Bruna from Brazil, an au pair living with a host family in New York, recently received the Outstanding Student Award in her ESL class. At the awards dinner, Bruna had the opportunity to give an inspiring speech about her 2-year adventure as an au pair, which is excerpted below:
“I have learned over the past two years that the au pair life is like taking a hike. Not just a normal hike, but that one that you always think about taking and get discouraged when you see how hard it may be. Because after all, leaving your own country to start all over is probably going to be the toughest challenge you are going to have in your young life.
At first , you are really excited about it. The view of Times Square on your first day is all you need to start your adventure. Everything is new! New country, language, culture, home and a few people that you chose to be your new family. However, like any other hard hike, in the middle of the way, you are going to get tired and start saying to yourself, ‘What am I doing here?’ Homesickness will hit your hard as it can. Now, everything is too different from what you are used to, and all your friends and family are not around anymore.
At some point, since you have no experience with hikes , you’re going to get lost, but luckily you will meet people and they will help show you the way – new friends from different countries, or even a teacher who will encourage you to give your best at studying English. Although you will have their help , they can’t come with you; it’s not their hike. You have to learn to be strong and continue on your own. You may fall, get hurt , and even cry (a few times, by the way). You may even think about turning around, packing your bags and going back home, but you should change your mind because you have gone too far. You have worked so hard. To go back is much longer than to push forward.
But believe me, when you reach the end of your hike, the view is so breathtaking, that all you can think is, ‘I’m glad I didn’t give up, it was worth every struggle.’ [You’ll have] friends from all over the world, and the best part: you can easily communicate with any person in your country and in the US as well. Communication barriers are no longer a problem for you. That is when you realize you made this far and you now have the strength to continue, and see all the wonderful possibilities this life has to offer.
Well, I would like to thank the people that guided and supported me along my hike in this au pair journey. First of all, Au Pair in America and my excellent counselor Cindy Garruba , for helping me through every cultural shock and caring about me all the way. I would also like to thank my two host families for letting me be part of their families, trusting me with their kids and showing me not only the American culture, but also the Korean and Jewish cultures as well. Furthermore, my English teachers along the last two years, for all the dedication and amazing classes. It was an honor to have you all as my teachers. I can definitely say that I had the time of my life over the last two years. ”
Congratulations, Bruna! We wish you the best of luck on your next adventure, wherever it may take you.
Inspired by Bruna’s story? Meet more of our amazing au pairs!