My name is Kelsi and I work as an au pair in France through GeoVisions. I’ll admit I’m no sage, I have relatively little life experience compared to others, and my advice is probably not that reliable. That, however, does not stop most people from offering their opinion as if it is fact, and it is not going to stop me either!
So, here are the top five reasons why I think it’s absolutely necessary to travel abroad. Keep in mind, though, when I say travel abroad I don’t mean a vacation for two weeks maximum, or even backpacking across Europe (still to be crossed off my bucket list in 35 days and counting).I mean immersing yourself in a culture, living with and becoming part of a family. For me this meant being an au pair in France for six months.
5. You learn a lot about yourself; for example how you handle stress. For me it was rashes all over my arms and face. Charming right? However, this was a good indicator that I have been lying to myself for the past 23 years by thinking I am easy going. That allusion was quickly shattered and replaced by the aforementioned rashes. Once I realized this I found bliss in REALLY being able to let go and just be at ease with whatever may come. Self-discovery is rare in life but totally unexplainably amazing.
4. Learning a new language is bon pour la santé (good for your health.) Admittedly extremely frustrating at times, but the challenge is addicting and incredible.
3. Being an au pair in France, I literally wake up every morning with a smile on my face while knowing I took a leap and decided to do something most people are either scared to do or are too busy making up excuses as to why they can’t. I had a great job, I am a full time student, and it’s not as if I didn’t have “obligations” at home, but I was surprised to find out just how un-obligatory they were. What else to do have to do with your life besides live it? Make a plan, say a prayer, and “Just do it.”
2. The world isn’t as scary as everyone makes it out to be. I am not saying that there aren’t great tragedies and everything is rose colored, but I am saying that there are way too many naysayers. I became an au pair in France shortly after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris. Oh boy did I hear endless beseeching for me not to come here! That, of course, was not an option for me but it did frighten me a lot. All I have to say now is SHUT UP PEOPLE! I have had the amazing blessing of being placed with an incredible family, but I have also found that people really are good. The hospitality I experience on a daily basis is incredible; whether it is at school or the bakery, people are kind if you take the time to know them.