The first time ever I saw and felt snow!
According to Ursula from South Africa, becoming an au pair implies a careful preparation. Her au pair stay was definitely worth the bother. She truly enjoyed her stay in the Netherlands and is therefore applying for a new placement. Ursula writes her story in English, in form of an interview.
Last year was my first time being an Au Pair in Amersfoort in the Netherlands for six months for two boys aged 7 and 11. First I was shocked. It’s not that easy to just be an au pair, I just thought I would join an agency and then they find a family and I fly. That was so untrue, and it takes a lot of work, like first you have to create a profile than find a possible match, than you Skype and talk on the phone, than the family decides that they want you to Au Pair and than the visa paperwork starts and then you get you visa and then you fly and this takes a few months, not days. So I tell my story by the answers to these questions.
What were your expectations for going abroad?
I had very high expectations on learning a new culture, language and seeing new places.
What did you like?
I loved my host family, the snow (it was my first time I saw and felt snow), the places I saw and the people I met.
What did you dislike?
The cost of transport was very high and that my stay was so short.
How did you prepare for your time as an au pair?
I took several courses, learnt tips from fellow au pairs and communicated with my family many times before I left.
How did you search for a host family?
I used an agency, but my second time around I am using AuPairWorld, because I have some experience now and now what to expect, as I didn’t even know AuPairWorld existed till I got there and my host family told me about the site.
How did you get in touch with your host family?
Via Skype, email and telephone.
How was your trip to your host country?
It was amazing as I got to fly for the first time.
What did your daily routine look like with your host family?
I helped the boys with breakfast, made their lunch, got them dressed, took them to school and then I came home did some minor household duties had some free time and then I fetched them and we came back to the house played outside if it was warm enough or inside and then I made dinner and sometimes I would help them get ready for bed.
How did you master child care?
I just learnt what the boys liked and disliked and I was patient and the boys accepted me and listened to me.
What did you do in your time off?
I went to other au pairs and went sightseeing and visited museums and took trips, I got see Paris on a long weekend.
Did you go on trips with your host family?
We went to the park and to nearby towns.
Could you improve your skills of the foreign language?
I did not get to do the course but I still got to learn some of the language.
Are you still in touch with your host family?
Yes I am and I can really say that I enjoyed and appreciated my time there. I miss them a lot. Being an au pair helped me learn to be independent and believe in myself in no way other things can. I learnt so much that I want to au pair a second time in a new country.