My stay as Au Pair during the summer was with a family in Cornwall, England. I went over to the UK for two months this past summer, and even though the family had told me before hand that we were going to see different places in the area, I would have never dreamt of visiting so many different places and exciting sites!!
The village I lived in was called Helston and it was a rather small place, but as I said, we moved around so much, that we hardly spend much time at home. The host family was very open from the first moment and always invited me to join them, if I wanted, also in my free time. I don´t even know where to start to tell you about all our trips: Paradise Park, Eden Project, Swimming pools, Water-adventure parks, farms, all sorts of different beautifu villages and towns around. We went camping, out for dinners, excursions etc. And all that in the great and wonderful company of 9-year old Tommy abd 3-year old Caelan.
The most important thing to mention regarding all these activities is probably that I always felt as part of the family and fully integrated. I never felt as someone employed by the family, but as another member, and this made me very happy, as it was what I had been looking for. When you are a young person who comes to live together with a family abroad with another language and different cultural background, it can be a bit scary and nerve-wrecking at the beginning. Therefore I was so lucky, that they made me feel so comfortable around them. Of course I did understand from the start, that I had to put my part into the program as well and establish a good relationship with the children to make it work. That´s why I put myself at total disposition to the family and every time they asked me to participate in an activity, I offered my help and asaitance, even though it was outside my official "working hours".
The household duties were easy generally, as the family mainly wanted me to do childcare. But even though I think it is always good to offer a helping hand with washing the dishes, clear the dishwahser, hang up the clothes and set the tabe.... The time with the chidren, was mainy entertaining and playing in the garden, draw and paint, go for a walk to the park or a bikeride. We also went for lovely beach walks and discovering little villages in the surrounding. I used to pass the whole day with the family and the children, mornings and afternoons. My main help was needed during the afternoons and until bed-time. I was usually in charge of bathing them, changing them and getting them ready for bed. The parents however were always around to give me hand, if needed.
Being an Au Pair has made me see and learn about a different culture to the one I was brought up in. At the same time I was able to practice and improve my language knowledge and have an unforgetable experience with a wonderful family.
To become a new member of a famiy, it is important to be able to adapt yourself. In the end it´s the famiy, who offers you their home and their time.
I am keeping very beautiful memories from my trip and will hopefully inspire some new candidates who are thinking of going abroad in the future.