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Interview with an au pair

"After a year your English will be perfect and you will be a different and confident person.  It's a great opportuniy and you won't be alone because your host family will be there for you"

So says Anita Eitner from Germany.  She's currently placed in Beaverton, Oregan, on the West Coast of America.  She looks after 2 young children and is having a great time.  Here she tell us how Au Pair in America has helped her learn more.


What were your reasons for applying as an au pair?
I wanted to see if I could live in a different country with a different country and lifestyle, become independent and more self-confident.  You will experience America in a different, more personal way when you live with Americans and not just a tourist.  And of course, I wanted to improve my English!

Tell us about your host family:
My host parents both work from home but travel all over the US all the time, that's why they needed an au pair.  They have two children; a boy who is 5 years old and a girl who is 3.  I look after the boy quite a lot because he only goes to school for 2 hours everyday whereas the little girl spends the whole day at preschool.  She loves it there.

Describe the area you lived in:
I live in a city called Beaverton in Oregon near Portland the so-called City of Roses.  Portland is a great city.

What did you study and why did you choose the course?
I had so many different classes - I learnt Japanese, had a class about Asian myths and legends, a Chinese cooking class and yoga. 

Tell us about any travelling you did:
I went to visit family in San Diego, then with my host family to Vancouver in Canada.  I did a road trip with my parents where we saw LA, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Redwood NP and so on.  In my travel month I will go to Seattle for a few days.  Before I leave the US I will stay a few days in NYC.  I am really excited about that!

What have you gained during the year?
So many things.  I found a new home and have never felt so self confident before.  Now I'm not afraid of new situations.  My English has never been better - I even have one or two problems speaking German now!  You will learn to deal with certain situations independently.

What has been the best experience so far?
It is hard to say because there have been so many.  You can fell how you grow and become a different person, which is pretty amazing.  One day you realize that you can actually understand everything that people around you say!

How have you been spending you pocket money?
Clothes, which are really cheap, movies, restaurants, travelling and books...somehow I spend it all

If there was one thing that could have better prepared for you for your year, what would it have been?
Talk to your host family if you don't understand something.  Sometimes cultural differences can get in the way and you both need to be clear on your opinion on certains situations.

What did you find most challenging about being an au pair?
Sometimes the kids will push your boundaris when you are new and don't really know how to adjust.  But at least you can talk to other au pairs in your cluster that in the same boat.  You think Americans are crazy but believe me, after a year you'll be bahving the same and having a great time.

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