I arrived in Finland about a week ago and time has gone so fast already! When you first arrive in your new country and move in with your family, you may feel out of place or awkward. After looking back at my first week here are some things to survive your first week!
Spend Time With Your Host Family
If possible try to spend time with your host family and not just the kids. This way you can get to know the parents also. Luckily, the mom was still on summer vacation so she has been able to show me around the city.
Play With The Kids
I don’t speak Finnish and the kids do not speak English so really they only way I can interact with them is through play. I found that this also helps build a relationship with them so they can learn to trust me.
Don’t Judge Parenting Styles
Most likely in a different country they will do things differently than in your country. They may even raise their children differently and have different parenting styles. You may not like it, but they are also not your children. Save yourself the stress and don’t try to judge them. When you are with the kids you can do things the way you want to.
Reach Out To People
I got really lucky again in that my host mom was an au pair herself when she was younger. So she knew that it can be hard to meet people. She contacted people she knew that had au pairs also and gave me their numbers. Because of this I was able to meet other au pairs in the area and have people to do things with. I know this will not be the case for every family, but ask and see if they know of any families with au pairs. Also look for Facebook groups for au pairs in your area. Then after finding people, contact them and ask them to do something! More than likely they want to meet people too so they will be eager to do something.
As always have fun and enjoy your experience. I realize it may not be for everyone, but give it some time and see how it goes.
If you are interested in becoming an au pair, here is a link for how I became an au pair.
What did you do to survive your first week as an au pair?
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