How was it to adjust in a completely different / new country?
At the beginning it was really difficult, for sure. I felt homesick and even though Canada is pretty similar to Germany it’s still different. It takes a few weeks to settle in, make your room your room, find new friends and get familiar with the new environment. My biggest tip is to give yourself time. You will need it and should give yourself that time to organize your new life.
Have you been scared before applying to become an au-pair that you wouldn’t be able to continue with your bookstagram account?
I was most definitely nervous about it. You never fully know if you can continue the hobbies you have from home, in another country since the environment and opportunities are different. For my case, I was scared that I wouldn’t have the right lightning, background, accessories etc. but as you can see, everything worked out fine and I am more than happy how I developed my blog and instagram page during this year.
The lightning was actually even better than at home! Now, I am worried that when I come back home, my whole feed will change and that it’s going to be a big mess again, but I will figure it out for sure 🙂
What is / was your favorite part of being an Au-Pair?
For sure getting part of a new family. At the beginning you are living with strangers (in a way!), trying to settle in and now, at the end of my stay, they are my second family and I will miss them dearly. The connection you gain with the kids is so special and no one can take this from you.
Also, the part that you improve your language skills is an amazing side effect and the people and places you get to know makes it an unforgettable experience.
What was your favorite part of living in Canada / away from home?
My favorite part of being in Canada was that I could speak English all day long, meet people from a different part of the world, experience new traditions and just be away from home for some time. Being without your family in another country is a pretty darn cool feeling.
I felt and still feel so grown up and capable of doing everything I ever imagined to do. Now, when I think of going back home I am not scared to do the things I was scared of before. You grow so much emotion wise, character wise and metal wise. That year abroad really changes you and shapes you into the person you want to be one day.
What has been your best memory so far?
I have so many unforgettable memories with my host family and friends but I think my favorite one was our family vacation in Hawaii. That place made me feel so alive and so happy and I wish I could go back there, catch that feeling and put it into a jar. I think I’ve been the happiest version of myself in Hawaii.
Where do you get your craft ideas from?
My biggest biggest source is Pinterest. I have a board where I pin all my favorite ideas and then I ask my kids what they would like to do. If you are interested, here is my how to keep kids busy Pinterest board 🙂
I love love love doing crafts, so sometimes an idea just pops up in my mind and then I try to make it possible and fun for my girls 🙂 lucky they always like trying out new crafts!
Au-Pair / Living Abroad tips from me to you
From the beginning I would suggest you having an open and honest relationship to your host parents. Be honest with what happened during the day, how the kids behaved, what problems you might have had but also what went good. It will solve so many problems and conflicts you might have in the future.
make sure to know what your host family expects from you
…such as how to solve problems with the kids, curfew, usage of the car, free time etc.
stand up for your rights
You should have a contract where everything is written down about how many days off you get, how long you have to work, how much you get paid etc. and if your host parents don’t respect your rights or maybe just forget about them, then talk to them about it. It is so important. I know, it can be hard and if it happens just a few times then it’s okay, as long as it is okay with you but if it happens regularly then talk to them or someone from your agency and try to solve the problem.
don’t overthink – it’s your life
I am probably the best example for overthinking. I’ve always been a big over-thinker but it definitely became better during my year abroad because it is just not heathy and you can ruin your own happiness so much.
For example, I’ve always tend to be a more introverted person, which means I don’t have a problem with staying at home on a Saturday night and spending my night reading a book and watching a show. But of course, I am always asking myself what my host parents might think about me being so “boring”.
But actually it doesn’t matter, right? They can’t look inside of you and don’t know what you need at the moment. Probably they don’t even care and it is just that silly little voice in your head which try to make you feel unsure.
So, always remember to not overthink. It is your own choice how you spend your free time as long as nobody gets hurt.
you are part of the family
I always feel uncomfortable taking the last piece of bacon because I am scared someone else of my host family wants to eat.
I always make sure not to wash my laundry when my host parents might want to do theirs because it is not my house and I don’t want to be noticed as the person who holds up everything and bla bla bla.
Another example: My room is across the hallway from my host parents room. When I go to bed late and still have to brush my teeth, I wait in front of my door for minutes and have to remind myself that I am allowed to go to the washroom even tough it’s already 2 a.m. in the morning. Isn’t that the most dumbest thing to even have thoughts about?!
But the thing is you are part of this family and this is your home for a specific time. So, you have the right to eat whatever they are providing and wash your laundry whenever you want and use the washroom at whatever time you have to.
I know, I know in a way we are still guests and these are just examples. Of course, you shouldn’t be drinking that expensive Champagne your host mom got for her birthday or reserve the washing machine for weeks but I think you get the point I want to bring across.
importance of privacy
Sometimes it’s hard being a part of the family and employee at the same time. You are living in the same house as your employer and there might me situations where you just want to go in your room after a long day and don’t want to see your host family for a few hours and that is okay. That room is your private space and you are allowed to tell your host kids that you want to have some quite time. Because after you’re off, you’re off and are not required to entertain them and they all have to respect that.
At the same time you should provide your host family some privacy and give them some “family time” from now and then.
I really hope you found this Q&A helpful and my tips will help you on your own Au-Pair journey 🙂 If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me 🙂
Hope to see you soon again!