My name is Lena. I come from Serbia, and I'm 19 years old. I have had only one, but unforgettable experience as an Au Pair. It all happened in Italy, land of my dreams, in summer this year. I have been studying Italian since I was 9 years old, and that is my major in college. My university here in Serbia is not in the city where I am from, so I knew I was going to need some money for rent during my studies. That is how I decided to merge work, profit, personal growth and enjoyment all in one.
As someone who has been studying Italian for all her life, I wanted to spend my longest summer in Italy. But, also as a very responsible girl I have always been, I wanted to be useful. Working with kids came as a solution naturally, I have a younger brother, and I know what it means to be a role model. I found a beautiful family in a village near Milan to be my host. I still hear from them every two or three weeks, I have really grown to love those children. Matilde is 4 years old, Ludovico is 1 year old, and Amelia was born while I was staying with them. With them I have had the time of my life. It was hard to say goodbye to someone so dear. It was more difficult saying goodbye to them than to my own family when I was leaving Serbia. We took field trips, swam in the pool together, played with their cousins and friends and Mati also learned some English. My heart melted when she asked me to teach her some Serbian words. Then I knew I reached those kids' hearts.
A few days ago, their mother told me Ludovico said my name, he wasn't speaking while I was there, so it made my nostalgia only greater. When the parents had to leave the house so the mom could give birth to Amelia, I can't say I wasn't scared, but I knew everything was going to be alright, because the kids listened to me, not because they were scared, but because they saw me as their friend. Besides endless love I also got to feel how life in a foreign country is. I realised that everything I thought I knew about Italy and Italians had to be forgotten so I could really understand them. Living with an Italian family, sitting with them during their supper, sharing the same roof over our heads, makes you realise how little books and theory mean in real life. Nobody can experience those kinds of things for you, that is something everyone lives in their own way. I am not going to write how much my Italian has gotten better.With deeper understanding of culture comes a deeper understanding of language and expression. Being an Au Pair has made my life better in ways I could write about until the New Year. I am definitely going to do it more than once, via this website of course, why changing things that work great - right? I warmly recommend it to everyone.
Don't be afraid, only good things can happen if you push your limits. Being an Au Pair doesn't only make you learn a new language or a culture, above all, it makes you know yourself better, you will discover some things about yourself that you were unaware of, and that is the most valuable thing in the world - self conscience!
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