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Moving abroad is not too easy neither cheap, at least not the most popular options. Not anyone can just decide to pack their things, buy a plane ticket, and afford their lives in another country. Besides money, other challenges include language barriers, a competitive job market, or simply bureaucracy. Nevertheless, achieving to live abroad is not impossible nor is it too complicated to try it.
A couple of years ago I decided to live in Germany once I finished my Bachelor’s, but there were a few problems: I didn’t speak the language at all and didn’t have the work experience that could demand 4,000 EUR as a monthly salary to get a work visa. And although I managed to get an offer at a startup in Berlin under an internship visa, the deal was never closed because startup CEOs have no time to go through complicated bureaucratic processes for just bringing an intern.
So after thinking through I started with what made more sense: take intensive German courses in Frankfurt for three months, and then come up with the best next solution.
And that was when I heard about the “Au Pair” experience, an exchange visa program in which a person lives with a family and works for them by providing care for their children and doing light household tasks in exchange for a room to live in, food, insurance, transportation, support with language classes and monthly pocket money.
When introduced to it I was skeptical, the first thing I thought was that I wouldn’t like to go work for a family that will see me as their subordinate and that cleaning, washing dishes, and arranging children’s toys was not exactly the kind of work I was looking forward to doing after getting a Bachelor’s in Marketing. Yet I started to focus on the benefits and realized that being an Au Pair for a year is not a waste of time, but an investment of it.
So I went for it.
And to be honest, at the beginning, I was not sure whether I did the right decision and didn’t think that I could continue doing it. But I refused to quit, and now that I am finally finishing my Au Pair experience, I can say with certainty that I don’t regret it at all: I am now fluent in German, opened new doors of opportunities, grew independent, have gone through memorable travel adventures, settled a life in a city I love and added in my life three crazy German kids who I care about a lot.
The Au Pair experience is more than just being a part-time nanny/babysitter, it’s a package filled with great moments and presents.
So here are the reasons that convinced me to be an Au Pair, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and why I would recommend anyone to do it:
It’s one of the cheapest options to travel abroad
For being abroad for a year, you won’t pay too much for your life. If you watch after your finances and don’t buy unnecessary things, then you will have enough of money to travel and do any of your other favorite activities on your free time since you don’t have to worry about paying for rent, electricity, food, transportation, insurance, taxes… need I say more?
It allows you to learn a new language the best way possible
You will be like a toddler who is learning to speak: you will constantly absorb a new vocabulary and a way of communicating yourself because you won’t have other option. The fastest way possible to learn a language is needing it for social survival.
It makes you become part of another culture while making it part of yourself
It is an amazing learning experience to adapt and integrate into a new lifestyle to a certain extent that it will become an important part of your new self. Their traditions become your traditions, and when you least notice, you are immersed in their culture. It’s simply evolution for the mind and soul.
It helps you to have a better attitude towards challenges
Living with strange people in another country with a different culture, non-mastered language and where you don’t know anyone, will throw you a lot of challenges and overcoming them will help you grow into you a tougher, independent, and self-sufficient person. It builds up your character and attitude and helps improve your problem-solving skills.
It connects you to greater possibilities for your future
Being repeatedly exposed to new diverse situations teaches you to identify and create opportunities for your future goals anywhere. While being an Au Pair, you’ll definitely find great chances to connect with people and infinite possibilities if you cease your time correctly.
It adds new people in your life, making your heart grow fonder
It is unbelievable how quickly you can get fond of the host family and how much you start caring about them. Going on hikes with the kids, seeing them having fun playing with you and cuddling with them while reading out stories makes your heart grow with warmth and kindness. It’s a cute big-sibling adventure.
So don’t worry about taking care of kids for a year instead of working on your professional success. Why? Well, there is simply no “instead” here, if you choose to do that you’ll still improve your chances of success, on a clever, unusual way. 😉
So come on, let’s go change some diapers.