My experience as an Au Pair didn’t get off to the best start. However, I decided that the bad experience wasn’t going to let my year living abroad and working as an Au Pair become a horror story. So, I turned the tables and spent a year living with a wonderful family in Milano, Italy. Although, this is how it all happened…
I originally left Australia to become an Au Pair for a family living in a small Tuscan village. From the moment they picked me up from the train station, I had a terrible feeling about the family and also about the location. Stupidly, I did absolutely no research about the town I was moving to, because I had this idea in my head of a perfect surprise. A perfect surprise was the case but in all the worst ways. I felt a deep sense of regret and questioned why I moved my life to the other side of the world. My work as an Au Pair in their family began at 12pm and finished at 9pm, all for a low 50 euros a week. The mother yelled at me over minuscule things e.g. if I hadn’t cooked the pasta exactly before the children came home. Now, I am certainly no master-chef, but I was hoping for the host mum to be patient and guide me during my first few weeks. Instead, she remained constantly angry and frustrated with every little thing I did “wrong”. I was barely able to eat any food in the house and I was only allowed one coffee a day because it was “too expensive”. This was not the fairy tale I had imagined. I lasted one week in Tuscany.
I began frantically searching for another available Host Family that would take me immediately. Here is where I found Sara, a single mum and her two kids living in Milano. I formed an instant connection with Sara and she quickly became a host-sister. I have done so many things with them during my year here: skiing in the mountains, relaxing at the beach in Sardinia, hiking in the Swiss mountains, Easter and birthday celebrations as well as weekly lunches at Nonni’s house.
I have become a member of their family and that has made my experience so great. My work with this family is very simple, after 4:30 Monday through Friday I am with the kids until after dinner. This means I am helping with homework, taking them to after school activities, watching movies and just hanging out with them. It’s awesome! I am just like a big sister to them. Once a week, I babysit for Sara during the night so that she can relax with her friends. I don’t just work either, I study Italian twice a week, go to the gym, hang out with friends and go on trips during the weekends. I have made friends from all over the world and with them I have had the most wonderful experiences and made unforgettable memories. My advice is to do your research and choose a family that resonates well with you.
After all, this experience is life changing. It gives you the opportunity to travel the world, earn a little money, become part of a family and make lifelong friendships.
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