How I became an au pair in the US… and how I survived it all (part 1)
Welcome in my first to-be-continued blog. As most of you already know, it has been almost a year since I left for my new adventure to the US. Some of you might know what is going on here. And some of you who had no idea, just relax, grab a pop corn (or a chocolate) and enjoy this reading. At the end I just want to assure you that everything you will read about is 100% truth. So have fun!
Everything has started on Friday, February 16th when I broke up with my ex boyfriend. As a classic woman I thought that my life was over and that I will die alone because nobody will ever want me. Also without any cats because you have to take care of them and I am too lazy to do so. As I was trying to find a new life purpose one day as I was crying, I was looking into my computer (I didn´t see a lot) and thinking what to next… I gave myself a question: “What have you ever wanted to do but you´ve never done?” It didn´t last long until I realized that I always wanted to go to the US. And so I typed down to my Uncle Google: “How I can get to the US.” And then I found it – a program Au Pair in America.
As I am remembering this day now, the day when I suddenly decided to do it, the only thing that sounded great for me was an option to go to the US, spend there a year for not a lot of money. Once I will be there I just have to take care of kids (what can be difficult about that…) and live in somebody´s family. Moreover, at the end of the year I will have a travel month which is a full month for travelling across the States. That sounds pretty good, right?
So, let´s start from the beginning…
Before I left
To be able to attend in this program you need to be up to 26 years old and you need some money – because nothing is for free. I enrolled at a time when my agency COOL Agent was offering 50% off and so all together I invested about 1000 EUR into this program (agency fees, embassy fee and a fee for the health insurance). Also it depends what is the agency you enroll with. There are so many of them, for example some girls are with agencies when they can work only up to 30 hours a week, another up to 45 hours (like me) and some of them work up to 60 hours a week. Your future host family pays for the flight ticket. But I will talk about it later.
Another important thing for potential au pair is that you need to have some experiences with kids – a proof how many hours have you spent as a nanny (family relative don´t count). During my almost three years of being gymnastics coach I have worked with kids more than enough but I needed also a proof or being a nanny. So I asked my neighbor and ex-coworker if they can give me references that I spent some time with their kids (which I saw just a few times in my whole life). Wuala, suddenly I had even more hours than I needed to have and that was it. Bingo!
In this moment it is time to mention all the never ending paperwork. Depending when you want to leave that much time you have. Some girls and boys (it´s not many of them but yes, there are some bro pairs as well!) are able to leave within 2 months. It took me 4 months. During these months I have created my au pair profile, record a representative video about myself, filled out a lot of papers and absolve a lot of online interviews until I found my “perfect” future host family. And I forgot to mention the most important thing – I had to successfully absolve character test and English language test (I did it during one evening after all day at work and I was so tired that I could barely see… and I made it!). But if you fail in one of those, there is no chance that you will be an au pair in America.
Travelling to NYC, lectures about safe driving and how to be a good au pair
After the deal with my host family (HF) I got a flight ticket for September 9th 2018.
All the au pairs who came today were accommodated in hotel Hilton in Tarrytown, about 40 minutes away from New York´s Manhattan. We came here for a three days orientation.
Today I met another 10 future au pairs who were signed for a driving school by their HF. We spent a whole day learning the things we already knew and the only thing I remember is that the instructor was obviously jealous about me going to Seattle because he was pointing on it all the day.
Day 2: Since the early morning until about 4pm we had lectures about how to survive the following year, what to expect, the lady told us a lot of unbelievable stories from the au pair life (some of them were so scary… and at this point I had no idea that one day I will have plenty of scary stories to talk about too…) and by 4pm we were done and had free time… And so, we decided to check out NYC! And I forgot to mention one thing – from yesterday evening until today´s morning 80 more girls came here! And if you want to read about our NYC trip, you can find it here.
Day 3: Again lectures, lectures, lectures. Some of them were more interesting, some of them were more boring but all of us couldn´t wait to be already over. One of today´s highlights was a girl who had every day a different wig. Her face was different but the personality stayed the same and so we could recognize her every time.
Day 4: Breakfast and leaving to our new host families. By trains, buses, some of the girls were picked up in person or we left to the airport…
I have to admit that managing of all the girls was very good!
Interesting thing is that most of the au pairs that come here are from Germany and Brazil. From Slovakia there was only one more girl and I have met two Czech girls as well. In general other than Germans and Brazilians there are also plenty of Spanish, Mexican and Polish girls.
So this is it for the introduction! In the next part I will tell you how was Seattle, why am I in Boston´s suburbs now and how my ordinary au pair day looked like.
See you next time.