Traveling to another country to work as an Au Pair is a unique experience, where you will grow and change your life completely. You are probably thinking, “What can I do for a whole year as an Au Pair?”
If you are reading this and you are already an au pair then here is a curated list of 21 Tips & Things you should do before your au pair year comes to an end.
1. Be a tourist in your city
Please take advantage of your days off to get to know every corner of the city that you are living in. And once you feel safe, encourage yourself to get lost in it and visit the hidden gems of the place.
Try out the local restaurants, visit the museums and attend social gatherings and do a lot of other things to immerse yourself in the culture.
2. Have a bucket list of things to do
You never know when you will visit that country again after your au pair year comes to an end, so don’t miss out on admiring the emblematic places where all the tourists go.
Your au pair year will fly by really fast so you need to be intentional about how you spend your time.
To make sure you keep track stay and don’t postpone doing things, come up with a bucket list of all the places you want to visit and things you want to do. That way you can cross them off as you do each one.
3. Take the train or bus
Sometimes your host family may give you a car to use or you may have saved up enough to get yourself one. While this is very convenient for getting around local places, I recommend using public transportation like trains and buses as often as you can.
This is one way to immerse yourself in the culture, interact and meet people while you travel and a great way to see the area properly as opposed to when you are driving.
4. Try out the street food and local cuisine
There is a saying that the best food is sold in street stalls, which is undoubtedly true in many cases. Make sure this is on your list of things to do.
Try out a variety of street food for a different cultural experience.
Enjoy all the local food without hesitation.
Eat traditional food to get to know the authentic culinary culture of the place.
The further away you go from the food you eat at home, the more your taste will expand.
This is also a great way to interact with the locals where you live or in places you are visiting.
5. Budget and visit as many cities as you can
Feel the rhythm of your destination; spend time doing nothing more than touring the city and observing its people; you will find more interesting stories and situations than any television show.
During your au pair year, make it a point to visit as many places as you can and see as many cities as you can.
If you’re an au pair in America, here are 25 Best Places to Visit in the USA and Why.
6. Be open to meeting all kinds of people
Make friends with strangers; you will meet incredible and unique people during your year as an au pair.
You can even discover the city together, but don’t forget to ask them for their social media, so you don’t lose contact!
7. Take lots of photos
Take all kinds of selfies and photos for memories, especially if you are traveling alone.
Take photos of the food you eat, the places you visit, public transportation, anything that catches your interest.
These are the memories you will keep for a long time and stories you will one day show and tell your grandkids from your au pair year.
8. Post as much as possible on social media
One of the best ways you can keep your memories alive is by sharing the pictures you take during your au pair year on your social media.
It’s also an opportunity to become an influencer if that is something you have ever dreamed of becoming. Share your travels, or just your day to day au pair life and experience and build an audience while you are at it.
9. If something fails, laugh about it and move on
Things don’t always go according to plan during your au pair year and in life in general, so take it easy.
The best thing you can do is laugh about it and accept that it will become an anecdote. Whether it’s a bad day with your host kids, host family or being home sick always try to focus on the positive and find the good in every situation.
Laugh it off if you can, and move on. Don’t allow anything to ruin this once in a life opportunity to experience and immerse yourself in a different culture.
10. If necessary, change
Change your plans and learn to go with the flow. If you are not happy where you were placed, don’t be afraid to go into rematch and find another family or place you like better.
Traveling is also another area to be adaptive. Without a doubt your au pair year will help you bring your spontaneous side to light, fear not!
11. Who you stay with is more important than where you live
Don’t make the mistake of only focusing on where you want to live, like New York or LA. Focus on finding a great host family to stay with and you can always visit all the other places you want to visit.
You may get placed in the city you love but have to stay with host family that you are not comfortable with. But if you find a good host family and you are happy with them, it make a big difference in your stay in a foreign country and how well you enjoy it.
12. Always stay in the present
Live the moment. Don’t waste too much of your time stressing about what you will do after your exchange year comes to an end.
Stay in the present and enjoy every moment of your cultural experience.
In this way, you will keep spontaneous memories with stories worthy of an autobiography.
13. Minimize technology
Of course, it does not mean that you lose contact with the people waiting for you at home but try to leave your phone in your pocket.
You will see more things you might otherwise miss by looking at your screen.
14. Say yes to (almost) everything
Try out as many new experiences as possible.
Try doing things you would never try at home.
But also don’t forget your limits and be careful about your integrity! It is essential to be safe and to also not lose yourself during this year.
15. Change the way you see the world and its people
Learn to appreciate how different and similar we all are.
Try to leave most of the prejudices at home and be open to everything new that awaits you.
This is why it is called a cultural exchange, it’s an opportunity for you to experience a different culture and challenge yourself to get out of your shell.
16. Accept the weird
Cultural differences are revealing and fun! There are many things you will encounter and experience that you would consider to be weird simply because you come from a different culture. Accept it.
Also, keep in mind that probably the people you meet during your au pair year think that the customs of your home are strange too, so it will be a super fun culture blend.
17. Put effort into learning the language
If you travel to a country where they speak a different language than yours, do your best to learn their language and speak like a local.
Not only will you be stretching yourself, but you will develop a new skill of speaking that language that you can carry with you into your next experiences after being an au pair.
18. Use some of your time to learn about other cultures
During your time as an au pair, you will meet different people from other cultures. Take time to also learn about their cultures and where they come from. These experiences are invaluable and can help you become a culturally diverse individual.
You can even also learn from other girls who work as an au pair.
Everyone can teach you something.
19. Connect with the local culture
I assure you that only by doing this you will be able to look at the world from a new and broader point of view.
Understand the local lifestyle. Go to festivals if you can.
Learn regional customs by going to local exhibitions and so on.
20. Cheer on the local sports team
One great way to immerse yourself into the culture of the local area where you stay is to pick a local team to support and attend the games.
Even take it step further and cheer for your team the way you do in your country, and you’ll leave the locals in awe, as your cheering is likely to be different from theirs, and it’s a great icebreaker.
21. Learn more about the history of the places you visit
Take time to visit and appreciate the historical monuments of your destination.
Understand the past of the city. Museums are a good starting point.
Lastly, have fun and remember you only get this one chance to be an au pair. Make the most of your time and make sure you have no regrets at the end of your time in your host country.
Allow yourself to grow and stretch yourself beyond what you would normally do. And you will find that you will be a completely different person at the end of your experience.