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If you have gotten this far, you’re obviously here for advice and tips & tricks on the wonderful trade of Au Pairing. Kudos to you.
You want to grow, and learn but most importantly make your time as an Au Pair a great experience. This brings you to the next question “Who is this “Karissa” chick and why should I listen to her?!”
That is a great question. An excellent one really. My name is Karissa and 3 years ago, I left America with a one way ticket to Barcelona to start my life as an Au Pair.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, I knew I wanted NOTHING to do with my degree. Studying nutrition seemed more of a hobby than a career choice and I needed something more.
During my last semester, I studied in Ortigia, Sicily. A tiny little island where no one spoke English and the closest thing to a fast food restaurant was a man who drove around a cart with sugared ricotta cheese. It was heaven. It was that time during my stay on the island that I knew I was going to travel once I was done with school, but how.
That’s where I met Suzy. Suzy was an advisor in the college who was originally from Scotland. When she finished her stint at university, she decided to Au Pair in Italy. At this point in time, I didn’t even know what Au Pair meant, let alone that I was destined to be one.
Once she filled me in about the glorious life of the traveling Au Pair, I was fascinated. I started looking for opportunities around the globe and saving money for my first exploration.
As soon as I hit the $1500 mark in my bank account, I was off with my first stop being Barcelona. Finding my first family was quite the hassle. Since I had never matched with a family before, I didn’t know what to look for.
After nearly two months of profile views, chats on skype and denials, I found the Costas’. They were a family of four living 40 minutes from Barcelona in a quiet little village where no one spoke English. I hopped on the plane and was on my way.
My first two weeks there were rough, I had no friends, no one to talk to and did nothing but stay inside. The family was perfect, the kids were amazing, yet I could not find my place. One day, while I was taking the kids to music lessons, a lady overheard me chatting with one of the kids. Turns out, she was from the US too and had been living in the village for the past four years with her husband and son. She taught college level English and just like that I became an assistant English teacher at the local college.
That is where I met all my friends and found the young adult culture I have been looking for my entire stay. It was a crazy three months, but once December came along, I had the urge to leave and explore some place new. Within a few weeks I found a lovely family in Limerick, Ireland, where I was to stay for 3 months.
I left my incredible family and home in Barcelona and jet setted to Ireland. Within a week, I realised what a huge mistake I had made. The family, who seemed great on paper and in Skype calls, weren’t as they seemed. I wasn’t happy and it was obvious they were not comfortable with someone living with them.
After the end of my second week, they called me downstairs and told me they didn’t think it was working out. I immediately ran up the stairs, full of hope, into my room and got to work finding a family. Within two hours, I found a family of 5 in the west of Ireland who were ready to take me as soon as the following Monday.I packed up my things and was out of the house before I could even make the bed.
After one day with my new family, I was hooked. The town, the kids, my house parents. I couldn’t have asked for a better match! I ended up staying with that family for 2 years. A crazy, chaotic, loving, adventurous 2 years.
Since last year, I have been working on a self-help site for Au Pairs called AuPairLife.me . It’s a great way to learn how to connect with other au pairs in your area, print off sample contracts and have access to handout for tips and tricks to having a healthy relationship with your house kids and house parents.
Together with EazyCity, I’ll be bringing you weekly content. From Snapchat takeovers (make sure you follow : eazcitygoabroad ) interviews with amazing Au Pairs I’ve met along the way, Live Facebook Q&A sessions and blog posts full of top tips and advice on how to have the best au pair experience.
If you ever find yourself feeling like all the hope is lost and maybe Au Pairing isn’t for you, bookmark this page and come back every time you’re feeling low. I promise you, I’ve been there, I’ve dealt with it and know how to help!