My name is Marley, and ever since I was little I remember always wanting to travel. I grew up in North Carolina and lived in Tennessee last year working as an educational assistant. I have my elementary school teaching degree, but wasn’t ready to settle into an official career yet.
In January 2014, I decided I wanted to travel more. Before I graduated college, I had looked into joining the Peace Corps but decided two years was too long of a commitment for me. Someone suggested teaching abroad. I couldn’t find a program that interested me and lasted less than a year.
While searching the internet, I came across GeoVisions and their Au Pair abroad program. I decided with my childcare background, teaching certification, and love for children, being a live-in nanny was a great way to get paid and experience a new culture and travel.
I looked at all their Au Pair abroad options and decided on New Zealand, because it had a little bit of everything to offer.
And the best part -- they speak English, which was great since that’s the only language I know!
When I told my family and friends I was going to live in New Zealand for six months, they were all very excited and supportive. A lot of people were envious of all the amazing experiences I was going to have. (See below for some videos I shot in New Zealand.) Some of my friends have never left the States, and the ones who have know exactly how amazing and huge the world really is.
As my departure date got closer I kept wondering if this was really going to happen. Am I really about to go live in NEW ZEALAND?!? Is this real life?! I was nervous and excited and ready for an adventure!
I’ve been here a few months now and still have to stop and ask myself, "is all real?" It is! I am really living in a beautiful house, on the unbelievable New Zealand countryside, with an amazing host family, with two of the sweetest little girls to boot!
My host family really makes me feel like part of their family. Before I came to New Zealand I had never tried Indian food or lamb. It’s not very common where I’m from, so as soon as I got here that was one of the first things I did, and now I love them both! My host mother is even teaching me how to cook Indian so I can make it when I come back to the States.
During the week, I work Monday through Friday. Both children go to school, so I only work mornings: packing lunches, getting them ready and taking them to school; and afternoon/evenings: picking them up from school, taking them to their activities, cooking dinner, watching them until parents come home. I have most afternoons and every weekend off, so I'm usually out exploring/traveling around New Zealand with the other Au Pairs I have met through the program.
Not only do I get to experience the New Zealand Maori culture, but since my host family is Indian I get to experience that culture as well. I’ve been lucky enough to attend an Indian wedding with my host family, where my host mother let me borrow one of her stunning Indian dresses. I’ve also been to the Holi festival of colors as well. They also took me to a Cricket World Cup match, New Zealand vs South Africa Semi-final, and are even taking me to Australia with them at the end of the month!
My advice for potential Au Pairs is to make sure you either come early before your start date with your family, or stay later to make sure you are able to see everything the country has to offer. I came a week early and went to the South Island and worked my way back up to the North Island and will be going back to the South Island again for a long weekend before I leave. Also to remember when you’re looking for a family to be open-minded and embrace the experience of learning about different cultures!