Hello, I’m Magda, a 25-year-old girl from Poland who decided to become an au pair in the Netherlands, a country famous for cheese, tulips, windmills and bikes. I had been thinking about it for almost two years before I finally made up my mind. It was not an easy decision to make as leaving my home, people I love and places I like was really difficult. Yet it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Why? I study Dutch Philology at the university in Lublin. During the lectures I’ve learn a lot about Dutch traditions, history and literature and I thought that living here would be a great opportunity to see the places with my own eyes, take part in different events and customs and finally practise the language.
When I tell people that I’m an au pair, they usually ask: ‘Oh, so you are a nanny, aren’t you?’. Well, I’m not. Au pair is not a regular work, it is a cultural exchange. I am more like a ‘big sister’ who takes on a share of the family’s responsibilities for childcare and does some housework. I’ve become a member of the family and I feel like as if I found my second home. It took me a while before I could say: ‘Yes, this is my home’. It had to get used to the family’s daily routine, which was hard than I expected, to cycling almost everywhere despite the weather or to speaking English every day and many other minor things which at first glance you don’t find important.
Being an au pair is the best adventure in my life so far. But I’m aware that I had luck. Why am I lucky? Well, I’m living with the family with whom I get along, we respect and help each other and enjoy our company. I don’t feel like a stranger who lives with a family under one roof or as a regular worked or, what’s the worse, as a servant. The relation between an au pair and her host family (the kids or/and the parents) can be far from being perfect. It depends on various factors and if there is something wrong going on, it is always nice to have someone who would help you, who would work as a mediator between you and the family. I mean someone from an au pair agency, who is there for you. I found my host family on my own on the Internet and then we found an agency, which took care of all paperwork. Honestly, it is nice to have this mental comfort knowing that there is someone who is willing to help you when you need it
It’s been 4 months since I arrived in the Netherlands. Oh yes, time flies. During this time I’ve learned a lot. Actually, every day I learn something new about the language, the country or about Dutch people and about me. It turns out that I’m a pretty good cook, that I can cycle with 3 shopping bags on the steering wheel as if it was in written down in my DNA or that I don’t mind cycling in the rain any more.
When I go back home after a year spent with my host family, I will miss them for sure but I’ll have fond memories of the staying in the Netherlands and a lot of nice pictures from the places I visited and of people I met.
If you are thinking about becoming an au pair, don’t hesitate but take the bull by the horns and enjoy the year abroad. You won’t regret it.
We are an American family, and we have been living in the Netherlands for six years. We have five children, ages 11, 9, 6, 4, and 2. Mondial has helped us with three au pairs over the past three years. We love the au pair program! The kids love the consistency of a care provider who lives with us and becomes a part of our family. We have kept in touch with our past au pairs, and two of them have come to visit us again. Elena is professional and helpful. She is quick to answer questions and advise us. She provides so much support through the process and all the paperwork. She also offers a personal touch. Our au pairs have appreciated the welcome gifts she has given them, such as a chocolate letter for Sinterklaas. We look forward to working with Mondial in the future to help us welcome a new au pair next year.
-Becky and Matthew Miller