Tag Archives: food

Hints for Success – Homesickness/Culture Shock

Almost everyone experiences culture shock and homesickness 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 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 texting 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, go to the park, and/or go places with other au pairs. If someone invites you out, say “yes” whenever possible.* 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.

*Since we are in a pandemic, talk with your host family about what they are okay with you doing and what precautions you should take.

4. Share your culture with your host family – If you are missing some favorite foods from home, find ways that you can make them here and share them with your host family. There are many international markets in our area, you should be able to find most of the ingredients you need. If you are not really a cook, search online for restaurants and bakeries that have a taste of home. Your host family is probably just as excited to learn about your culture as you are to learn about America.

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 or WhatsApp group to find others who may want to join you on your adventures.

Realize that it definitely gets easier with time.

All au pairs experience homesickness to some extent 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.

Photo by:  Shimelle Laine (Flickr)

Summer Cluster Meetings

This summer, our cluster gathered for three fun and informative meetings.

Photo credit: Catherine McEaddy Holmes

Photo credit: Catherine McEaddy Holmes

In June, we went to the Adams Morgan Movie Night. Before settling down to watch “School of Rock,” we reviewed important water safety tips to remember while we interact with your host kids at the pool, beach, and even in the sprinkler.


What will you remember from your year in America?

What will you remember from your year in America?



In July, we met for a fun evening learning easy ways to document the many American memories and experience in a notebook, scrapbook, photo album, or journal.





Making new friends at the International Potluck Dinner

Making new friends at the International Potluck Dinner

In August, we joined the Georgetown/Woodley Park Cluster for an International Potluck Dinner. Our au pairs made delicious food from all over the world including Chinese and Polish dumplings, South African milk tarts, Brazilian brigadeiro, Jamaican ackee and salt fish and festivals, Spanish huevos rellenos, Brazilian pão de queijo, and Colombian rice pudding.



We discussed ideas for serving host children healthy afterschool snacks and learned more about Georgetown University’s English Language Program from guest speaker Regan Carver.


Crafts, Activities, and Food to Celebrate America

Graphics: JW Illustrations © JESSICAWEIBLE.COM

Graphics: JW Illustrations © JESSICAWEIBLE.COM

Americans love to celebrate America, and the Fourth of July is by far the biggest celebration of all.

Au Pair in America’s Summer Holidays pinboard is chock full of fun crafts, activities, and food guaranteed to bring out the patriotic spirit in au pairs and host kids alike!