Follow Carrie’s journey as an Au Pair in America!
16 days to go!
16 days. There are only 16 days between me and my journey to America beginning, the first stop being New York!!! I still can’t quite believe that I am about to embark on such an amazing journey and I can’t wait for the many wonderful opportunities which lay ahead. I have been attempting to prepare a ‘Before you leave’ list to ensure that everything is prepared and I’m ready to fly. I think the main important things to make sure you have done are;
- Make sure you have your visa in hand but also ensure you check all your details so they are correct…. I’ve just recently heard of a girl having the wrong gender on her form so she had to go through the rush of making sure everything is changed on time for her departure.
- Get your International Drivers permit- now I made the mistake of leaving this to be quite last minute, if it wasn’t for my family nagging me to get it done ASAP I might have been left in a sticky situation as the post office branch in my local town didn’t actually provide them, so I had to travel about an hour away to get it sorted.
- Check your passport and driver’s license expiry dates!!! A friend of mine is travelling soon and realised that she doesn’t have the appropriate amount of time left on her passport, thus, she is in a panic trying to get it sorted on time.
- Get packing- I’ve had to do a ‘clear out’ of my room to get rid of clothes and shoes that I can’t take with me. I’ve filled 3 bin bags later which have gone to charity shops and family and I’ve STILL got way too many clothes. I told my host family I’m a light packer and will be able to manage everything in one case… well, this is definitely not happening haha. Once I get my flight details I’ll be adding another one on!
- Complete your pre-departure online training- This is essential before you arrive at Orientation you need to have this done. All of it was incredibly interesting – I found the first aid especially of interest! You will need to give yourself enough time to do this though, it is quite long and there are a lot of videos and quizzes to do… so don’t leave it to the last minute.
- Gather all your documents and make copies of your passport, driver’s license & your medical form!
- I decided that it would be a good idea before leaving to get check-ups with my dentist, doctors, hair dressers, beauticians…. you know, the girly things.
- PAY YOUR FEES! I almost forgot about this one but yes, pay your fees as soon as you can so you can focus on saving money for whilst you’re out there. I’ve read online that ideally you only need around $250 for your time through Orientation- this covers going on the NYC night tour, phone cards etc. It’s probably more than enough considering you get your accommodation and food provided whilst you’re there. So it’s probably wise to have this money changed from your currency before landing in the States.
A Rollercoaster of emotions
So recently I have experienced a complete whirlwind of emotions, everything that can be expected really before you move 3,122 miles away from your family & friends. There has been a mixture of anxiety about being so far out of my comfort zone & not knowing anybody and nerves about travelling so far on my own for the first time. But above all of this there has been excitement… excitement for all of the new people I’m about to meet, for the relationships & connections I will make with people from all over the world. There is hope that I will achieve and improve myself as a person, finding out things I never knew about myself and to maybe even overcome some fears (I have a terrible fear of heights).
I have continued to skype with my host family once a month leading up to my departure & have communicated with them through email. It’s been amazing to keep in touch with them and has made me even more excited. I went on a bit of a shopping spree for gifts for my host children… I just couldn’t help myself. Above everything else I am incredibly excited and eager for meeting my host mum, host dad and their three children.
What am I most looking forward to?
My host parents have said that they want me to write a bucket list… a list of things that I want to do whilst I’m in America. Before they had mentioned this I already had a page long list of things I wanted to do and see. What I am most excited for are little things such as; getting on the plane and seeing what movies they will be showing for the long haul flight, flying over NYC, driving on American ground to get to the hotel & then skyping with my family once I arrive. I am incredibly excited to see who I will be sharing a room with… will they live near me? Starting Orientation and learning first hand from the leaders, going on the NYC tour and getting to stand in the middle of times square… embracing the whole environment probably in complete disbelief I’m actually there. I want to get photos & a pizza slice too and finally getting to meet my host family & travel to their house which will then become my house & get started settling into my new life for the next year!!
My hardest goodbye so far has definitely been at work. I knew it was going to be incredibly difficult because over the past year they haven’t only become my work colleagues but they’ve become like family to me. I have met some incredible people who are now my really close friends. I also found it hard saying goodbye to the children I work with, some of them brought cards & flowers and other gifts for me… truly thoughtful!
This weekend I have leaving parties coming up with my work friends & my out-of-work friends so I shall be bidding goodbye to a lot of people and I’m sure it will be hard… I dread the thought of saying goodbye but I look forward to having good times before I go. Next weekend will be the hardest because I have my leaving party with my family & we are all very close so it will be hard knowing it will be the last time I see them for a year BUT… their well wishes and support makes me happy because no matter where I am in this world, I’m only a phone call away from them!
I hope this blog post has been helpful with what you need to prepare before leaving and has brought some comfort that while it is all very exciting, it’s also totally normal to feel nervous before you depart for the USA. At the end of the day I’M GOING TO AMERICA & there is absolutely nothing else I would rather do!
Good luck with your journey whenever or wherever you may be going