My name is Giorgia and I'm 19 years old. I come from Italy and I went to the Netherlands to have an experience as an au pair. My story starts when I registered on aupair-world.net and searched for a family to work for. I made contact with several families, not only from the Netherlands, but also from other European countries.
After a week, a family from Rotterdam, in Zuid Holland, contacted me saying that they liked my profile and that they would like to meet me on Skype if I was interested too. So we emailed for a couple of days about our families, what my expectations were of being an au pair and what I would be doing for them. We seemed to get along quite well, therefore I was excited to skype with them.
The first impression was really positive on both sides. They told me they would pay for my Dutch course, all my transport within the Netherlands and would repay me for my flights. Everything seemed so organized and well prepared, moreover both of them are lawyers, so I trusted them even though they didn't make me sign a contract. On the 29th of September I took off for Rotterdam.
It didn't take long to realize that things at home weren't as expected and also the family was totally different to what they looked like on Skype!! The host parents hardly ever spoke to me, we didn't have any kind of conversation, they asked nothing about me and they didn't really spend time with their children: they worked from 8 a.m to 6 p.m and when home they just put their kids to bed or in front of the TV!! They gave me a Dutch card under the name of the father of the family, this wasn't good. In fact, this meant he could control and block my money whenever he wanted and I discovered also that I had to put my money onto a transport card that they gave me.
After the first week I asked my host mother if everything was ok with me and the answer was that everything was perfect and that the kids liked me (even though when they were with me they cried all the time).Things from my point of view weren't perfect: I had to iron all my host family clothes (including the father's underwear which made me feel so uncomfortable). I usually worked more than 10h and the host parents never told me if they going to be late so I had to stay with the children until they arrived. Everyday I cleaned the kitchen floor and all the dishes from every family member, not just from the children.
The atmosphere in the family was really uncomfortable: the parents were arrogant to me and always spoke in Dutch to each other even when I was dining with them (I don't know dutch and they knew that),. Sometimes when I entered the room they stopped talking until I left. From one day to the other they started telling me what I was doing wrong and they never appreciated all of the housework that I was doing. Suddenly their attitude towards me had completely changed!!
Since they only had junk food in the house, I asked for some lettuce and carrots to prepare my lunch instead of just two slices of bread with Chocopasta or Pindakaas!! They answered saying that they would never buy me food to do an "Italian normal lunch." The attitude towards me wasn't positive at all, they just considered me as a worker and not as a member of the family!! So one day I grabbed the chance to speak with the host mother about how I felt. In her opinion I misunderstood: the uncomfortable atmosphere was just an impression of mine and they never asked me to do so much housework. In reality, they were just taking advantage of me!! I told her I was leaving because I felt really unhappy!!
That evening I also spoke with the father. His face was motionless and his stare was fixed on me. I suppose this was because he's a lawyer and he's used to behaving in a certain way to convince people he's right!! He said he was shocked about the recent news of my departure. He also said I misunderstood and that they never told me they would pay for all my transport. However they actually did and I had their emails to prove it. The mother also told me I was lying.
They asked me to stay until they found a solution and I accepted because I also wanted to search for another family. Since that day, things started to get worse and worse. The host mother didn't even say hi to me and their tone became rude. On two evenings the family locked me out and, even though I had my keys, I couldn't get in. I was so uncomfortable around them that I preferred not to have dinner rather than dine with them, but this wasn't a problem for them because they never waited for me.
I've never received any money from them and unfortunately I was running out of the money which my parents gave me so, five days after our discussion, I asked the father if he could give me half a months pay (considering I worked for them for two weeks). He replied that I had costed them too much money and that it was a good idea not to pay me. I really don't understand how I had costed them too much money, considering my Dutch course was originally arranged for a previous au pair, who had already left them. He also said that I had to leave the house right then and there!!! So I packed all my stuff up and went downstairs. I hadn't found a new family yet so I didn't know where to go. He wished me good luck and asked me where i was going. I lied to him saying that I had found a new family. I just walked out that door!!