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.