Putting an end to the ‘What’s Next?’ question

Dreading all of those “What’s next?” questions, I began to start seriously thinking about what was going to be my next step after high school had finished. My answer to the questions regarding what career path I was going to take, always changed throughout the years. But one thing that never changed was my desire to travel.

This is when I came across the word “Au Pair” in a google search for ‘working overseas experiences’. I had never heard of the term “Au Pair” before, it is a french term meaning equal to.

Olivia at the beach Au pair in America

On Miami Beach in the winter time, celebrating a friend’s birthday

After 5 minutes of quick google searches about Au Pairing, I knew this was going to be my next step. Quickly enough, I had found a reliable NZ company, Nannies Abroad that sent Au Pairs to America. And before I knew it, I was filling out the application forms.

The decision was quite spontaneous, but I didn’t feel the need to dwell on it for too long. For years I had various babysitting jobs for a range of families and always enjoyed caring for children. That, combined with my itchy feet to travel, meant I couldn’t have been more eager to get through the application process and start the search to match with a family.

I’d have to say the most challenging part of the year, for me personally, was the flight over to America. I remember looking at the flight map halfway to LAX and coming to the realization that I was moving to a country where everything and everyone would be new to me. It was a scary thought for someone who had always surrounded herself with friends and family. But as soon as I got off the plane in Los Angeles, all of those worries turned to excitement.

Olivia Au Pair in America

Las Vegas for Spring Break, also did a road trip to the Grand Canyon

Au Pair in USA Olivia

The Gum Wall in Seattle, during my travel month

My year consisted of caring for 2 children aged 11 and 7 in Virginia, not far outside of Washington D.C.

Each day I was getting to know my host family on a more personal level and soaking up any knowledge that they could teach me about the American culture.

I was lucky enough to go on multiple ‘vacations’ with them and celebrate public holidays. They were very welcoming and treated me like family. When I wasn’t with my host family I would be sight seeing with other Au Pairs that I had become friends with. I did a great deal of traveling and loved being able to visit a different state every weekend.

New York USA Au Pair

Rockefeller centre, looking at the Empire State Building. I took a friend, who was visiting me from NZ, to NYC for the weekend

Throughout the year I met a great deal of new people, many of them I now consider family. I still keep in contact with these people and have already visited one of them overseas. My host family email and keep me up to date with their lives on a regular basis, and I am currently trip planning to meet up with other Au Pairs whom I met in America.

It has been so rewarding building relationships with people from different cultures.

The two children I looked after and I at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina over summer break, I took them down there to visit one of their old nannies who lives there

Because even though I was living in America, two of my closest friends that I made were from Australia and Austria! That was one of my favorite things about the Au Pair community, that you come in contact with people from all over the globe.

Au Pairing was a wonderful way for me to broaden my horizons while working in a job that I love.

My Au Pair experience also lead me to where I am today, working back in New Zealand as a full time nanny for a family that I absolutely adore.

If anyone had told me two years ago that I would be working in my hometown as a full time nanny, I wouldn’t have believed them. I couldn’t have imagined being able to enjoy going to work every day as much as I do!

My first weekend exploring my new home (DC) with a Danish Au Pair

My year in America, working as an Au Pair taught me many valuable lessons, that I could not have learnt here in my comfort zone in New Zealand.

You gain many years of wisdom when you are given the great responsibility of raising children. And I came home feeling so much more mature than I was when I first left. I can’t think of many other experiences that are as rewarding as being an Au Pair overseas.

Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin in DC

Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin in DC

For more information on the Au Pair in America program head to: America