Martyna, a former au pair from Poland, now works in our UK office after working as an interviewer for prospective au pairs in her home country. Her journey through cultural exchange gave her excellent insight to help applicants to evaluate their interest, ability and suitability for au pair exchange. This sort of review is an important part of finding the best au pairs to match with American host families, so that everyone involved has a rewarding experience through cultural exchange.
To highlight some of the advantages of the au pair program, Martyna describes her year as an au pair with a great host family.
It’s amazing to think that almost two years ago to the day, I was starting my Au Pair in America adventure. At that point in my life I was only 18 years old, I had just finished school, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my future. I did know that I enjoyed looking after children, and I wanted to travel and make my dreams come true.
Through my year as an au pair, I became part of an amazing host family who treated me as their daughter and sister. I never felt like they didn’t want me there, and I never regretted my decision to spend a year in the USA. I had some bad days of course, and sometimes I just wanted to go home and see my family, but I didn’t let those days spoil my experience. I believe that made me stronger, and that’s why I have ended up where I am today.
One of the best things about being an au pair was the chance it gave me to travel around the USA and immerse myself in the American culture. I planned a few trips and went travelling by myself, and that was one of the best experiences of my life.
I spent one week travelling around the West Coast. I started in Seattle, flew to San Francisco for two days, took a bus to Los Angeles, and then I joined a trek with a group of super, fun women. We went camping in Arizona and in the Grand Canyon National Park and our trip ended in Las Vegas. The trip was full of wonderful views and breathtaking moments. I will never forget it.
When I returned to Poland after my au pair year, I became an interviewer for Au Pair in America in Poland, so I could help other people have the same unforgettable experiences in the USA as an au pair. When I saw a job vacancy at the Au Pair in America head office in London, I knew I had to apply, and here I am two months later loving my new job.
Being an Au Pair and living with my amazing host family made me realise I can achieve anything as long as I work hard enough for it. At the beginning of my year, I just wanted to be able to say that I had visited New York, but being in my host kids’ lives and having the opportunity to be a role model to them changed everything for me.
I believe that becoming an au pair was my very first big dream that came true, and since then, I’ve achieved more than I could ever imagine. I travel all the time, and I have lived in amazing places. Previously, booking a flight to a completely different part of the world would have totally scared me, but now I’m fearless, and it’s become so natural to me that I don’t even think about it. I just do it. I want to explore as many places and countries as I can.
Ever since I pressed ‘Apply Now’ and got out of my comfort zone, I have never looked back. Sometimes it’s hard to be away from my friends and family, but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing about the last two years.
To all the future young travellers out there, I want you to know that doing things you are fearful of is actually much more fun than doing the things that are easy, and if you are as lucky as I was on my cultural exchange experience, you will meet some incredible people along the way!
Learn more about how hosting an au pair is a great opportunity for American families to find flexible child care and participate in enriching cultural exchange.