Becoming an au pair was probably the best decision I ever made!
I always knew that I wanted to take a gap year before starting Uni. Being an au pair gives me the chance to take a break from school, figure out what I want to do, spend time with lovely children and their parents, and to live in England for a whole year.
I know that there are so called 'matching websites' for au pairs and host families where you just sign up and search for a family but I chose to apply for an agency. Hallo AuPair took so much weight of my shoulders. They have all the forms like child care references and medical statements ready and plan everything with you. They make sure to place you in a family that matches you and that is nice and welcoming and not just looking for a house keeper. I still remember when they called me to tell me, a family was interested and wanted to have an interview with me. Within four days, I found my host family, signed the contract and booked my flight.
It is much more secure to have a proper contract and it is reassuring to have someone from your agency you can contact I case of an emergency or if you want to change families. Fortunately I never had to do that.
The family they found for me is so lovely, I couldn't be happier. They are very welcoming and we get along really well. They have three kids, two girls (7 and 5) and a boy (3) and I love spending time with them. They all have their different personalities and we have a lot of fun together going to the park, playing in the house or just inventing fun games on the way to school. And when the children are in bed, I just spend time with the parents chatting or watching TV. I really became part of their family and I am so comfortable with them that I don't even get homesick. Of course, taking care of children can be exhausting and they can be annoying every now and again but they also bring you so much joy. There is nothing more fun than watching a child get excited about something. I never felt bored but I never felt overwhelmed, either.
I just really enjoy every part of my gap year! Being able to live in London, visit so many beautiful places every week, experience the English culture (red double-decker buses!) everywhere, go to the theatre, meet so many nice and open hearted people and speak English all the time is what I always wanted. I found many English friends in our local community and it's always great fun with them. You realize right away that people in England are much nicer than anywhere else. They make you fell welcomed from the first moment on.I also have to say that I am very glad I am here for a whole year and not just six month. It gives you more time to really build a life here and form friendships. That might not be what everybody is looking for but it was definitely the right choice for me.
Being here is such a great experience. I learn so many things about myself, about relationships, about the country itself. It takes courage to spend a year abroad with a family you don't know but in the end you will be much more open, courageous, self-confident and ready to face the world. It is definitely something that changes you (in a good way!) and that you will never forget! I can recommend becoming an au pair to anyone who is open for new experiences and likes spending time with children.
Be open and brave and you won't regret it!