Dear future Au Pair or traveler,
I found that no matter how many questions you ask, websites you research or time spent worrying, you will not find all the answers before beginning your travel abroad experience. One of my life motto’s to live by is ‘You wont know the answer until you ask the question’ which translates to , if you want to experience something new, then the only way to find the answers is to get up and go!
Through reading this post, I hope you find some answers to your questions. I can’t give you all the answers but I want to help by sharing my experience and what I’ve learnt so far.
Here are 5 things I know now, but didn’t know then
1. Where to hold your money before setting up a bank account
Before I arrived to Raleigh and my new Au Pair adventure, I knew I would be spending a few days in New York which meant I wouldn’t be able to open a US bank account right away. I wanted to hold my money securely and limit the amount of cash I was carrying. I visited my local bank in Ireland and they informed me that I would be charged whilst using my bank card internationally and may receive security alerts for using my card out of Ireland. My next step was to visit the local post office. They informed me about their hassle free , pre-paid Travel money card . I was able to sign up and load the card on the same day with my currency of choice. I used this card during my time in New York and during my first few weeks in America, until I got my Social security number. (You need your SSN before you can open a bank account).
My host family advised me on which bank to use. Once I’d chosen which bank to use, I visited their branch and opened an account the same day. I was given a temporary card until my permanent card arrived, within 2 weeks by post.
2. Packing – What do I really need?
Ever hear of the Carrie Bradshaw quote ‘I like my money right where I can see it….hanging in my closet’ . Well pre-Au Pair I was that person. Over the years, I had accumulated a lot of clothes, shoes and bags which meant packing was going to take some time as I wanted to bring everything! I don’t know why, but I was under the impression that America didn’t have clothes shops and as a result I wouldn’t be able to buy anything new, so I had to pack my full wardrobe!
However with luggage allowance limited to one checked bag and one carry on case, I had to be realistic about what I needed and not what I wanted.
My advice to help with packing is to do some weather research on the location and have a look at the local trends. Pack for the season that you will be arriving. Once you have settled into your new place, you can shop for items you will need. If you arrive during a warm season, then save room in your suitcase and leave your winter coat at home! Take some advice from Teresa on how to pack lightly.
3. People are interested about your story
Be prepared for strangers to show an interest in your life. When I first meet people and my Irish accent comes through, the first question I am asked is ‘Where are you from?’ After we’ve established where I am from, I am then asked why America? How? What’s the Irish weather like? What are your thoughts about America?
Of course people will ask. Hearing a different accent is intriguing no matter where you are and I like when people ask questions. I enjoy meeting new people, and have found friends due to their curiosity regarding where I am from.
4. Once the wanderlust strikes, it can be hard to shake
For a long time, probably more than 5 years, I had a desire to go venture outside Ireland. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to numerous European countries for holidays. But I had this idea in my mind that I wanted to live somewhere else and fully experience another culture and way of life. I put this to the back of my mind, and I knew it would come back to visit frequently.
After meeting so many people from different countries and nationalities, I feel more open minded and more determined to learn about different cultures and other ways of living. And one of the perks of being an Au Pair? You meet people from all over the world which means you will always have the opportunity to visit them in their home country! Bonus travel opportunities 😀
5. You will settle in and make some great friendships !
Being comfortable in your new surroundings is important and it is sought after immediately. Understand that this process will take time. Everything is different but everything is new. That is very exciting!
I have developed relationships with so many people and have met some of the greatest friends here. I’m also a regular at the local gym, and if I miss a few days, I’ll receive a message wondering where I am. Soon enough you will feel part of your new family and you will experience all different situations.
On a final note, remember to take every opportunity, enjoy the experiences and make the most of your travels. And please don’t forget if you have any questions just ask. I’m always happy to help!Love, Becca x
Keep up to date with my experiences on my Instagram