Tessa is a young Canadian who has been au pairing in Paris since September. She lives in her own apartment & cares for 3 lovely children ages 8, 4 and 10 months. Tessa also studies French part-time at a private school. Today she shares some of her thoughts, experiences & advice about being an au pair in France.
Why did you decide to au pair in France? The main reason I chose to au pair in France is because of the French language. I studied French all throughout high school and college and decided it would really benefit me to become more fluent so that when I become a teacher I will have more options to choose from. I love the French language and learning French so the choice was easy for me.
What do you like most about this experience as an au pair and student in another country? I really like the fact that I have met friends from all around the world and will hopefully stay connected with them forever. Every day that I am here I am experiencing something different and it is helping to make me a more confident person who can adapt to any situation I am given.
What do you enjoy most about being part of a French family? Being part of a French family is so important because it makes me feel more at home knowing I have people to rely on and ask for advice or help. My host family treats me so well and is always including me in birthdays and holiday trips! They support me and help me to learn to speak French and introduce me to all kinds of French culture!
What’s your favorite thing to do with the kids? My favorite pastime with the kids is going to the park. There are many homes in Paris that don’t have much space for kids to play outside, so taking them to the park where they can run around and be loud and play is great! I enjoy making up little treasure hunts for them to do in the park. When it is too cold to go to the park, listening to music and drawing are our main hobbies.
What has been your biggest challenge as an au pair? What advice would you give to other new au pairs? My biggest challenge as an au pair has been the language barrier. It has taken me a long time to overcome my fear of speaking and making mistakes while speaking. I don’t feel like I have completely gotten past this but I have made progress since the beginning. To new au pairs, I tell you this: just talk! It takes a lot of confidence to speak up in class or add something to a conversation but if you can do it once, you will be able to do it more and more afterwards.
How do you think this experience will help you in the future? This experience will definitely help me in the future because I have gained so much self confidence having to live in a place where I must handle certain situations on my own. When I am back in Canada and dealing with similar situations I will be able to handle them with complete ease because I’ll remember how I once had to do it using an entirely different language!
What three adjectives best describe your experience in France?
- Overwhelming (both good and bad!)
What made you decide to work with Latitude International Education for your au pair placement? Would you recommend this service to others that would like to au pair? I decided to work with you for my au pair placement because I knew you had been an au pair once yourself. This was important to me as I knew you would know all the right steps to take and would also be able to give advice that other agencies may not. When I first started the process I felt like it would be a lot of work with all of the forms and contracts, but having your help made a real difference and made the process so much less stressful. I would recommend your assistance to anyone who would like to au pair because of the one on one help you offer at every step of the way.
Find out more about our Au Pair in Europe programs here!