Hello future au pair!
My name is Denise Dietl, I am 20 years old and I just came back from the US. After I graduated from the commercial college in Steyr (Upper Austria) in 2013 I decided to leave everything behind me and have the time of my life in the United States. If you don’t go abroad right after high school, you will never do it! I am so glad that I did it, I would definitely do it again!
I was living in Pomona (NY State, about 30 min north of Manhattan) with my lovely host parents and my little two host kids Jillian (4) and Tommy (2). We had a huge house, with a big swimming pool and a big backyard, where the kids loved to play at the swing set. I took care of the two kids for one year and we had such a great time together. During the week my girl Jillian usually went to school from 9 am to 3 pm, that means most of the day I only had to take care of little Tommy. He was such a cute and adorable boy, I really miss him. On holidays, snow days or other days, where school was closed, I had them both. Jillian and Tommy were very active kids and liked to be entertained so we did a lot of different things. I took them for walks, to the park, to play dates with other au pairs, to the public library or to an indoor playground. My host family was the best host family in the world. They treated me like a family member, I was always allowed to join them, whenever I want to, wherever they went to and I know that their door will always be opened for me- it’s my second home.
Now to my free time...
In my free time I mostly hung up with my au pair friends. Our cluster was really big and I had more than 40 au pairs from all over the world within driving distance. We had monthly meeting with our counselor Kaija, where we got the chance to get to know different cultures, food and traditions. If you had a problem or want to know something you could always go to Kaija, she always helped us. My best friends came from Germany, Thailand and South Africa. I am going to visit my German friends next month and I am so excited, I can’t wait to see them again. In our free time we went to the mall, either for shopping, eating or the movie theatre. We also spent a lot of time in NYC. I have seen so many different cities during my stay in the US, but it’s definitely the best and most spectacular city in the world. During the year I also went to Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Chicago for a weekend. During my stay I also had 2 weeks of vacation. I spent one week in the Dominican Republic with a friend and the other week my sister and a friend came to visit me and my host family. After 12 amazing months in NY I was traveling for 1 month with a friend. I saved a lot of money during my year for my travel month and I am so glad that I did not spend everything on clothes. We went to Hawaii (Oahu) for 11 days and then we joined an organized tour through California, Nevada and Arizona with other au pairs. It was such a great time!
The American culture is definitely different than the Austrian. It was the time of my life, but there were things I did not like though – the food! Well, I am a little bit picky, but all in all I would say the American’s can’t cook. Sometimes I cooked Austrian dishes for my host family and they really loved it. Once they will come to Austria, I will show them much more Austrian dishes. What I really liked about their culture were the big parties at Halloween, Thanksgiving and 4th of July. It was amazing to celebrate those typical American holidays in the US. The Americans are also very opened minded, friendly and out-going people. It doesn’t matter if they know you or not, they always try to talk to you and that’s something I really liked about them.
I know it might sound weird, but it was harder to say goodbye to the US, than it was to Austria, when I left last year. Most of my family and friends say that I didn’t change, but I think that’s completely wrong! I don’t look different, but I think different. I am not really happy at home at the moment, I don’t know what I want to work or study and I really miss all the opportunities I had, the places I have been to and the people I have met in the US. I hope I can be happy again one day, I hope I can.
I hope your time in the US will be as great as mine. I wish you all the best.