De au pair ervaring van Belinda

Belinda is een Zuid-Afrikaanse au pair die op dit moment in Nederland is, en graag meer verteld over haar au pair ervaringen!

“My au-pair adventure started roughly three years ago. I use the word “adventure” deliberately because there really isn’t a better word to express what a journey this has been (and it’s too much to fit into a Facebook post). I had no idea how insanely epic of an adventure this would be.

This all started after my final year at university. I needed a break before venturing into “adulting”, or to put it more elegantly: I decided to take some time out of academics and have a different life experience; to take the time to calmly reflect on my future professional and personal orientation. A friend of mine had just returned from her au-pair experience and suggested the idea to me. With the intention of getting away and clearing my mind, the idea of travelling through Europe, making new friends and making unforgettable memories, was something that certainly appealed to me. So I got in touch with an agency and signed up.

My first au-pair experience, aka the one that started it all, I moved to Bentonville, Arkansas in the US. This was too special of an encounter to not do again if there is an possibility to do so. (After that I) registered for my next destination: Europe, Belgium. Part two of my adventure was spent with my Flemish family, and it too was special. Living with them was an entirely different experience as there was now a language component. Yes my exposure to Afrikaans made the transition a lot smoother, but there is still a difference (to Flemish).
My adventure continues with my current family in the Netherlands. For the very few weeks I have been here, I already feel like part of the family in the truest sense of the word. I am dumbfounded at how incredible our journey has been so far. Do I feel like that maybe in a previous life they were my parents, no, they are too young for that. Yet our vibe is so unreal, I can’t help but wonder.

Knowing me it goes without saying that I am thoroughly enjoying the cuisine; die Mutter (you know because she’s German) is a basically an in-house chef; the papa is a oenophile (look it up, it’s not as bad as it sounds); I am a foodie and together we are the perfect match. I am having so much fun with the children, and enjoy getting to know them. I continue to travel within Europe but also visit small towns in The Netherlands; side note they are gorgeous! There is a possibility of signing up for a language course. I plan to take part in the activities hosted by the au pair agency (#Au Pair International). I look forward to experiencing the Dutch holidays, festivities and national celebrations.

The dynamic of moving away from your home country, to a foreign land, to essentially move into a home with strangers (let alone take care of their children) offers a unique chance at growing yourself, while also allowing you the opportunity to live out your other dreams, which in this care are primarily that of travelling. It can be hard at times. No I lie, it is hard at times. Adjusting to a new life, lifestyle, sometimes even a new language is dauting fam. Perhaps there is no better way if understanding unless you have been through it. But allowing myself to go through these moments, allowed me to discover parts of myself that needed more growth than other, but it also revealed traits and skill I was unaware of.

Essentially the au-pair program is something I am passionate about because it combines two of my greatest passions of people and travel in such a beautiful way that offers a rich experience; one that I could not get otherwise. I thought I would travel to escape life, when in fact I do it so that life does not escape me. I have come to realize that in my attempt to rest and recuperate in preparation to “adult”, adventure is the best way to learn; with an incredible family in a beautiful country – yes please!”