I have been trying to write this post for a while now. After a couple of months of trying to figure out my next step, I have decided to pursue the two options that appeal to me the most.
Option 1: Au Pair in America
I’ve always wanted to be able to take some time out to travel and experience life from a different view. This is probably why the idea of Au Pairing appeals to me. I heard about it when one of my childhood friends took a couple years off after matric to go overseas. I think I was in 2nd year at the time, and didn’t think I’d be getting a gap like this any time soon. But still I secretly dreamed of being able to work and travel one day.
What I find so enticing about this whole thing is the picture that it paints – exploring the world and meeting new people, while still living with a family, getting a decent allowance and looking after some cute kids. And, then also getting the chance to study a short course and explore some interests.
One of my school friends, Dove, took a year off after graduating and went to Au Pair in New York. I speak to her every now and again, and she seems to be doing ok. She says that her host parents are pretty chilled and that she has quite a bit of time off. When put like this, it all sounds great!
But the thing that scares me the most about this is that I have never traveled outside South Africa. And this will require me going miles and miles away from my home all by myself. I think this is one of the biggest risks that I have ever considered. My whole life has been sort of sheltered. Even though I lived in Cape Town, away from home, for 5 years, it didn’t really feel as though I was out there in the world. I lived on an enclosed campus with security patrolling 24/7 and people around me that I could easily trust.
Traveling to the USA will not guarantee me such. It will be a completely different world filled with the unknown and, to be honest, is extremely daunting for me.
So in the fairness of exploring all options, and after some encouragement from my mentor, I have done some research and had a meeting with an agent in the area. She was really nice and told me about all the requirements and fees involved. Although I am still hesitant, I can still work on these things.
Requirements that I need to work on -
- 200h child care experience
- Drivers's licence
If you have any advice, please feel free to share :)