I hope you have had time to read my first installation of her au pair experience, as Terri shares more of her first month in America. Terri is an au pair, young, adventurous and brave, who came from South Africa to MA to live with a single mom and her two kids. Terri provides full time childcare as well as child-related housekeeping for 45 hours each week. In return, she is paid a weekly stipend, has one and a half days off each week, two weeks paid vacation for the year, and her Host Family will pay up to $500 toward her educational requirement.
Everyone gets a cultural exchange experience and a friend-for-life!
Terri has been willing to include you, my readers, in her au pair experience. It occurs to me that you might also be interested in reading about Host Family perspectives, too. If you’d like to hear some Host Family responses to questions you might have, please read my colleague’s recent article which shares Host Family perspectives regarding privacy. Please feel free to send me more questions for either Terri or a brave Host Mom who might be willing to share her Host Family experience too!
Q: Terri, is there anything about America that scares you?
A: Being in a new country and not knowing my way around is scary. I am scared to get lost, something that I have never liked even back home. So yeah I’ve only being here for 1 month, I’m sure by December I will be fine, and not that scared.
Terri, like many au pairs, came to America with her International Driving Permit and South African driver’s license. She has full access to a second family car so she can pick up the kids and attend class or explore town while the kids are in school. In Rhode Island, she can wait until her second year to get her Rhode Island driver’s license.
Q: What has been something that made you struggle?
A: Being overwhelmed and being homesick made me struggle. Feeling like I don’t connect with the kids is tough too (it’s getting better).
Homesickness is quite common for new au pairs. Making friends, keeping busy and communicating via email or text with family and friends back home will help, as will time. I would love to know more about connecting with the kids….stay tuned for more on this topic!
Q: What would you like to share about South Africa that would interest Americans?
A: South Africa is a beautiful place with a lot of different cultures. We have 11 official languages (we have 5 different languages in our National Anthem – Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English). It’s just a beautiful place.
I can’t wait to share more of Terri’s experience with you. I had a few more questions and answers, but chose to hold off on them for another installment. I hope Terri will share with us as she works to connect with the children, complete her educational requirements, explore our great nation and its culture, and complete her au pair experience. Perhaps I can also get one of Rhode Island’s brave Host Parents to share her perspective of the au pair experience! As always, contact me with your questions about au pair childcare in the RI, CT and MA area.