From applying to the program to meeting her host family for the first time, Israeli au pair Coral tells us all!
“THE VERY FIRST MOMENTS OF MEETING SOMEONE NEW ARE ALWAYS STRESSFUL, IT CAN BE AWKWARD, FUNNY AND HAPPY. THERE IS NO MAGIC SOLUTION, THE SECRET IS TO NOT BE SHY, TO SPEAK UP, ASK QUESTIONS, TELL AND SHARE AND SOON ENOUGH YOU’LL BE PART OF THE FAMILY.”
My name is Coral and I’m a 23-year-old au pair from Israel. I’ve been an au pair for the last 11 months in Virginia, very close to Washington D.C.
Since I was little, I had a dream of living in the USA. It might have been their music industry or the Hollywood movies, but something always seemed so glamorous to me about that country. As I grew up I discovered my love for my own country but this 50 States country always stayed in my mind.
One very ordinary day I was on Facebook and I stumbled upon an advert about the Au Pair in America program. I had never heard about it before but I wanted to find out more. I contacted the Israeli representative for Au Pair in America, I started to fill in all the application forms, I went in for an interview and before I knew it I was on a flight to NYC.
I want to focus on the matching process a bit, talking to different families and trying to find the right family to live with for one year is a scary but exciting experience. I was very anxious when my profile went online to the host families. I wasn’t sure what kind of families I would meet, where they would live, how old the kids would be and so on. It wasn’t long before families had started contacting me and I was arranging times to speak with them all. I was really keen to find a host family who lived on the East Coast of the USA, partly because I had been to California a few years earlier and partly because I wanted to be closer to NYC and explore the East Coast of the USA more. However I knew I needed to base my decision on the family rather than where they lived. I wanted to take care of children who were already at school rather than babies because I had more experience with children of this age. The most important thing I was looking for was a family that saw me as a family member rather than just the au pair. I remembered these points whilst I was talking with different families and they helped me to decide which family I wanted to match with.
And so, I was on a plane to NYC, saying goodbye to all my family and friends and off on my next adventure. I was so excited, thrilled, anxious, happy and many more feelings I cannot describe. However, my new beginning didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped it would. I couldn’t sleep at all, I got air sickness and on top of all of that I had a big delay with my connection flight so I landed a lot later then I should. I got to an empty room in the Orientation hotel as my roommates’ flights were also delayed. Late at night and not feeling very well, I felt pretty nervous but I decided that tomorrow was a new day and my ‘new beginning’ could start first thing in the morning.
Over the next few days I met girls from all over the world. I learned some interesting stuff about the US and the expectations of an au pair in the USA and I finally visited NYC! Orientation wasn’t easy, we were all tired, jet lagged, some of us missed our homes, some were struggling with the language but it was a great and informative experience and helped to prepare us for the coming year. I met some amazing girls and we all had one purpose – to make this year as amazing and as unforgettable as we possibly could.
On the last day of Orientation, we had to say goodbye to each other, knowing I had already made friends all over the USA I continued with my next adventure…meeting my host family!
The very first moments of meeting someone new are always stressful, it can be awkward, funny and happy and you will always want to make the best out of it. You go through all of these emotions and feelings for the first few days with your new host families. There is no magic solution, the secret is to not be too shy, to speak up, ask questions, tell, share and soon enough you’ll be part of the family.
My first weekend with my host family was all of that and more. They decided to go visit friends in New York City and they wanted to take me with them. And just like that, I was on my second trip to the greatest city in the world with people I had only known for a few days, but who were about to become my second family.
That weekend in New York City was surprisingly rainy and we didn’t bring our umbrellas (oops!). We had a choice – either get upset and not leave the hotel room or get outside to explore New York City in the pouring rain. We decided on the second option and there we were, dressed in our summer clothes, running around the streets of Manhattan and Central Park lanes, talking, laughing and getting soaking wet. For some people this would have been a disastrous weekend, but for me it was the perfect adventure, and that was when I knew I had found the perfect host family for me.
Stay tuned for my next adventures in this crazy 50-states-country I call Wonderland.