Photo: Valisha
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 Valisha from The Netherlands. She lives in Kingston, Pennsylvania and takes care of two boys. She has told me so much great things but the best one is that she found an app that helps you work out and gives you something back for it.

Hii there! My name is Valisha, I’m 19 years old and I’m from the Netherlands. Right after I graduated from high school I decided to take a gap year, to get more life experience, and have some awesome adventures! I have been living in Kingston, Pennsylvania for about 9,5 months now. Definitely not the first place I thought of when coming to America, but I just love my hostkids! I’m taking care of a 3,5 and a 10,5 year old boy. It’s not always just sunshine, but I enjoyed my first year so much, that I decided to extend and move to the west coast for my second year! I will go there in July and will take care of an 8 year old boy and a 10 year old girl. 

Why did you became an au pair?

Actually, I only thought about being an au pair and made the decision a few months before I left. I was going to study to become an elementary school/music teacher. I just felt like I needed a break from studying, and have always wanted to live in the US. My cousin’s friend was in NY as an au pair and I started talking with her, and that’s actually how I rolled into it. I’m very happy, because I get to see so much of the US, grow a lot, and get more experience with kids! I will never regret making this decision.

What do you like most about your host family?

What I like the most about my host family is my boys. They just lighten up my days. Okay, they’re not always angels, but the love I get from them, and the joy I can see in their faces, just makes this whole thing amazing. I don’t have the best relationship with my host parents, also not bad! I do really like it that I’m (almost) always invited for dinner and birthday parties, so I get to spend time with the rest of the family too.

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

The biggest struggle I’ve had so far is not being able to communicate with my host family the way I would with my own family. I’m afraid to say something wrong, because at the beginning of my time here we had a conversation about something and after that for a while we didn’t have the best time together. Because of this I have a lot of stuff that I just keep to myself, and sometimes it’s really hard to keep it in.

What is your favorite part of America?

My favorite American thing, that’s a hard one. I actually have to think about this for a minute, there are a lot of things that I actually don’t really like here, but I still love it here, you understand? Like, the roads are bad, no one walks anywhere, there are no bike lanes, etc… I guess my favorite thing here is how big the sports are. I went to a football game with my host family once, and that was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done! Everything was so big, and there was so much going on. I didn’t knew where to look. 

And what are you still not used too?

I’m still not used to how lazy people are here. It annoys me so much! People take the car to go everywhere, even if it’s like a 10 minute walk. People put their dirty dishes in the sink, even though the dishwasher is literally right next to it. People don’t go to the store, they order everything online. There’s so much more to tell, but yeah, the way people are just lazy. Can’t get used to that.

What was your favorite trip?

That’s really hard to say. I’ve loved all trips that I’ve taken! I will probably say my 1 week vacation, because I visited a bunch of awesome places with one of my best friends here! We flew to Nashville, from Nashville to New Orleans, from new Orleans to Orlando, spent a day in Disney! And then we took the bus down to Fort Lauderdale/Miami and from there back home. It was just a week full of awesome places, and Nashville was just such an awesome experience with the music everywhere! I loved it way too much.

Which app is fundamental for an au pair?

I always use Kayak for comparing my flights. And I use Sweatcoin, which is good for me to keep walking and also getting something for it, haha.

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

The first thing I will do when I come back home is HUG MY DOG! But for the bigger thing: when I come back home I will start studying to become an elementary school/music teacher! I’m also very very excited to start playing soccer again with my teammates, I miss that a lot! And in the first weeks back home I will go visit and hug all my friends and family! 

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

My ultimate tip is: don’t match too fast! Take your time to find the right family. I matched very fast, because I was scared that I wouldn’t find a family if I didn’t match with the family that wanted to match with me. I really don’t hate my family! But I wish I would have taken more time to talk with more families and see if there was maybe a slightly better fit out there. 

Previous au pair stories

Nory: ‘For almost everything is a drive-thru’

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’

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

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