What was the most difficult part about leaving home and your comfort zone to embark on your program in Australia?
I was 26 when I decided to leave California and head to Australia. That being said, I had built a pretty comfortable routine in my adult life prior to embarking on my program.
Fear of the unknown is always a factor when stepping out of my comfort zone, but the adrenaline and excitement of starting a new journey overshadowed any difficulties or anxiousness about leaving home.
Had you done a lot of international travel prior to this trip? Where have you been, if so?
Prior to this trip, I had only travelled to Mexico and Central America…So the very long 15 hour flight was a new experience!
What do you currently do now for work?
Upon returning to the states, I began working for an Australian company, Corporate Traveller (Flight Centre Travel Group) as a corporate travel manager. I’d never felt like a job was more perfect to jump into at the time combining all my recent travel experience and administrative skillset. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, travel decreased and because of the lack of meaningful work I’ve been laid off and am back on the job hunt!
How did you feel you were able to make a positive difference in your host family’s lives during your time with them?
My host family was the absolute greatest and I feel like I had learned as much from them as they did from me. I was able to teach the girls a little bit of Spanish during my stay. Having my assistance in the household definitely made the daily routine smoother and less stressful on my host parents. Wherever I could make their very busy lives easier, I jumped right in!
How did spending time engaging in a different culture impact how you feel now about community?
Living abroad and being fully immersed in a culture different than my own has taught me a lot about community. I’ve learned that just because I was raised a certain way or just because there is only one way we have always done things, someone out there is doing things differently and we can all learn new things from each other. No one is right or wrong, there are just so many different perspectives to see things from.
Did your goals change after your au pair experience? If yes, how so?
Everything changed for me after my experience as an au pair. Prior to this program, I worked as a store manager for Starbucks and likely would have put all my focus into climbing a corporate ladder if I stayed in the US. After finishing up my stay with my host family, I decided to spend a few months traveling through South East Asia, Europe, and Canada before returning “home.” I met countless beautiful souls and experienced the world so differently throughout that time. After this experience, I had a greater motivation to take care of the planet and others. My goals have become less about successes climbing a corporate ladder and more about meeting more people, seeing more places, and inspiring others to do the same. My definition of “success” has changed.
What would you recommend to others who are looking to become an au pair for the first time?
If you’re thinking about taking this opportunity, just do it! You won’t regret the growth that this brings to your life. When you move to your destination, don’t hesitate to try all the new things that you can, meet new people, and fully immerse yourself in to the new culture wherever you can. Everyday you work with your host family, bring all your care and dedication to them.
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