Photo: Caterina
Living your life as au pair in America is for everyone different. For some people it is amazing and for others it is much harder. If you’re considering of becoming an au pair you might want to know how it is to be an au pair. Thats why I decided to interview au pairs and ask them about their experience. This week I interviewed Caterina from Italy. She almost finished her first year as an au pair and she is planning to continue to be one in an other family for her second year.

Hi, my name is Caterina, I am from Italy and I am twenty years old. My life, before becoming an au pair was pretty normal and boring, I grow up in a very small town in the very northern Italy, and the last year I graduated from high school, so now I am an accountant. That’s it!

But all of this brought me here. In a starbucks, on Monday morning. Pretty cool. So, on July 23rd 2018 I arrived in New York, and after four days that felt like forty, I took a flight for Seattle. So, ‘till now I have been an au pair for nine months today*, and I am currently living in a very small town (again) in the north (again part two) of Seattle, and I am taking care of two beautiful kids: a girl of 6 years old, and a boy of 9 years old. *but my life as an au pair is gonna end in exactly one year from today.

Why did you became an au pair?

I decide to be an au pair on November 2017, right after an experience of cultural exchange made with my school in France. The experience was completely different from the one offered by the au pair program. The only thing they have in common is that in both cases I was/am living abroad, alone, but with the support of a host family.

Living abroad was my dream since I was very young, I actually don’t know why I used to dream it so hard, but I just found really interesting to live in a foreign country, speaking every day a foreign language, learning a new culture daily, and so on. This program appeared to be the simplest way to experience everything I always dreamed about, so here I am!

What do you like most about your host family?

I love my host family, the kids are nice, and I had great moment with them, sometimes there are some fights, and I have to scream a bit, but you know how are the kids, so, everything is normal.

My host parents are very nice too, and they always make me feel part of the family. What I like the most about the family is that they are always there, I really feel like they are my family, especially my host mom, she is always listening to me, or she gives me some advice, like a real mom or friend would do.

What is the biggest struggle you’ve had so far?

According to me the biggest struggle is the line between me as an employee, and me as a person. It’s not easy to respect it sometimes, not only for me, but also for the host family. For example, there are moment in which I am free and I would love to run away, or just staying in my bedroom alone all day long, but sometimes I feel like that is really mean and rude, so I try to spend some time with them. But let’s be clear, 90% of my free time I am not with my host family, but I guess sometimes it’s nice to show some interest in them, it will also help you to build a strong relationship with them.

What is your favorite part of America?

HAMBURGER! Okay, probably this is the most obvious answer ever, my fault! But before coming here I have never tried a real good hamburger, maybe it’s because I am always afraid to try something new.. and now I am addicted to them.

And what are you still not used too?

Eating all together. My host family don’t care a lot about this, but let me explain better. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s my italian culture, but in my family if it’s possible to eat all together we do it. My mom will cook one dish, and everyone will eat that. We will put the tablecloth on the table, and all the necessary for eating, but in my host family everyone eat whenever they want, and whatever they want, and honestly, that’s what I miss the most about my real family.

What was your favorite trip?

I actually haven’t travelled a lot, I mean, I haven’t travelled at all, but I’ll probably say the first trip that I did with some au pair of my lcc group. We went to Portland, but the destination is not important, because the best part of the trip is that in those two days I had the opportunity to know better some of the friends that now I love the most. So, if you’ll be scared by new people, new adventure… GO AHEAD! Don’t think about it! Just jump in it!

Which app is fundamental for an au pair?

I don’t know, I am sorry… I would say the AMC cinema app, but I guess that’s for you in your free time, not for the “au pair”. You can get a membership to the AMC for 21 dollars a month and then you can watch 12 movies. It’s really cheap if you have a cinema close by and a lot of free time.

What are you going to do when you get back home?

Nice question. Well, as I said before I’ll be back in Italy in one year, since I decide to extend for nine more months, but I would love to keep studying. During my high school years I understood that economy it’s not what I want to do in my life for ever, so I would like to improve other skills, and especially my knowledge in drawing, graphic design, medias, and so on, and it would be great if could do it in a foreign country. So that’s my new dream, and now I need to understand how to realize everything.

What is your ultimate tip for future and current au pairs?

Another nice question. Well, probably I would suggest to not be too much worried about the future. To live this experience the best as you can, to do whatever you want, everything you have always wished for, and yeah, maybe to think about the future, why not? But to not be obsessed by the most famous question of an au pair: “what am I gonna do after this year?”

Just experience everything, and you’ll see, one day you’ll find your answer!

Find Caterina on Instagram: @caterinaguerini_

Previous au pair stories

Daniela: “They will always be my heroes”

Eva: ‘I felt a little bit stuck in my small hometown’

Imke: ‘I became a real family member’

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