I always tell newly-arrived au pairs how brave they are to cross an ocean (or two) to live in the U.S. as an au pair. I remind them of their determination and strength when they’re feeling somewhat vulnerable, alone and afraid. “How many people do you know,” I ask, ” who are willing to travel to a strange country, live with a strange family, and take on the responsibility of caring for these strangers’ children?” Not many!! Americans certainly don’t venture off like this.
It seems this theme of bravery goes way back-I received so many emails in addition to the comments posted on the last blog entry, all telling me stories of their grandparents’ journeys to America. What came through in every email was a description of colorful “characters” who demonstrated so much bravery in the midst of fear, unknowing, and terrible conditions. This bravery was directed towards one goal: making a better life for not only themselves but for their children and grandchildren to come. Opportunity lay before them, and opportunity lays before the au pairs. It’s a different opportunity now, but opportunity none-the-less. We see the opportunity to learn from each other, share our cultures, contribute to a better world,. Oh, and of course, to have an awesome adventure!
Write to us with your exchange experience. Let’s share our worlds.