Want to read all about the adventures of au pair Hannah in Australia? “I have always loved learning about new cultures, experiences and trying new things! It has been in my blood since I was a young teenager. The thought of travelling around the world was always super exciting to me and I crave new adventures.”
Love for Travel
I have always loved learning about new cultures, experiences and trying new things! It has been in my blood since I was a young teenager. The thought of travelling around the world was always super exciting to me and I crave new adventures. Being an au pair through cultural exchange was the perfect opportunity for me.
Teaching and playing with children had also always come naturally to me. My mom is an elementary school teacher, and I would like to volunteer and help her out on my days off from work. I would also always babysit the kids in my neighbourhood, and do volunteer activities with after school programs. In Asia, I was also an English teacher for the cutest children in Cambodia. I had already travelled around North America, most parts of Asia, and I wanted to explore a new continent. Australia had always been a dream destination for me, so I decided to make it happen.
Finding my Host Family
I had quite a few video calls with some families in Australia, but I knew that when I found the right one, there would be a ‘click’. Straight away I knew that me and my host mom had a connection, so we matched! We had the same sense of humour, and she felt very welcoming and I knew I would feel right at home with them. Also, the two kids were very outgoing, playful and excited to meet me! I couldn’t wait to arrive.
The First Weeks
When I arrived, my host mom had picked me up at the ferry with me only having a backpack and high spirits to be welcomed into a new family. Of course, I was also nervous and hoped they would like me!
The first evening the kids taught me a new card game, which was very fun. However, the best way we broke the ice was when my host dad prepped me on how to surf. You have to lay on the ground and paddle like crazy with your arms, and then stand up really fast without losing your balance. The host kids and I practised together for a while and had a lot of laughs. It was a funny experience to break the ice and get over any awkwardness.
I believe I was really lucky that their current au pair from Sweden would also overlap with me for my first week. She showed me the ropes and we became good friends quite quickly as well. So for the first week I came with her to the after school drop offs/pickups, make dinner together for the kids, make snacks, play outdoors, go on walks, bring them to their after school activities, and we also had time to ourselves on the weekends!
After that, she went back to Sweden and I was alone with the host family and host kids. We bonded quite quickly and I immediately felt like their older sister. It was sometimes hard for us to have boundaries as the kids didn’t really understand when I was ‘off duty’ or just hanging out at home. I didn’t really mind though! I really enjoyed spending time with them and we did a lot of activities together over the weekends as well.
Of course it was not always sunshine and rainbows, there were some power struggles and tantrums when they didn’t want to leave the playground after school, eat dinner, etc. But this is part of the challenge and you learn to handle these situations with time. Having patience is very important and you will learn this over time!
My host mom and I were always on the same side, which was really reassuring to me. We had a really nice connection and I could tell her things about my personal life over a glass of wine in the evening or a nice breakfast together if the kids were at a friends place.
At the end of my au pair adventure, we all went our separate ways. I was heading to the Netherlands to meet up with my partner, and my host family was heading to Cuba for a family vacation. We planned our flights on the same day and went to the airport together. It was emotional to say goodbye to the kids but I think that they were going on holiday made the goodbyes easier! I am still in contact with my host family and they are amazing. I loved the experience and if you want to grow as a person, this is the perfect opportunity!