Kansas, USA. A state, a country and a culture that’s all foreign to me. Before deciding to register with GAP I answered the questions that a couple of people asks me:
(1) Can I do it? I know I can and I believe I can.
(2) Are you willing to give up your professional career? Yes.
(3) Will you be ok being called a nanny rather than a nurse/teacher? I had a strong yes on this when I was in The Philippines. However coming here, when people started to look at you differently because your JUST a nanny made me feel small and insignificant. Soon enough though, I met people that didn’t mind what I was doing, they liked me as a person. I’d be honest that it still bothers me when people look at you like you’re a lower class person because you take care of other people’s child and live with them. I learned to just shrug my shoulder about it.
(4) Can you do what I do? Your the only one who can answer this question.
(5) Can you live with someone you don’t know? I’ve been living alone since I attended college and this is a tough question for me. Remember to ask your host parents about house setting so you can better prepare yourself. In my case, my host parents live in a Golf course property house with a wonderful basement. My room is in the basement next to the guest room. The lower level has it’s own Kitchen (fridge, dishwasher, coffee maker, microwave, stove, etc.), entertainment showcase (cable TV, Wii, PS2, lazy boy), golf course view or more like a backyard and personal bathroom. Somehow, I’d say I’m still living alone — which I like.
Andy (I’ll call other Au Pairs with pseudo names. Lol) is also an Au Pair under GAP from Ukraine, her house setting is different from mine because their house is one-story, her room is next to the 4 kids room so she complains about the kids going to her room even on her day off and she shares everything with the family.
I’ve only been here roughly four months and I’d say I am passed the adjustment period. I am happy with my host family and the situation I am currently in. Sure, money is very small especially when you start going out and doing your own thing. Overall, the money should still be enough to meet your need, I mean the host family is paying for the house, food and bills (even gas in my case). I believe life as an Au Pair can be fun and meaningful depending on how you set your mind.
*I’ll tell you more about 3 Au Pairs with GAP in KS in other post and their experiences so far.