My name is Celeste and I'm from Guadalajara, Mexico. I had a great experience as an Au pair in 2009/2010 in Austria. I was a senior in high school and received a scholarship to study at the university in my city. However I thought I needed to experience something new before starting my course, so I decided to look for something different and I found it!
It really was an adventure because, even though I had travelled by myself before, I had never done so very long. I only spoke a little bit of German and I didn't know anybody in Austria. I contacted the family through AuPairWorld and I had a very good impression of them from the beginning. Then we started getting in touch via skype and when I had all my documents ready to get my visa, I got my flight and came to live with them.
It was an amazing place in Tirol near the Alps. The house was very nice with a great view and a beautiful dog, and of course a great family. At first it was hard because I couldn't comunicate very well in German and the kids didn't speak a lot of English, but that was the idea, that they learnt English and I learnt German and we both did so very quickly.
I started with my German course and met other Au pairs from Russia, Ukraine, USA, Bosnia and some other places around the world. My host kids were amazing and I was so happy to live near the forest and the mountains. Living in a small city was a really different experience for me because I had always lived in a huge city in Mexico.
Another great experience was seeing and touching the snow for the first time, that was something that was hard to live with because the weather was very cold but it was worth it because the snow and the mountains were amazing. I also had the chance of learning how to snowboard.
Celebrating Christmas with them was also a great experience and I got to learn about their traditions. Even though I felt home sick, especially at that time of the year, I would absolutely do it again. I thought the work would be much more hard, but I really got along with my hostkids very quickly. I also helped a little bit in the house and had the weekends free. Therefore, I also had the chance to travel around the country, which is beautiful.
Even though it sounds so hard to be away from your family at the age of 19, without knowing anybody and not being able to comunicate in the language, I think being an Au pair has been one of the best experiences for me. I learnt to be more independent and responsible, and I learnt a lot about other cultures and lifestyles. Everything was very different from the place where I live: the food, the culture, the people and it was hard to get used to it at the beginning.
At the end I didn't want to come back, I really became part of the family and I still miss them, but we are still in touch and I know that they will always be my family. I recommend this experience to everyone and I think is a great way to make a cultural exchange and meet new people.