Meet Margaux, who went as an au pair in the USA and who gives us her advice on how to make the most of her experience!
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
Yes, of course! My name is Margaux, I am from Toulouse in the South West of France and I am 19. Right now, I am in my first year of University and I am also a part-time nanny for two sweet kids (3 and 5).
Where would you like to live for your first au pair experience and why?
Since middle school, for many years, I wanted to move or study in the United States, it was one of my dreams. But soon I realized it was too expensive and I learned about becoming an au pair, which sounded perfect. I didn’t think one second of being an au pair anywhere else outside of the United States.
Why did you want to try the au pair adventure?
I think because I was always really « maternal » with my younger cousins and I never had any siblings so any time I saw a baby I was in awe. I was always attracted to children, that would be my first reason. Now, that I’ve thought about this for many years, living this adventure intrigues me and I have a real passion for travels. I also wish to find a « second » family in the United States because I think it’s also a very humane experience before anything else.
How did you research the au pair program? And what are some important things that you wanted to know before becoming an au pair?
I simply did my research on the Internet and very quickly I found almost all the answers I needed and the criterias I had to fit: for example, to be au pair in the United States you have to go through an agency for visa reasons, you need to sign up for a whole year and have a valid driving license, amongst other things. Many years later, I went to an Au Pair in America meeting (an au pair agency) in Toulouse and it answered a lot of my questions too. What was the most important thing to know for my family and I was the insurance situation in the USA, and of course living, work and visa conditions.
What attracts you the most to the au pair program? What scares you the most?
What attracts me the most in the au pair program is the simplicity of living life in an American family everyday, the cultural exchange and also the travels. What scares me the most is to not find my place in the family or to realize that I am not cut out to be an au pair.
How is your host family search going?
My family search has been long, very long compared to most au pairs actually. I was online on the agency’s website on January 5th, 2018 and I found my host family at the end of May. I talked to almost 30 families and had almost as many skypes; it was very tedious and more tiring than I had expected but I don’t regret anything, I had my criterias and I held on to them. Right now, I matched with a family which I think fits me completely. I am leaving for the USA late August.
If you had some advice to give to someone wanting to try the au pair adventure, what would you say?
Know what you want, don’t be afraid to be demanding (to a certain level) and do not focus your search on a location!!! Beforehand, I think that you need to work on yourself and ask « What am I capable of? With which age groups am I comfortable working with? What is my life style? How do I picture my adventure? »; A year ago I would have said that I didn’t mind the age of the kids, but now I realized that toddlers are a lot of work and patience, that babies are cute but need a lot of attention. It’s also important to realize that working in a school or daycare or summer camp is very different from babysitting children in their home, their behaviors are completely different. In the United States, I want to enjoy my time to go to the gym, take classes or meet some friends, that’s just how I imagine my year and that’s not really possible if I’m working 9 hours per day so I knew that I wanted school-aged children and so I focused my research on children over 6 years old.
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