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Skandinaviska Institutet

Felicia, Ohio

1. What were your reasons for applying as an au pair?
– I like to take care of kids and I also really wanted to go to the U.S., get new experiences, meet new people, and have fun. I didn’t want to start studying directly after high school, so this was also a good opportunity to do something different.

2. Tell us about your host family:
– The kids are very lovely. I take care of two kids. A boy who is 5 and a girl who is almost 8. They are both practicing soccer and playing the piano. The girl is also doing gymnastics and the boy teakwondo.  They do not fight too much(of course they have many disagreements but maybe not as many as other kids) and they play good together and also have some mutual friends. My host parents are really nice too. My host mom is a doctor and my host dad a attorney. I really like them as well and they are easy to talk with which I think is very important.

3. Describe the area you live in.
-I live about 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland. The city I live in is very cozy and there’s some stores and restaurant close by. The neighborhood I live in is really safe, cozy, and beautiful. The kids have friends on the street and they can run around and play safely in the neighborhood.

4. What does a typical day look like?
-I wake up at 6:30am but usually don’t go up until 6:45am. Then I get dressed, brush my teeth, put muy hair in a messy bun, the usual, before I start at 7:00am. I wake the kids up, help J get dressed, make sure they both are brushing they teeth, and make them breakfast. At 7:40am we put our shoes and coats on, I make sure they don’t forget their backpacks and we go out to the end of the driveway and wait for the school bus. When the kids are on it, around 7:50am, I’m off until approximately 4:15pm when the kids come home from school.

On Mondays and Wednesdays the kids have gymnastics and teakwondo at 5pm which means we just have time to change and eat a snack before going there. J’s teakwondo is only of 45 minutes so I’m waiting there and watch. There after we’re going home for dinner and I’m off around 7-9pm.

On Tuesdays and Fridays the kids doesn’t have any activities so after school they eat a snack and then play the piano before they can do (almost) whatever they want. Often they go over to their friends or there friends come to our house. I’m off around 7-9pm.

On Thursdays the kids have piano at 4:30pm so I’m waiting on them in the car at the end of the driveway when the school bus arrives. When one kid is playing piano, the other one is eating a heavier snack. After piano we go directly to soccer practice before we go home for dinner. Once again, I’m off around 7-9pm. During my off time I usually Skype with friends and family, doing laundry, going to college, doing homework, go to the gym or meet friends. Sometimes I also meet friends when I’m off in the evening.

5. What do/did or are you planning to study and why did or will you choose the course?
-this semester I am taking a College Composition course at my local College. Next semester, I have no idea what to study!

6. Tell us about any traveling you have done or are planning to do.
– I wanna go everywhere, haha! I was in New York at orientation and went on the tour. I want to go there again though since it’s so much to do there and things I want to see that I didn’t during the tour, although it’s not my first priority. With my host family I went to Chicago and Washington DC. I got to see all the things I wanted for to, like the bean and sky deck in Chicago, and the Lincoln memorial and White House in DC.

During my vacation in November I’m going to take a tour with au pair adventures. The tour is called western sun winter and are going from san fransico, to Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, rout 66, lake havasu, and ends in Los angles. It’s going to be super fun! Trek America are doing the same tour, but there were no seats left. I’m so happy that au pair adventures had seats left so I could go!(I booked it very late)

7. What have you gained during the year?
-So far, I noticed I’ve become more outgoing. I’ve always liked meeting new people but I sometimes had problems with starting conversations and know what to talk about. Now, I can’t say I have that problem anymore! I only been here for 2&1/2 months and I have learned stuff already, but I think I will notice it more when I come back home to Sweden again.

8. What has been the best experience so far?
-the traveling I’ve done, meeting new friends, studying in college.

9. How have you been spending you pocket money?
-food, haha! It’s so typical to grab a lunch or dinner when you are meeting other au pairs. Or you go for frozen yoghurt and Starbucks! I have also saved a lot money for travels, which comes in handy for my vacation in November.

10. What do/did you find most challenging about being an au pair?
-the first week or two here when everything is new. You don’t know the family yet, or any other au pairs, it’s a new language and a different culture you need to adapt to.

11. Write a short message to anyone thinking about joining Skandinaviska Institutet / Au Pair in America:
-do it! It’s always worth a try! If you feel like you are not able to do it because it will be too hard, do it anyway! You could always go home again if you really don’t like it, but probably you will be happy you went! Go have one of your best years in life!