The world is just too big to stay in one place. While I love my hometown and still plan to return, I had to go out and see more than just the small portion of Earth I'd already trekked.
Why did you choose GeoVisions?
I had heard about Geovisions through a friend that had a good experience.
What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?
Experiencing the New Year's Eve fireworks off the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
What made your experience as an au pair abroad unique?
I have been able to enjoy life as the locals do and haven't had to worry about accommodation. I have also been able to make friends who are also au pairs, so we have similar schedules to go out and explore together on our time off.
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
I heard from the local agency multiple times to check in and ensure my experience was going well. They also organised monthly meet-ups and although I never attended one, it was nice to have that option
What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?
Open communication with your host family is very important. If you are unclear about an expectation, just ask! And, always ensure there is a contract in place to set the boundaries up front for both parties.
Describe a typical day in the life of your program.
Typically, my day begins at 6 a.m. I get ready, then go to prepare breakfast for the girls I look after. We drive to school and then the midday time is mine to use for exploring (after a few light housework items). After school pick up time we head back home or to one of the girls' scheduled after-school activities and have dinner. After dinner, we head upstairs for showers, some reading, and bedtime. I typically will pack their school lunches in the evening so they are ready for the day ahead. I get weekends off unless we agree otherwise ahead of time for special circumstances.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love going to local cafes and learning more about the coffee culture in Sydney. It is fun to go explore different suburbs and visit an array of beaches that are so easily accessible. I've also enjoyed checking out more "tourist-y" attractions such as the Sydney Tower Eye, visiting the Opera House, and Harbour Bridge.
What was your accommodation like?
I was provided my own room and bathroom in a beautiful home in a great Eastern suburb of Sydney. I've had plenty of space to live in and the kitchen is open for me to use as well.
Is there anything that has surprised you about Australia?
The cost of goods! Even with the exchange rate and the strength of the American dollar, everything is so much more expensive here (but you don’t have to tip!). Also, the giant creepy-crawly rumours are totally true.
Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Australia?
Pack light and buy things later if needed. You won’t regret not bringing a second pair of jeans or your kitchen sink, I promise!
What is one thing you wish you would have known before working as an au pair in Australia?
I wish I would have known to pack lighter. When I arrived in Australia, I brought a carry on and two checked bags thinking I would need everything and my kitchen sink to survive a year abroad. I have purchased so many clothes and products here that I now have to part with (or pay a ton to ship back home) because I don’t have space in my luggage to continue on with everything.
What has been the hardest part about working as an au pair abroad?
Learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road from the wrong side of the car, on unusually narrow and busy streets, with children in the backseat demanding my attention.
Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life?
My time abroad has shown me that even on the other side of the planet, people will go out of their way to help others in a time of need. It is so refreshing to step out of the everyday routine I was in and have the opportunity to take a new outlook on living.
Is there anything you wish you would have done differently?
I am actually very pleased with how things have gone and cannot think of anything I would have done differently.
What do you feel the biggest benefit of working as an au pair abroad is?
I have enjoyed having my daytimes free when the girls are in school (and use of a car sometimes). It has given me so much freedom to explore nearby beaches and sights that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to if I was working a “9-5” job.
Would you recommend GeoVisions to others? Why?
Yes, everyone should travel if they are considering it and this program is awesome because you get to meet and work for awesome people and get paid in the process.
If you could go abroad again, where would you go?
Anywhere with less spiders…
Sarah is a 27-year-old adventure-seeker from sunny California. She left behind her management position to go explore the rest of the planet for about a year. Last November, Sarah moved to Sydney, Australia and took a new job as an au pair for an extremely kind family in the eastern suburbs of the city. She will continue her journeys through Southeast Asia and Europe soon before wandering back to North America.