I fell in love with traveling and experiencing other cultures when I studied abroad in Ireland for 5 months. When my plans after graduating from college fell through, the idea to go abroad again popped in my head so I began researching how I could travel or live overseas at an affordable price. The answer: being an au pair. Au pair is just a fancy way to say live-in nanny. After getting in contact with a family that wanted to host me for a few months and talking about it with my friends and family, I booked my plane ticket to Italy!
What’s it like to be a nanny overseas?
The main things that an au pair is usually responsible for are: looking after the kids, cooking lunch for them, doing household chores, and teaching English or whatever preferred language to the kids. I worked for a family that had one 7-year-old girl, and two working parents that lived in the northernmost region of Italy in a small city called Merano. A typical day for me started with bringing Susie (not her real name for privacy sake) to school. When she was at school I had a few hours to clean the house, do the dishes and have some free time. After school I picked her up, cooked lunch and worked with her on homework and English.
Although my daily tasks were pretty normal, I was living in Italy! My three months living, working and traveling in Europe were some of the most transformative months of my life. I gained confidence, courage, and independence that I had never been able to display in the past. Going to a foreign country alone really teaches you the meaning of relying on yourself and learning to truly enjoy your own company.
Sure not everything was peachy and despite the challenges I was facing I learned to make the most of the moments that made me feel most alive and reminded me that I was doing something that not many people would get to experience. Watching the sunset from the top of a bell tower in Florence, eating the creamiest gelato and drinking the sweetest of wines, going hiking in the mountains of Northern Italy; these are the moments that I will keep close to my heart from these three months because I remember them as feelings of joy and exhilaration.
I made great friends with other au pairs in a region of Italy that I had never heard of before, got to know the Italian language, gained lifelong solo traveling skills, and learned more about myself than I could have ever imagined.
To look more into being an au pair, check out Au Pair World and create a profile for free. You will be living and working with a family in a foreign country, so make sure to thoroughly read through the families profiles and don’t forget to keep constant open communication with them.
Most of all be open to learning about a new culture, meeting inspiring people from around the world and having a life changing experience. Then book that plane ticket.
Stephanie spent three months being an au pair in Italy after graduating from college. She works at a camp in Wisconsin and continues to do some freelance writing. She has also written a blog about being an au pair at 85 Days In Italy.