Homesick as an au pair - What should I do?

(Also to be found with keywords Homesick as an au pair, Solutions for homesickness and Host family tips for homesickness)

It's not uncommon for au pairs to sometimes feel homesick. When you're far away from home for a longer time it's easy to miss your familiar life and loved ones in your home country. But feeling homesick doesn't have to be a big crisis when you know how to handle it.

young woman looking out of a window

Au pairs have all kinds of new experiences during their au pair stays. They encounter a new culture, a new country, a new family, new friends and a new language. Altogether this can be sometimes be overpowering and result in a feeling of everything being a little bit "too much". Typically this happens at some point near the start of the au pair stay and can also involve feelings of homesickness. 

As an au pair you should keep in mind that it is through the challenges of the new situation that you really begin to grow. And you can remember that it was precisely to have these new experiences that you decided to become an au pair. Your time as an au pair is a special and unforgettable chapter in your life and it also does not last forever. All the more reason to enjoy it in all its aspects while it is going on! 

Au pair tips for handling homesickness:

  • A well-regulated daily schedule helps. This lets au pairs plan their free time better and relax when not on duty.
  • Head out and make some new contacts. It's great to have other young people to talk to about what is going on in your life. Contact to other au pairs is especially good as they know the sort of challenges you're facing. If you meet au pairs who speak your native language then you don't have to worry about the language and can simply talk freely.
  • You shouldn't underestimate the value of your relationship to the host family. With a good trusting relationship to the host parents, an au pair has someone to talk to about problems that come up. The host parents are the people who are closest to the au pair at the beginning of the stay and are in the best position to offer assistance.
  • When feeling homesick, it sometimes is better not to call home directly and talk with your friends and family. What works better is to find a way to divert yourself in your present situation and do something that you enjoy. What sights are still to be visited? Heading out to discover something new about your current location and meeting other au pairs can work miracles. Regular talks with loved ones at home can then be a nice ritual in addition to this.
  • Au pairs can make their rooms into a little oasis. For example: Put a map of the host country in your room and mark all the routes and excursions you've already taken. Or hang pictures of family, friends and postcards you've received. 

Video: How to overcome homesickness?

Angela had a great experience as an au pair. Nonetheless, she also had some difficulties with missing her family, friends and regular life in Italy. In this video she tells how she overcame her homesickness.






Host family tips for helping an au pair with homesickness

Develop a personal relationship with your au pair

  • Actively involve the au pair in the life of the family and treat the au pair as a big daughter or son for the time of the stay.
  • Take an interest in the au pair and any problems they might be having. Talk with the au pair and ask how they are feeling and how you might be of assistance.
  • The host family can also help the au pair to make contact with other au pairs. Maybe there are other au pairs in the vicinity who speak the same language so that they can talk with each other in their native language.
  • Getting to know the region is very important. The host family can show the au pair the surrounding area and help with the organisation of a language course. You should also always encourage your au pair to discover the area on their own and to pursue their hobbies.
  • A basic schedule helps au pairs to plan their free time. A look ahead to the duties in the coming week is also helpful. A concrete schedule can also be a good support for the au pair. Why is this? It is easier to deal positively with whiny, complaining kids if one knows for sure that one will be meeting friends in the evening.

In addition, host families should regularly make it possible for au pairs to have two or three days off at one time. This makes it possible for the au pair to plan a small trip with other au pairs and experience something new. A good internet connection at home is also important so that the au pair can easily have contact with family and friends in their home country.