-changing experience - full of new encounters, adventures, learning and discovery. Coming home after such an experience is its own special challenge.

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I was an au pair in San Francisco for a year in 2014 and then in Australia in 2017, returning to my home country France after each time abroad. In this article, I'd like to give you some tips on how to make a smooth return to your own country when the time comes.

Preparing your return is essential!

You have prepared for your departure with all kinds of planning and organising. When it's time to return, you should take the same approach. Anticipate your return and prepare for it. 

Why? So that you don't lose time when you get back. How do you prepare for your return to your home country? For sure by doing some research on the administrative steps you need to take when you return, but also by taking stock of yourself and your desires so that you can find your feet as quickly as possible when you're back! 

You can read more about this in my other article "Returning after your au pair stay: Handling culture shock".

Taking stock of your adventure

Before you went on your au pair adventure, you probably had goals and expectations. And now what can you say about the experience you have just had?

In my experience, taking the time to review what really happened during your time abroad and how it has affected you is very important in order to find the next steps that you should take.

Here are some questions to help you in this review:

  • What do you remember most about your adventure abroad?
  • What has changed in your behaviour and outlook during the time you have been away?
  • How have you grown as a person and who have you become?

Setting new goals

Your adventure as an au pair is coming to an end. The question now is: "Where do I go from here?" Try to define your new goals (personal and professional) and your new desires for your future.

This might involve points like these:

Continuing with school, university or other training

The continuation of studies or the commencement of some new training programme after a stay abroad might be the logical next step when you return. To manage this effectively, research any steps that can be taken before you get back. Application deadlines and requirements need to be checked.  Entering a new training course may also require tests or selection interviews (which can sometimes be done at a distance)! As a first step, you need to get a clear overview of the requirements for any further training that you want to pursue.

Looking for your first job or internship

When you return home after an au pair stay, you may want to look for your first job or an internship. In this case it is also necessary to start early! It is important to be patient and to be organised.  Having a competent person proofread your job application documents is a good way to be sure that your applications get the serious consideration that they deserve.

Read more about it in AuPairWorld's blog article "How being an au pair makes you attractive to future employers"

Setting out again

And then sometimes, you can only think of one thing: more travel and international experience! This can be a great choice, but it requires planning too. Where do you want to head? When? With whom? With what program and what visa? It is a new adventure and it needs preparation. Here we go again: we do research, we post on Facebook groups, we look at Instagram accounts about it and this all takes time. But you've done it once, you know you can do it again!


Author Magalie Desmidt

About the author:

Magali Desmidt – Voyage, emploi & retour en France

Passionate about travelling, Magali DESMIDT has been on the road since 2014. She was an au pair in San Francisco for a year as well as in Australia for a few months. She has travelled solo in Europe, the USA, South Asia and Oceania. Mag is also passionate about human relations and personal development and has been working as an employment counsellor since 2011 in France. What she loves: supporting expatriates and travellers to bounce back professionally and boost their careers when they return from abroad. Join her on Instagram, FacebookLinkedin and visit her website and blog where new articles are published regularly regularly.