au pair

Selina’s life as an Au Pair in Ireland

by Sabrina on May 24, 2024
Selina’s life as an Au Pair in Ireland
First of all, I would like to thank my host family for all the memories I was able to create with them.
I can highly recommend being an Au Pair once in your life and experiencing the local way of life, discovering parts of yourself you never knew existed, as well as creating lifelong memories.

Selina’s experience in Ireland

Irish people are known for their friendly and outgoing nature. No matter where you go, you feel welcome. Unlike in Germany, the shops here are open seven days a week, which took some getting used to. The biggest change for me was the left-hand traffic. My host parents were a great help here. They gave me a few driving lessons at the beginning, which gave me confidence. I quickly got used to the sometimes very narrow roads. After two weeks, driving was a cinch. One of my goals abroad was to improve my English skills and to get to know my strengths and weaknesses. I also wanted to learn more about Ireland's culture and school system. And what better way to do that than by being part of a local family and being fully integrated into their lives? Through conversations with my host parents about various topics such as traditions or the school system, as well as through the older child's homework, I was able to learn a lot about Irish culture and I also got an insight into how the Irish school system works. Among other things, I am very impressed by the methods used here to deepen the language. I will definitely incorporate some of the teaching methods as well as all of the facts I discovered about Ireland in my future profession. Being jointly responsible for two small children has also given me a good insight into what to expect later when I have children of my own.

A new adventure begins

My adventure officially began on the 19th of September 2022. I flew alone for the first time to a country that was previously foreign to me. From Dublin airport, I took the bus to Limerick. During the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Limerick, I already had the opportunity to see some of Ireland's beautiful countryside. When I arrived there, my host father and his older son (6 years old) picked me up from the bus and welcomed me warmly. After the long journey, my host mother and her younger son (3 years old) were already waiting for me at home and had prepared a delicious dinner for me. Before the meal, I found time to give the family my gifts for them and was delighted to see the beaming faces of the two little ones. My worries beforehand about whether the children would get used to a stranger/Au Pair and whether I would be accepted proved to be wrong within the first few days. The two little ones got used to me very quickly and kept asking me if I could go everywhere with them. I loved them right away.

A typical day in Selina’s life

During the week, my typical day started at 7.30 in the morning with making breakfast and preparing the lunch boxes and water bottles. Most of the time my host mother took her children to school, only occasionally I took over. After the children were out of the house, I did the housework such as washing clothes, hanging and folding them, vacuuming or mopping, cleaning out the dishwasher, and making the children's beds. When I took the children to school, I often did the grocery shopping at the same time. Between 9.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. I had time for myself and was allowed to use the car for that. I used my free time to run errands for myself and to work on my studies. At 2.30 p.m. I collected the older one from school and we either went swimming for an hour or played with his toys in the garden or the house and did his homework. Around 4 p.m. I picked the little one up from creche, which is similar to a daycare centre. From 6 p.m. onwards, I was off work, but I usually spent some hours with the host family playing games or exchanging jokes. I always used the late evening to stay in touch with my family and share my experiences.
As a former competitive swimmer, I really enjoyed going swimming with the children twice a week. It was such a pleasure to watch them learn to love the water and become real water rats. However, we always had a lot of fun at home, too, whether it was colouring or drawing, playing Lego or board games or doing puzzles. We also always found time to craft toys or decorations, which was especially nice for Halloween and Christmas. Baking cakes and other treats with the little ones was also special. We were never bored.
The weekends were very relaxing for me. Sometimes we went on trips together and occasionally I looked after the little one for two hours when the host mother was at dance competitions and the host father took the older one to soccer or basketball trainings and matches.

Final thoughts on the Au Pair experience

For four months I was able to look after two wonderful children who have taken a very special place in my heart. Of course, looking after a three and six-year-old is sometimes a bit challenging. But I never felt that I couldn't handle it, on the contrary, I always had a lot of fun inventing new activities. In addition, I learned so much and was able to gain other important life experiences. I really liked the fact that both children are adventurous and adorable and we always had something to laugh about.
In all that time, there was nothing I didn't like about my experience. From the moment I arrived and joined the family, I felt welcomed and loved. Since I was part of the family from the beginning, I never felt that my time as an Au Pair was a job. Most evenings, after the children were asleep, we used to sit together and talk about life things and enjoy each other's company.
I see this family as a gift and it will be very difficult for me to say goodbye to them in less than a month. I am very grateful for this time. It has had a great impact on me and I will always remember it with joy. It is also certain that this contact will continue in any case.
Some Thoughts...
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