Tara Miller - 2015 Program Participant
Tara with the whole Parot family
Why did you choose to be an au pair? Why France?
After receiving my teaching credential in California I wanted to add a TEFL certification through an international TEFL program. I took French throughout high school and college and had a goal of becoming fluent in the language. Teaching English in France was my only option with the TEFL certificate and I knew that I wouldn't have had the chance to become fluent that way, so I looked into the au pair programs.
Why did you select Geovisions over other au pair organizations?
There are many au pair programs out there and most of them seemed like they just matched you with a family and that's it. I chose Geovisions because they were the only company that seemed to truly support the au pairs throughout their time abroad. That gave me the peace of mind that no other company offered.
What was your accommodation like in France?
Being the fifth au pair at the Parot house in Bordeaux, they were very prepared for my arrival. I truly felt I was a part of the family from the beginning. I was given a French phone, a car to use when I wanted during my free time, maps of the city, and even a prepaid bus/tram card for the year. The house was very spacious and I had my own private large bedroom.
What was a normal day like as an au pair in France?
I usually woke up around 7:30 a.m. and ate breakfast with the family, and then took the children to school. I then had free time until the end of their school, in which I went to French classes Monday and Thursday and was free Tuesday and Friday until 4 p.m. Wednesdays the kids finished school at noon and I made lunch and took them to their sports. After school, I took the kids to music lessons, dance, and other activities. After their activities I helped with homework, gave the youngest a bath, and made dinner. Depending on what time their parents came home, I often put the kids to bed and had free time after 8:30 p.m.
What is your most memorable experience from your time in France?
Due to the fact that I am from California, I was unable to come home for Christmas, so I spent it with the family in Brive and Montpelier. Their entire extended family was warm and welcoming, and were very excited to share their traditions with me. As much as I missed my family during the holidays, I had the most amazing experience sharing Christmas with the Parot family, and I really got to experience another culture over the holidays.
Tara showing her goofy side!
What was the biggest challenge you faced as an au pair abroad?
Being older than most of the other au pairs, I had already lived on my own for five years while in college. After living by myself for so long it was difficult living in a house with three kids; it was just a difficult transition, but definitely worth the experience.
What advice would you give to others interested in being an au pair in France?
The best advice I can give is to truly immerse yourself in the culture. Try everything and meet as many people as you can. Be open and willing to experience the local lifestyle. Learn the language, and if you are an English speaker you need to really push that you want to learn the language or you won't become fluent. And most importantly, HAVE FUN!
How has your experience as an au pair in France impacted your life?
I think the biggest impact is my language fluency and experiences traveling in different countries. Those are the experiences that truly made me grow as a teacher and as a person.
Would you recommend Geovisions to others?
YES! I truly felt supported, and there is nothing more comforting than knowing you have somewhere to turn if things aren't working out.
Tara with her au pair friends