Have you ever heard of being an au pair? Have you ever wondered what it would be like? Why would someone want to do it?
Here is a short story of my au pair experience..
In 2010 I was a young professional living in the beautiful, bustling city of Los Angeles, a dream come true for so many people. While I loved my time in La-La-Land, after spending a year and a half there I was over it. When I was looking in all directions to find my next adventure I learned about the exchange experience known by many as being an au pair.
Through a couple degrees of separation, I was introduced to a family in Torino, Italy. They were seeking to find a young American woman to come live with them and speak English with their children in exchange for room & board. After a skype call across the globe I felt an unbelievably good connection with the Italian family and decided to just go for it. I quickly started selling everything I owned and booked a one way flight to Italy for early January 2011.
I had no idea what the next year of my life would bring. Realistically I had no idea if anyone would even be waiting for me at the airport when I arrived in Torino.
What did my job duties look like, as an au pair?
My duties generally included speaking conversational English with the children (3 and 6 years old), taking them to birthday parties, playing in the yard after school, managing meals, facilitating the bed time routine, and staying home 3-4 nights a week to be the “adult” at home for the night. I usually had Saturday and Sunday nights off, except for one weekend a month when I “worked.” Working for the weekend usually meant traveling somewhere beautiful with my family and helping with the kids throughout the weekend.
The next 11 months of my life turned out to be an incredible experience that I would never forget. I cultivated deep friendships that are still growing today. I learned sooooo many things about myself and what I wanted from my time here on our beautiful planet. I became close with a new family that I grew to call my own, and loved deeper than I could have ever imagined. I learned about, and adapted to, a language, culture, and lifestyle that I completely fell in love with.
Had I known of the plentiful opportunities that are available to young people, through an au pair exchange, I likely would have put off college for 4-5 years and spent my early 20’s as an au pair. I would urge anyone who has the desire to travel the world through an exchange to consider this as an option. If you have any questions about my experience or how to have an experience like this of your own, you can contact me here.