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Skandinaviska Institutet

Lisa, Maryland

Åldrar på barnen: 6,8,9
Har varit i USA i: 3 månader

What were your reasons for applying as an au pair?
I really wanted to do something different and kind of leave home for a while to figure out partly what I want to do in the future, and to figure out who I am and stuff about myself. Even tho I’m still here you can feel that you as a person change and you grow in ways you didn’t expect you would change or grow in. I expected that I would be more independent and forward as a person, but you get more patience and just feel stronger.

Tell us about your host family:
My family is very good. I have 3 good kids (even tho they get on your nerves sometimes and just really, are kids). 2 boys and 1 girl. They have so much imagination that I sometimes just sit down with them and talk nonsense. They also like to read a lot and they are very good at it, same with playing on their iPads/iPhones. Very good at it, very in to it. My host parent are the best of the best. We really click and I feel that I can tell them everything that happened during the day, even if it’s about something that I did with my friends or what ever. We have an very open relationship which I think is important to be able to live together. Specially since you move in in a strange home with partly strange people…

Describe the area you live in:
I live in a great area, that’s called Bethesda. It’s located outside of Washington DC, United States head capital!! It takes about 20 minutes in to DC with the metro and about the same with car. But to get things you don’t really have to go in to the big city, because Bethesda is really beautiful and has a lot of restaurants and cafes. Not that many shops maybe but then you can just take the metro or the car to the next city that is very near. You could walk if you want. This is a very safe community so you can walk outside during night and not feel scared, which is a BIG +

What does a typical day look like?
A typical day: I wake up around 6.30, go up and wake the kids. Then I get them to eat breakfast, and then get them dressed. When that’s done I drive them to school. After that I have time of until around 3pm because then I have to take the car and go and pick them up at school again. When we get home we do homework, eat a little snack and then we play. Usually my host parents get home around 6-6.30pm.

What do/did or are you planning to study and why did or will you choose the course?
I am going to a cooking class in January (2018) because I like to cook and it’s fun to learn practical things, not just sit by the school bench and study.

Tell us about any traveling you have done or are planning to do:
Yet I have not done that much traveling but of course I have done small road trips during the day to near by places that are cool. For example Arlington cemetery (graveyard for military people with many white stones which is cool and a very special place to be on, since it’s such a big cemetery).  I want to go to a lot of places such as California, Colorado, Miami, Florida ect… and I still have a lot of time to go to those places.

What have you gained during the year?
My experience for so long has been good and I of course learned, and are still learning, about America and about the cultural exchange. Even tho my host mom is Norwegian there’s still some differences and we learn from each other. And as I wrote in the beginning you learn stuff about yourself.

What has been the best experience so far?
Just to get to know this new people. You get new friend and probably get a bond for life with them. It’s exiting because you are more open to do stuff and you never know if you are going to get to know someone next day.

How have you been spending you pocket money?
I try to save because you want money for traveling here and see stuff, also you probably don’t want to get home to Sweden empty handed with no money?

What do/did you find most challenging about being an au pair?
Probably that you won’t see your friends for at least (in my case) for a year and, I know strange thing, I really miss my own room at home. Miss all my stuff and having my own place where you really feel home. Even tho you have a home feeling to your house here as well you don’t fully feel like you have your own home. Hard to explain but I hope you understand that you might not feel at home, even tho that you are fully welcome into their home.

Write a short message to anyone thinking about joining Skandinaviska Institutet / Au Pair in America:
I think you should go for it! What do you have to loose? If you don’t like it, or feel to much homesick you can just go home. Easy. So I say, go for it and explore another side of you and another world around you!!!