After my experience as Au Pair with the first family with whom I lived in North Sydney was so good and enriching, I was looking forward to exploring that field further. I started looking for the second family I was going to work with and luckily it was just a matter of days, as I had the reference from the previous family and the necessary experience.
This house was bigger than the first. It had a swimming pool, lake, park inside the house and 3 floors (of which one floor was for the Au Pair), another floor for the children and another for the parents. However, this time I would have to live in south Sydney, the opposite of where I lived with my first family. It was also 40 minutes from the city center, where I studied “Project Management” 2 days a week.
As with the first family, they were flexible with my studies and schedules, I just had to notify in advance if I had any extra activities or trips scheduled so that you could organize your schedules.
I had already driven in this beautiful country so it was not difficult to take on this challenge, however, here it is on the opposite side to what we are used to in Latin America, that is, on the left lane, so it was a great responsibility to take and bring the children, I had to be careful and know the area well.
The 7 year old child was starting school that year, I should take him to school. The 2 year old child was going to start the “maternal”, so the adaptation period was going to be a little difficult, and the boy was in a different “little school”. In addition, they had other activities such as dance classes and at the end of the established times, I took them to the park, the library and other places to relax.
My experience with this second family was also very good, although totally different. Even though I had to meet a schedule that they gave me weekly, tighter than my previous experience, I could manage my time with the children and according to how they behaved we did different activities.
Some days we went to the pool, other days I took them to different parks so they could get to know the surroundings and other days we went to their favorite place: the library. There they were happy because they did daily activities with children and could play with iPads and other children.
The 7 year old girl with down syndrome was very affectionate with me all the time, however, it was up to me to call her attention when she was doing some mischief. I had to be aware of her at all times and demanded extra dedication. The 2-year-old child was learning to go to the bathroom and also to go to the “maternal”. She was used to staying at home and with me all the time, so it was difficult for the first few days. The 6 year old boy, always very active and intelligent, liked everything related to aviation and knew all the names of countries and loved playing with maps.
The family, in general, was always very friendly and helpful to me. Every 15 days, in gratitude for taking care of their children, they presented me with recreational activities that I would like to do, such as going to the spa, taking a cruise on the Habour Side cruise, or eating at different restaurants. This was part of my weekly payment.
Sometimes they did activities like camping somewhere else or leaving town and asked me if I wanted to go. When I went, I received an extra and I also got to know other places here in Australia.
My experience from start to finish was very satisfying. I have always felt very comfortable with both families and felt that I was part of them. I feel like I learned a lot, I grew up in many aspects of life and, in addition, I fulfilled my main objective of practicing English and having the opportunity to immerse myself in Australian culture. All the time I spent with the children and adults in the family, it was a constant practice: we talked a little about everything, about studies and life, we tell stories, we compare our customs and so on. It was also the family's point of contact with the children's teachers, so I interacted and talked with them from time to time.
Finally, I thank the two families for giving me the opportunity to enter their homes and learn from them and their children. It is a great experience, where you have to have patience and love for children to make it enjoyable and enriching.
I recommend this way of working for people looking for opportunities to travel, earn money, practice a language, learn from other cultures and grow personally.