Foto: Imke Röhrs
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 Imke from Germany. She is an au pair in Lynnwood, Washington and she told me about her hostfamily, her favorite candy and that she looks so positive at her problems she has had so far.

I am Imke and I’m 21 years old. My home country is Germany and I live in the North. I’m from a very small village in the middle between Hamburg, Bremen and Hannover. I arrived in June 2018 in America, after I finished my training to staatlich anerkannten Erzieherin (German Name for it). So, I work with children in all ages. For example, as a Preschool teacher or in youth welfare services. Here in Lynnwood, Washington I’m taking care of two children in an age of 2 and 6 years. 

Why did you became an au pair?

When I did my traineeship, I worked for 8 weeks in a kindergarten in Denmark. I really liked to see and learn about a new culture. So, I decided to go a year abroad. I looked for many different ways and at many different countries. Than I found cultural care and started to look into it. Before I really realized I could look for Host families. I still was looking around until I found this very nice family that I’m living with right now.

Imke and her hostfamily in Hawaii Foto: Imke Röhrs

What do you like most about your host family?

What I really like about my family is that I become a real family member. I go with them on trips and they also give me time to travel with friends or alone. They welcome friends in their home (from Germany and America). They care about me and I care about them and we can talk about everything. They even care about my friends and try to help them if they have a problem (for example a friend how needs to go in rematch).

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

I could not say that I had a very big struggle. Shure it is hard at the beginning to make yourself feeling at home in another country. You also have a hard time in between with the kids. You need to find new friends and you see pictures from home with all the stuff that you miss out. But I like more to think about what results out of this “problems”. With all these struggles you learn to see things out of a different perspective.

What is your favorite part of America?

I really love some of their candy’s. My favorite is called Nerds. What I like doing Christmas season is how all the houses are decorated. All the houses are full with lights, even some had really light shows and parks were full decorated. It is exactly like you see in all this American Christmas movies. 

And what are you still not used too?

What myself still confuses is that the American don’t use Celsius and kilometer. I even never heard bevor from Fahrenheit and miles. With the miles I get better use to than with the Fahrenheit, because miles are very easy to translate in kilometers. But Fahrenheit is something I will never get used to, because for my feeling to translate it to Celsius you need three magic dice. So, I normally just use google to translate the temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit or the other way.

What was your favorite trip?

To decide what my favorite trip was so far is very hard. I mean I went to a lot of different places and every place had their good and not so good things. But I really liked my trip to Fairbanks in Alaska. Even if I didn’t saw the northern lights it was amazing. I was also impressed about the cold. We had up to -30 C and that was very mild for Alaska around that time. I loved the dog sledding and the swimming outside at the chena hot springs. At all I liked the experience in a very cold area with meters high of snow.

Which app is fundamental for an au pair?

There are a lot of apps that are nice to have as an au pair. I love the app “been” because you can mark all the countrys and American states that you’ve bin at. I also like “pinterest” it is nice for new Ideas what to do with the kids at home or for gifts for other family members.

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

When I’m back home I will enjoy all the things that I miss here and miss all the things that I enjoy in the USA. I also will start to working as an Erzieherin. I also hope to find more time to go swimming than I do here. 

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

Talk a lot to the host families and if you don’t feel very comfortable with talking with them than don’t go. I saw a lot how it is not good for your experience if you can’t really talk to your family and don’t connect. I also would say that you should not look for the “perfect” city to live in. Give other families a chance to, because you maybe connect better with the family at a different place than you wish. In that situation I would recement to you to take the “good” family and not the “perfect” place. You can visit this place but not a good fit family.

Find Imke on Instagram: @imkeroehrs

Previous au pair stories

Daniela: “They will always be my heroes”

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

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