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Interview with an au pair

"It's a great program and you'll have lots of fun, so do it! You can see and do so much, that maybe you won't have the chance to do later. it is really worth it!"

These are the words of Aleesa Tschaftary from Germany.  She spent her year living in Tennessee and enjoyed so many cultural aspects of the Au Pair in America program.  We asked her how her year in the United States went.


What were your reasons for applying as an au pair?
I wanted to do something different after school, see something of the world, travel, learn abouth a new culture and perfect my English skills.  Plus, I love children so being an au pair was perfect.

Tell us about your host family:
My Host Mom is from Texas and my Host Dad from Germany, and they've both lived in Italy for sometime, so I really liked how the different cultures came together. My two boys are really sweet. They are both very sporty and we go to the pool a lot or play soccer, but they are also very creative and we draw, paint, and do crafts. They are great children, and I will miss them a lot when I go home.

Describe the area you lived in:
I live in Brentwood, a town about 20 minutes south of Nashville. A lot of the neighborhoods here have big houses and back yards, so you don't have to go to the park if you want to play outside. Nashville is very near, and there's a lot going on there, so it's never boring and you can go to clubs, concerts, plays, the movies etc. I also really like the weather because it's summer from the end of March until the end of October. There's no snow here but we went skiing in springbreak, so that was great!

What did you study and why did you choose the course?
I took up drawing at the local Community College, because I like art a lot. Also, since my children are school age, I was free in the mornings and took some ESL classes that the community offered and met a lot of very nice people from different countries there.

Tell us about any travelling you did:
I've travelled a lot during my year, mostly on weekends. I've been to Los Angeles, Atlanta, Memphis, Washington DC and Chicago, I was skiing at Lake Tahoe/Reno with my hostfamily and did daytrips to Chattanooga, and Cave City. For my travelling month I have planned a two-week Suntrek tour along the West Coast, with some additional time in San Diego, LA, Seattle and San Francisco, and I will stay in New York City for a few days before my flight home.

What have you gained during the year?
Lots of great new friends, self-confidence, better English skills, better people skills, experience, and an incredible lot of fun!

What has been the best experience so far?
When I was invited to speak about Germany and my experience as an au-pair. Afterwards we had real Southern food for lunch that the people cooked for us, and it was great to share my culture with those people and have them share theirs with me.

How have you been spending you pocket money?
Mostly on traveling, and also on clothes, going to the movies, and going out with friends.

What did you find most challenging about being an au pair?
The first couple of weeks, when I didn't know anybody and didn't know my way around or what to expect, and everything was so strange. My kids helped me a lot, though, and told me what to do or where things were, or just gave me a hug when I needed one.

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