Skandinaviska Institutet

Hanna, Wagga Wagga

Åldrar på barnen: 9, 11, 13

Hur länge var du i Australien: 7 månader

What were your reasons for applying as an au pair?
I’ve always been very interested in international exchange and have dreamt about living abroad for many years. When I was figuring out what I wanted to do after High School I came across the chance of becoming an Au Pair. For me, it seemed like the perfect combination to live in a family and work with kids while experiencing a new culture.

Tell us about your host family:
My host family wasn’t originally from Australia. My host dad was from Zimbabwe and my host mum was from England. They were both veterinarians from the beginning, but now worked within universities. The oldest daughter lived at a border school in Sydney, but came home during the holidays. The whole family was very interested in sports and music, and they had a lot of after school activities. They’ve had a lot of Au Pairs before me and was very open and warm towards me.

Describe the area you live in:
I lived in a rural area in a town called Wagga Wagga with around 60 000 people. Wagga Wagga was the main town for the area and had a big hospital and a city centre with a lot of stores. It’s located right in the middle between Melbourne and Sydney, around five hours away from both. The railway goes though the town so you could easily go away on weekend trips. It’s also around a 2 hour drive from Canberra.

What does a typical day look like?
I usually started working at 7 in the morning, preparing lunch boxes for the kids and putting gout breakfast. Then I made sure they where ready for school and walked them to the bus. After that, I usually did the laundry and cleaned the kids rooms. After I finished my duties, I usually had a couple of hours of free time.

In the afternoon, I picked them up from the bus stop and made them afternoon tea. Then we did their homework and after they were finished we usually played games or were outside. I also helped out with dinners at times and putting them to bed. Not all days looked like this, during the holidays I spend the whole days with the kids and some days I helped out at their school.

Tell us about any travelling you have done or are planning to do:
I stayed in Australia for one and a half month when I’ve finished working. I travelled from Sydney to Carins, and then back down to Gold Coast and Brisbane to spend a week and a half there. During the trip I got to surf at Byron Bay, go 4WD at Fraser Island and snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. I travelled mostly with my friend Teresa who I met in Wagga Wagga, she was also an Au Pair from Germany, but I also spent some time traveling alone. During working I went on some weekends to Canberra, Melbourne and The Snowy Mountains. I also got to see the fireworks in Sydney at New Years Eve!

What have you gained during the year?
I’ve gained an experience of a lifetime going to Australia. I now have a second family on the other side of the world and a second home. My English has improved a lot and I’m much more comfortable speaking now than before. I think I’m a more independent person now than before and know more who I am now. And I also had the most fun time of my life!

How have you been spending you pocket money?
I saved half of my pocket money every week for my travels I was going to do after I finished. The rest I spent on activities with my friends, buying things I needed and weekend trips.

What do/did you find most challenging about being an au pair?
I think the most challenging thing is being away from home for such a long time, especially being so far away as Australia is. But after a while you understand how fast you’re time is gonna go by and all of a sudden you’re going home again. So make sure to enjoy it, I miss Australia everyday.

Write a short message to anyone thinking about joining Skandinaviska Institutet / Au Pair in Australia:
Just go for it! It’s the best decision I’ve taken my whole life. I grew so much as a person during my time in Australia. Having Skandinaviska institutet with me during the whole process was a big security and made me feel more comfortable going to Australia, knowing they would always help me if I had any problems.