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Skandinaviska Institutet

Nicole, New York

1. What were your reasons for applying as an au pair?
My number one reason to go to America as an Au pair was to experience a new culture and get new friends in a new country.

2. Tell us about your host family:
I have three super cute host kids! The sports and music loving 8-year old twins and a Lego-loving 4-year old. All boys. They are great kids and easy to care for (most of the time;)). My host mom is South African and my host dad is British, which means I get to experience more than just the American culture! I think this is great and I couldn’t ask for a better host family.

3. Describe the area you live in:
I live in Tappan which is a small town. There’s a lot of families living here and also a lot of Au pairs. We have pretty much everything within a 15 minutes drive, which is awesome. With the bus, I can be in New York City in 45-60 minutes. And that is even more awesome!

4. What does a typical day look like?
I start working at 7 am. I make lunch for the boys, give the breakfast and make sure they’re dressed. At 8.15 I drive them to school. I’m back around 9 and then I start tidying up their rooms and put their laundry in the washer machine. Then I am off until 3 pm when I pick up the 4-year old. On my time off I meet up with other Au pairs, go to the mall, go to school or go to the gym. At 4 pm the school bus drops off the twins. They will have some snacks and then it’s time for homework, guitar practicing and reading. I also make their dinner and sometimes help with giving the boys a bath or shower and get them ready for bed. But I usually get off at 7 or 8. On the days I’m off, I love going in to Manhattan with friends.

5. What do/did or are you planning to study and why did or will you choose the course?
I am taking a course at a local college. It’s called ”Introduction to Business” and I have class twice a week. It’s fun to go to school to learn and for a opportunity to meet new friends! I goose this course because I wanted to go to school regularly. I am interested in studying business next year when I go back to Sweden, which is why I wanted to try it. Next semester I will probably study something else, maybe design or some sports class. Maybe even at another college.

6. Tell us about any traveling you have done or are planning to do:
Me and my sister (who is also an Au pair!) went to Boston a few weeks ago and it was great! We stayed for two days and did some touristing in the city. My sister lives outside of Washington DC so I’m planning to visit her soon. I also want to go to Chicago and Miami some day! And for my travel month, I really want to go to Hawaii.

7. What have you gained during the year?
So far I have experienced the culture, I’ve gained new friends and I’ve managed to live away from home for the first time in my life and in that way become more independent. I’m looking forward to everything I will learn during the following 10 months!

8. What has been the best experience so far?
I’ve already seen my 4-years old host kid mature so much! He’s is such a big boy and seems so much older than he did 2 months ago. It has been so much fun to see how the boys learn from me and how they teach me new thing too!

9. How have you been spending you pocket money?
Shopping, shopping, traveling and more shopping! Clothes in the US are too cheap…

10. What do/did you find most challenging about being an au pair?
The first month for me was challenging. The boys were testing me and it was hard to bond with them. It was hard to teach them that I was the new Au pair, and that I’m the boss when the parents are not around. I was I little shy and so were the family but I knew that it would take some time to get to know them and really be a part of the family.

11. Write a short message to anyone thinking about joining Skandinaviska Institutet / Au Pair in America:
Being an Au pair will be a great experience! Of course there will be days when you will cry and want to go back to your home country, but if you choose the right family for you, this probably won’t be a lasting problem. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but make sure you choose your family from your heart and listen to your own instincts!