How to get the most out of an Au Pair trip abroad.
Thinking about becoming an au pair abroad? Here's how you can get the most out of the experience, from someone who has been there, done that! Our very own Global Traveller Hope is currently living the dream abroad as an au pair in Italy, and is sharing everything she's learnt along the way.
Ask yourself, is becoming an Au Pair for me?
Coming from Canada, becoming an Au Pair, and travelling to Europe for the first time had both its challenges and exciting new opportunities! If you love kids, have a desire to get out of your comfort zone, travel around, and want to meet and build connections around the world - Au Pairing is for you! Not only do you get the first-hand privilege of feeling like a local in a whole new country, but you get to explore, potentially learn a new language, and make incredible new friendships!
Embrace your experience
Travelling somewhere completely new is scary but oh so rewarding! Embrace the unknown. Check off those bucket list items! When I arrived, I had only learned a bit of Italian through Duolingo. I quickly learned that not knowing a language is a humbling experience. I took an Italian language course, practised, and attempted to speak Italian, although I 100% embarrassed myself on the daily. Even though I live in Italy, I sometime's still feel like a tourist and that's okay. Give yourself grace, respect the culture, and fake it until you make it.
Lots of firsts
When you arrive, there are lots of firsts you need to overcome and experience. Taking care of the kids alone for the first time, ordering a cappuccino in Italian, visiting all the sights of the city you live in, your first trip, and your first friend you'll make. Moving somewhere completely new and not knowing the language is terrifying, but confidence is key. Go with the flow. Go and meet other Au Pairs. You are all in the same boat, and finding that group of friends to build community with is huge! I was and am incredibly grateful for the friendships I’ve made and the trips we’ve taken.
Be the Tourist
When I arrived, I tried to avoid feeling and looking like a tourist. I tried to dress the Italian way, not drink cappuccino after 11 a.m, and absolutely no pineapple on pizza. Attempting to fit in has its pros and cons. It’s a great and different experience. You discover how amazing something can be to try it in a new way. But don’t lose yourself in the process. Respect the culture and city you live in, but don’t change your personality and character to “fit in.” So be the Tourist! Visit those top destinations and landmarks, order the food in Italian, eat the delicious food, wear those crocs, and make those memories.
For the ultimate work & travel experience, look no further than an Au Pair trip with Global Work & Travel!