Monthly Archives: September 2013

Free Museum Day this Saturday

A thoughtful host mother in the Baltimore cluster has sent me the following link to share with everyone in the area. A few of the local museums are offering free admission for 2 people this Saturday. She has printed out tix for Port Discovery. See what you can find!

Hints for Success – Homesickness/Culture Shock

Almost everyone experiences culture shock when they come to a completely new environment. Everything is different: the language, the food, and the people. 

Here are my Top 5 Tips for
Dealing with Homesickness

1. Make Friends – Don’t wait for other au pairs to reach out to you, reach out to them. There are other lots of new au pairs who are feeling the same way you are right now. Set a goal to reach out to a few of them each day. Some will respond and some will not. Don’t let that discourage you. No one will ever be mad at you for sending them a message to say hello or ask if they want to do something together. Make friends from various countries and you will also get a chance to practice your English skills together.

2. Stay in touch with your home country, but not too much. Skyping or talking on the phone every day with your family and/or friends back home normally makes homesickness worse. Try emailing instead and reduce the Skype and phone calls to once a week, until you feel stronger. It’s much harder seeing the faces and hearing the voices of those you miss.

3. Get out of the house (or your room specifically) – Go to cluster meetings, have coffee or movies with other au pairs, join a gym, go to the library, go for a walk, visit the mall, get a manicure, visit a museum. If someone invites you out, say “yes.” Also, don’t be afraid to do the inviting. If your host family invites you to do things with them, say “yes.” This will help you get to know each other and contribute to your overall happiness.

4. Realize that it definitely gets better – All au pairs experience homesickness and nearly all of them stay and have a successful year (some stay for two years.) So, it must get better, right? Once you get past the initial homesickness, most au pairs report how quickly the year goes by.

5. Make Plans – Create your own Au Pair Bucket List (places you want to go, new foods to try, new things to experience during your year in the U.S.) and start doing them now. Post on our cluster Facebook group to find others who may want to join you on your adventures.

Photo by:  Shimelle Laine (Flickr)

Au Pair Coffee Klatch at Starbucks

photo (22) - CopyThe Annapolis cluster twice a month meets at a local Starbucks in Severna Park, MD to get together informally for a cup of coffee.  It is a wonderful opportunity for au pairs to get together and meet new au pairs who have just arrived to our cluster.  Au pairs share information about what classes they are taking, where to take classes, travel opportunities and upcoming weekend festivities.  The au pairs have the chance to share their experience with the new arrivals and offer tips and suggestions on how to have a great year with their host families and what to expect.  Phone numbers are exchanged and play-dates are set!  This is also a good time to ask me, their counselor, any questions that they may have about any aspect of the program.  Personally it gives me the chance to get to know the girls a little bit better in a relaxed environment.  I love the fact that it feels like I’m having coffee with many daughters at once!

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashana Honey CakeSeptember 4- Rosh Hashanah – Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown and is a solemn celebration of the beginning of the Jewish year.  Synagogue services are held on Rosh Hashanah. During the services, the shofar, a ram’s horn, is sounded.  During Rosh Hashanah special dishes are prepared. Many of the dishes contain honey which symbolizes the desire for a sweet year. A round bread represents the fullness of the year.

To help insure your new year gets off to a sweet start, visit