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Au pair stories | Louis: ‘Don’t worry about speaking and understanding’

by It's a nory story
Photo: Louis Michel
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 Louis who lived in Park City, Utah. Louis has been here for eight months now and is not thinking of leaving yet. He loves his hostfamily and loves America. He is very positive about the au pair life and he would like to share his experience with us.

Hi, I am Louis and I’m 21 years old. I’m from Germany and live in a small village which is about 55.9 miles (90km) north from Frankfurt. I arrived at the end of August 2018 in the United States, after I graduated high school. So I live now since beginning of September 2018 with my host family in Park City, Utah. I’m taking care of two boys who are 8 and 11 years old.

Why did you became an au pair?

I became an Au pair because for me it was pretty clear that I didn’t wanted to start studying or working right after school and that I wanted to live for a longer time in a foreign country. So I started to inform myself about options. One of my cousins was an au pair in Norway and I liked the idea behind it. I also had experience with childcare before: I took care for my younger sister, took care of children from my moms friend and I also helped in a kindergarten for a few weeks.

What do you like most about your host family?

My host mom and me (since it is a single mom household) have a really good conversation level. We can talk about really anything and its always pretty open, which helps a lot to maintain this ‘work/family’ relationship. Also my host mom welcomes all of my friends at her house and it really feels like that this is my home too. Also she includes me in all of their activities as a family and even in activities when the kids are not with us. But on the other side she also gives me time for myself for traveling, sport or whatever. In conclusion, I really feel like I became a family member of this family.

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

I don’t really had a very bad struggle so far. But of course it was at the beginning difficult to create a bond between me and my host kid. Especially my older one needed more time with me. But I hadn’t issues with homesickness or with my host family.

What is your favorite part of America?

The first thing which comes in my mind if I think about my favorite thing about the USA is that you can can turn right, most of the time, even if the traffic light is red. I don’t know really why this is the first thing I can think of, but I find it pretty convenient. Maybe because I drive a lot. The second thing I like in the US that you have a lot of choices according to burgers and sandwiches. What I also like about America is that you can get free water with your meal almost everywhere.

And what are you still not used too?

I still have some trouble with Fahrenheit, instead of Celsius, but I am getting slowly better with it. Also I’m still not used to how bad the roads sometimes can be here and also how bad they get fixed most of the time.

What was your favorite trip?

My favorite trip so far was to Los Angeles, but I also loved San Francisco. I am even going back to L.A. in the summer, that how much I liked it and I can even imagine to go after that again. But I think one of the main reasons I liked it so much was because I had awesome weather (blue skies and 30C/86F) and I could escape the snowy and cold weather in Utah for a bit. I met some nice people in L.A. and also did an awesome hike from the Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood sign.

Which app is fundamental for an au pair?

I personally use a lot the app ‘kayak’ where I look for accommodations if I go anywhere. Also I use the Delta airlines app a lot since I’m signed up to “DeltaSkymiles” and I try to book all my flights with Delta to get discounts.

What did you do when you got back home?

When I’m done with my au pair time I either try to pursue a career as a pilot and might also come back to the US for that. Also I am thinking about studying music management. But since I will be in the US until 2020, because I extended my stay with my current host family, I still have a little bit time left to think about it.

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

The most important thing is to talk with your family even if you didn’t matched yet. And when you’re with your family, talk about anything what you observed during the time with the kids, even if you think yourself it’s not that important.

Don’t worry so much about speaking and understanding. If you already had English lessons in school or used to watch or read in English, then this is enough for the beginning. And since you just need to speak English when you are here, every time you speak your English will get better.

Find Louis on Instagram: @notazy

Previous au pair stories

Saskia: ‘Nobody here will judge you’

Daniela: ‘They will always be my heroes

Amanda: ‘Don’t be afraid of speaking up!’

Caterina: ‘Don’t think about it! Just Jump in it!’

Valisha: ‘I made the decision a few months before I left’

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