Tag Archives: music

Homesickness and Culture Shock

If you have a hard day, feel homesick or lonely, please listen to this wonderful song written by a German au pair who had a tough time but successfully completed her year.  She recorded this song with the help of her host child.

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 some 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. Try volunteering, there are so many opportunities in the area.

6. Tell your Host Family- they want to know how you are doing, and it helps to let them know.

International Drum Month

8503154320_15c4903630Use an empty coffee can or oatmeal container as a drum and bang on it along with some lively music.

~Make a drum!

Here are instructions (from http://www.pbskids.org) for a drum experiment for school age children. Younger children like to use a coffee cans or pots as drums.
1. First get a container that you think will make a good drum, like a metal bowl or an oatmeal container.
2. Put the double-sided tape all the way around the container 2 inches from the top.
3. Cut 2 pieces of shrink-wrap big enough to cover the tape on the container. Then, push it onto the tape.
4. Tape the edges of the shrink-wrap with masking tape so it’s really secure.
5. Now blow-dry the shrink-wrap with a blow dryer set on hot. This shrinks the plastic and makes a very tight drum. Be sure you don’t put the end of the blow dryer to close to the plastic, or it will melt.
6. Once it’s really tight, bang your drum.

Photo: Thomas Kohler

John Philip Sousa’s birthday

5819184201_df0392f0e7John Philip Sousa was born in 1854 and is famous for composing marches – classic American patriotic music. Make a marching band with the children and have a parade. Children love to make noise, and you don’t need fancy instruments. Try two pot lids as cymbals, a stick and an empty cardboard or plastic container as a drum. Sandpaper rubbed together makes a great noise too! Homemade flags or paper hats would dress up your parade even more.

Photo: Brandon Giesbrecht