All that I thought it would be and more... PDF Print E-mail

 It all started in October 2008. Graduating from University and growing up was slowly but surely starting to become a reality for me and stepping into the grown-up world, where working 9:00-17:00 everyday would be what I would be doing for the rest of my life, I thought about taking a break. Thus my journey as an au pair began and here I am, 6 months later, living in the Capital of the United States of America, Washington DC.

So far, the experience has been wonderful. I am learning so much; about children, the American lifestyle, independence, responsibility and so much about myself. It is a big step out of your comfort zone to travel alone and to be away from home for a long time, though all the good times and the experience you gain from this is worth all of the worry and homesickness.

“The best things in life are free.” That is something I see everyday. Just the warm, fuzzy feeling that you get when you pick the children up from school to see that they have drawn a picture of you or asking if you could stay forever; that is priceless. Of course it is hard work. To raise a child is sure not easy. But it is, without a doubt, rewarding and a lot of fun. Children are a big responsibility but in the same breath, it really is an amazing experience. Some days, I have to pinch myself to realize that I am getting paid to go to the park and have ice cream. I feel that I can really enjoy the small things in life which, in the usual 9:00-17:00 routine, I would have never done.

Of course I miss my family and my friends but luckily these days, with technology, it is almost effortless to stay in touch and communication is really easy.

So that, in a nutshell, is my experience so far. I was fortunate to be blessed with absolutely amazing host parents, whom obviously, contribute to my happiness and me not feeling homesick. For me, being an au pair in America has not only been life changing, it made me start to really enjoy every moment of life. I think in 10 years from now, I would look back at this experience and think, I wish that I could turn back time and relive every single second of it...

By: Marike Claassens

Au Pair, Washington DC