Our lovely Brazilian blogger Jessika is back! Sharing her top tips for being an au pair in New Jersey! Whether you live in New Jersey or are visiting for the weekend, check out Jessika’s must see places & insider knowledge on getting around this great State!
11 months in…. it’s probably time to tell you about my U.S home right?! Well lovely readers, let me officially welcome you to New Jersey! 😀
If you are about to match with a host family in New Jersey or have already matched with a family in New Jersey or simply want to visit NJ and see what’s all about, then this post is just for you! New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of Northeastern US. It’s one of the closest states of New York City and Philadelphia. I live in Fair Haven a borough in Monmouth County. In this post I’ll share my favourite places, the best restaurants and give you the insider knowledge on how to get around this amazing State I now call home.
If you’re anything like me, you might ask yourself, can I survive in New Jersey without a car?
If your host family need you to drive your host kids anywhere, they will provide a car for you. You may also be able to use it during your free time too, (but make sure you check with your host family first). I’ve being live here for 11 months and have a car to drive during my time off makes my life easier because most of the things are a little further from my host house. I still use the public transportation too and all the public transport options are very convenient and easy to figure out.
NJ Transit is New Jersey’s public transportation corporation who provides local service on the 835 route. Go to your app store and download the app NJ Transit, there you can get the trains and buses schedules, buy your tickets and plan your trip. SUPER easy!
The bus ticket from my town to the nearest (9 minutes) city where I can take the train to New York cost $1,60. It’s amazing, isn’t it? The train from Red bank to NYC cost $32,00 the round trip. The price of the ticket will depend on how far away you are, so it’s better to check your app in advance, to find out how much it will cost.
If you have any concerns about driving, the cost of gas, how to use the public transportation you must ask your host family or search online for more information. This information will be help you to have a good year as an au pair in New Jersey.
FOOD / MY FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT
As you know your host family will provide food for you, but there will be days where you will want to hang out with friends and explore some of the restaurants in your area.
Here in New Jersey there are so many different types of restaurants to try. I advice to you is to search for restaurants near you on Google. You’ll then be able to check the price of the restaurants, you can see the menu as well and the times of day when the restaurant is super busy. I always go to the restaurants with good reviews and I look to see how many $’s are listed next to that restaurant.
One of my favourite places to eat is the food court of a shopping mall. I love to go there. My favorite food is the Chinese. Their fried rice and the different kinds of chickens are so amazing.
Sometimes you just want to stay in, watch a movie and eat something really tasty but without having to cook anything… Am I right?! If you don’t want go out but still want eat something different, my advice is to download an app like Uber eats and Grubhub. They have loads of different food options in your local area and will deliver delicious food right to your door. Enjoy!
ESL | STUDY FOR FREE & MAKE FRIENDS!
Au pairs must complete 6 educational credits during their year. You choose the course you want, and your host family contribute towards your course fees and provide you with transport to get to your classes.
For lots of au pairs, coming to the USA is the perfect opportunity to improve their English. You may know this already but, here they offer free ESL (English as Second Language) classes at Libraries or Churches. These ESL classes don’t count towards your educational credits, but you can improve your English and make new friends. Check with your Community Counselor for information on the colleges/institutions in your area where you can take a course to complete your educational credits. I started my ESL classes before I found the courses that I wanted to do, and it was the best thing I did.
In New Jersey we have a website where you can search the closest library that provide the ESL course. Check it out! As I said most of the ESL courses are for free, but there are some libraries who charge a small fee for the course, around $10- $25. It’s totally worth it!
GET OUTSIDE & START EXPLORING!
New Jersey has SO many places to see! There are places to go and activities for all seasons! You name it, New Jersey has it! Farms, Parks, Amusement Park (Six Flags), Aquarium, biking, boating & sailing, fishing, swimming, golfing, hiking, trails, horseback riding and more. The Beaches in Jersey are amazing, most of them are free and you just need to pay for parking. I already went to Seaside heights, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Belmar, Avon-by-the-sea, Long branch, Sandy Hook and Ideal beach. I’ve explored lots of parks as well and my favorite until now is Paterson Great Falls.
At the New Jersey parks you can find free magazines where you can check out which activities and classes you can do during the season. It’s incredible! You must visit the Princeton University. It’s one of most important universities in the US. I went there and I’d totally recommend that you go to. If you are a Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss Fan You can visit the Carlo’s bakery in Hoboken. If you like Street Arts you must to walk around Newark and Asbury Park you will be amazed with the talent you’ll see.
Guys, I still have SO much more to tell you about New Jersey! The good news is I have extended with my host family for another year so I’ll be back soon with another blog post! If your Au Pair in America journey is taking you to New Jersey like mine, then I hope you’ve found this information helpful. Thanks so much for reading. See you next month!