Don't be afraid of trying something new! It can be hard moving to a new country where you don't know anyone besides your host family. I wasn't sure how to go about making friends in a new city and new country. My host family put me in contact with another au pair in our neighborhood. It was great we organized play dates and also met outside of work hours.
My agency also hosted weekly playgrounds and once a month au pair events. I also joined an Auckland Hiking Group. Here, I met friends to go on weekend trips with. I join another group called Girl Gone International for international women living in Auckland, New Zealand. Girl Gone International has groups all over the world in larger cities.
Research and find a variety of ways to meet people (Facebook groups, MeetUp, or with your agency). I was nervous at first, but everyone is so friendly and they want to meet new people and make friends also!
This depends on the family, the number of children, and the children's ages. For me, I looked after one child that went to kindy (preschool) three days a week for half days. Then I had two full days where we went to swimming lessons, gymnastics class, or I planned an activity. I worked 35 hours a week and also cooked for my host family two nights a week.
Each au pair's hours, expectations, and schedule will depend on the family. I've met some au pairs that are with the children full time (usually newborn or under 3 years old) and some au pairs that care after all school-aged children.
For me, I don't think it was necessarily a fear, but more a challenge.
I have lived away from my family before, but I have never dealt with a 19 hour time change. New Zealand (depending on when the USA and NZ have time changes) is 19 hours ahead. I was "living in the future", as my friends would say. This can be a real challenge when trying to video chat and stay in contact with friends and family back home. Eventually, I got used to the change and would often call home on Mondays, when my host child was at school and it was Sunday afternoon back in Minnesota.
The moment my host child called me a "second mummy." I was not expecting to feel so comfortable and at home in another country. I do have a second family in New Zealand now. I am so grateful I decided to become an au pair. It is such a unique and special experience. I've always loved to travel, but living in with a family and becoming a part of a family is an experience like nothing I've ever had before while being abroad!