So many thoughts have been going through my head on what I want to do after I get back from South America.
My original plan was to just stay in Colorado and do some traveling when I could, but then I had a crazy thought. I asked myself why I wasn't simply living in another country instead of just traveling around all the time.
Then the thought occurred to me; I should look into becoming an Au Pair for a family.
I love working with children (I'm currently a nanny here in Chicago) and I love traveling. I decided to combine those two together. Au Pair! I have been doing plenty of research since the idea popped up in my mind. Many people think I'm crazy because the idea of living and working with a complete stranger on a different continent can be quite overwhelming and scary at first. I believe I grow the most in these situations. I love the unpredictability that comes with starting something completely new.
I also love the idea of being immersed in the culture. I wouldn't just be living on my own or staying at a hotel; I would be living with the culture, language, and history of the country, which is pretty exciting to me.
This experience would be at a perfect time in my life as well. I'd be 22 years old, single, and finishing up school. I would be finishing school online and doing the same exact thing in my home country, so I figured this would work out perfectly for me.
Many thoughts have been popping up in my head. The thought of the family being the exact opposite of what they seem over Skype could be terrifying and very much possible.
I've also thought whether or not I should go through an agency. It would definitely be a lot more safe and not as many risks involved if I went this route. The only downside is the large fee that comes along with that. The fee seems to be worth it to me since there are so many risks involved, and also so many things could go wrong. Having that support and help throughout my stay would be awesome.
I developed a profile on Au Pair World and a few other sites and have been getting nonstop messages. I'm really only looking for families in Europe currently (Germany more specifically). I have been getting requests from families in Austria, Italy, France, Germany, and China. I am staying away from Italy as I've heard the visa process for a long stay while working is difficult, as with other countries as well. Germany is by far the easiest (or at least I believe so from my research, and I would get the most benefits there).
I realize there are many cons to being an Au Pair just as there are pros. I would be devoting my time and life to a family and their children. I wouldn't get to come home whenever I please (unless I get lucky and get a studio or guest house).
Many people complain that the pay is way too low for what Au Pairs do, but it really depends on the family and how much they are paying you along with the other benefits you are receiving.
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Would you ever think about becoming an Au Pair? Do you know anyone that has been an Au Pair once before?