Kristie-Leigh tells us all about being an au pair in San Diego and how she got her study credits in the BEST way!
“I’M SO GLAD I CHOSE TO BECOME AN AU PAIR. I THOUGHT ABOUT IT FOR YEARS BUT I WAS ALWAYS TOO SCARED TO MOVE AWAY FROM MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS. THESE PAST 6 MONTHS HAVE TAUGHT ME SO MUCH ABOUT MYSELF, I’VE MET SOME REALLY GREAT PEOPLE, I’M GETTING TO EXPERIENCE LIVING IN A NEW PLACE AND I’M GETTING TO EXPLORE PLACES I’D ALWAYS DREAMED ABOUT!”
Hello, I’m Kristie-Leigh from Canada. I decided to become an au pair just over 6 months ago because I was ready for a change back at home and I wanted to do something new and something totally out of my comfort zone. In January, I packed up my suitcases and moved away for the first time ever to be with my host family in San Diego, California. I was pretty nervous flying to New York for Orientation because it was the first time I had ever flown alone but as soon as I got to the Orientation hotel and met some of the other girls in the program, I felt better because we were all experiencing similar nerves and excitement. I bonded with a few girls who I have continued to talk to throughout my journey, even though we are all in different places. It was a great experience meeting people from all over the world and listening to what everyone wanted to do while they were in the United States.
After a few days in New York, it was time to get on another plane to fly and meet my host family. I arrived in San Diego late so I was greeted at the airport by my host mom who gave me a big hug and welcomed me to San Diego. On the drive to my new home, it was very easy to talk with her and when we got to the house she showed me my room and let me settle in for the night. The next morning, I met my host dad and my 4 host children who were all excited to meet me after only skyping with me a couple times beforehand. They were wonderful and it has been quite the journey getting to know all of them, watching them grown and learn has been so rewarding. My host mom is very organized so getting to know the kids schedule was easier than I expected and it only took me a couple weeks until I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on what my day looked like with the kids and what was expected of me.
Being an au pair also means getting to enrol in some pretty cool classes for your mandatory 6 credits. I’ve always loved the water and have always wanted to learn how to surf so I thought since I would be living in a beach town, it would be the perfect opportunity to take lessons which count towards my credits while being here. The registration was easy and after talking with my host parents, they supported my decision and helped me pick a good time that worked with my schedule. It was a lot of fun, we got in the water each week and I tried week after week until I finally stood up on the board. I met a lot of cool people and actually became good friends with another au pair who was also in the same class. I plan to check out some more fun classes and might even take some more surf classes to get more credits but I really like the flexibility in what you can study as an au pair. You can take fun classes or something more academic depending on your preferences and interests.
I’m so glad I chose to become an au pair. I thought about it for years but I was always too scared to move away from my family and friends until recently. I didn’t think I could live this far away from home but keeping in touch with my parents and friends makes things so much easier with video calls and my parents even had the opportunity to come visit last month which was amazing. These past 6 months have taught me so much about myself, I’ve met some really great people, I’m getting to experience living in a new place, I’ve travelled to Utah and Hawaii with my host family and I plan to do more traveling in the rest of my year. If you enjoy looking after children and you want to live in a new place, this program is the perfect opportunity. My advice to you is that if you are even considering being an au pair, do it now because you won’t regret it. It’s an easy process, you pick the family you feel the most comfortable with and it’s the perfect opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Experiencing life in the United States has similarities to Canada but I would have never imagined living in a beach town, getting to travel and see other parts of the U.S and meeting other girls from all over the world and hearing their stories. If you’re scared, don’t worry that’s totally normal but in the end you will be so happy you chose to take a chance by becoming an au pair.