My journey began in July 2013. I arrived as the first Au Pair in Roxby Downs, so I often explained what an Au Pair is, who I am and where I come from. The community in Roxby was always very interested in me and my journey, most of the people said I'm brave and they would love to do something like that, but they are afraid.
I didn't feel that brave and strong because I was really homesick, cried a lot, I was wondering if my decisions in becoming an Au Pair, going to Australia and especially choosing a family who lives in the outback with no other Au Pairs around were right. I had lots of doubts and worries especially the first time. Everyone says it's getting better in time and they were right after I survived the first downs I grew on them and they made me stronger every day. So I stopped crying and instead I was looking for things I could do in this beautiful, special, small mining town in the outback of SA. I started to meet people from all over the world, because that's what Australia is about. It's a multicultural nation; I met people from South Africa, Eastland, Russia, India, Papua New Guinea.... But I couldn't find anyone from Germany. It was hard for me to talk in English all the time, all my Au Pair friends had other Au Pairs or backpackers to talk to in their own language and I was a bit jealous but I learned you always have to look on the bright side. I came to Australia to improve my English and there is no better way to learn English than to use English the whole time in your everyday life.
A good friend of mine always said I'm jealous because my English didn't improved that much because I'm always talking German in my free time and I haven't met any Australian cause I spend my free time with other Au Pairs.
So you see there is always a good and a bad side, sometimes it was really hard for me and I felt lonely in a foreign country with foreign people but every time I tried new things and started to talk to other people I felt better and better and I saw that I'm now not afraid anymore to do things on my own or to try new maybe odd things. I just feel more independent and that's what a gap year in a foreign country is about. To learn who you are, to become independent, also to enjoy your time off away from the busy and maybe boring everyday life you had before and to try new things especially when they seem really odd :D
Here in Roxby I participated on a Pink Ribbon Golf Day to raise money for the Pink Ribbon association we played Golf in the Roxby Downs Golf Club, auctioned a caddy and had fun (I never played golf before :D). I did a silver jewellery making workshop with an incredible woman I met here in Roxby; we had a beautiful Christmas pageant on a sunny, hot day. I left my print at the community mural with self-made ceramic tiles (even one that says AIFS Au Pair in Australia). Also quite lot families in Roxby are thinking now of getting an Au Pair and I feel great because I helped them to get to know what an Au Pair is. Au Pairing is a good thing for families and students even if you have some issues with your family, I also had them.
What I learnt is, that you need to talk to people about your feelings and your wishes, it can be really hard but it's necessary if you want to be happy.
I also became a member of another family which is really great and they will always think of me like I will. Every time my Hostchild rides her bike she will think of me because I taught her how to ride, when she is teaching it to her children in the future she will probably think of me as well and may use the same way I taught her to ride the bike. It's amazing what you can show your Hostchildes and how important you can become for another person.
I can just recommend doing a gap year if you ever had the wish to do it!
In the end you would regret it, even if you decide to do a gap year and after 3 months you decide you want to go back. You can because you do that for yourself, AIFS lets you go home if you want to, I'm not sure if other agencies would let you go earlier.
AIFS acts more in the background just to help you if you need help, otherwise they let you do anything you want to do, and it’s not like they are your agency and controls what you have to do. They let you arrange everything with your Hostfamily on your own. What they do is, they help you especially at the beginning with all forms etc. and they are there for you if you need help. And that's exactly what I wanted, support here in Australia during my gap year.