Homesickness is bound to happen, but what should you do about it? If you are a Host Parent, be considerate of the fact that homesickness is going to happen. It may not happen right away, as everything is new and the honeymoon period can last a few weeks.
When it happens, be sure to encourage your au pair to share his or her feelings with you. Do not judge them; they are enthusiastic and courageous young people having the experience of a lifetime, but they are just human. We all need a little support now and then. Encourage Skyping, emailing, or writing letters home to family and friends. Find a local activity for your au pair to do during his or her off-duty time which will enhance or develop an interest or hobby.
If you are an au pair, accept the love and support of those around you. When homesickness happens, be honest with your host family and let your feelings out. That doesn’t mean allow yourself to lose control, but express your feelings and you will feel better. Find an activity you can do. Sign up for your college class and meet some new friends. Keep a journal of your feelings and experiences. This is a life-changing experience and you may want to remind yourself of some of the details later!
As I write this post, I think of Anna, an au pair returning to Russia soon after two years with the same American family in Massachusetts. She has become very close with the family, but may not expect to feel homesick when she leaves America! Summer Blackhurst reminds us that reverse homesickness can happen, and it is sometimes just as hard to leave as it was to come! Read Summer’s Blog Be prepared to write, Skype and email when your au pair returns home, too!