WHEN A DUTCH GIRL GOES TO THE UNITED STATES
Once upon a time there was a Dutch woman who graduated college in 2014 and proudly received her degree ‘Bachelor of Social Work’. Happy, motivated and excited she went to explore the opportunities that would be there for her. However: no jobs available. She started looking for other opportunities. Maybe abroad? Entertainer on a cruiseship in Spain? Sounds nice, but what difference will it really make on her resume? She started rethinking working and studying in the U.S. And that’s where it all started.
So.. This Dutch girl is me, Kim. I am a 23-year old Dramatherapist who always had an obsession with America. Why? Because it is everything we don’t have in Holland. I always saw America as the place to be for new experiences and opportunities and definitely still do!
It is such a life-changing decision. Not because you actually need to change your life by going abroad and adjusting to a new environment, but also because this is an experience that you hope to tell your grandchildren about one day. I still have a little over 2 months to go, but I definitely feel satisfied with the year. I had the opportunity to work in a family with kids with ADHD and Autism. I got to experience a lot from daily routines to therapy sessions and expanding my horizon by focusing on Applied Behavior Analysis, but most of all: I have had a home away from home where I got to be part of a family instead of just being an employee. This has made my experience so much better and easier.
The thing that really stood out for me this year was that I learned how to quickly adjust to a completely new setting and to see everything as a challenge instead of a difficulty. I have been able to make a difference and that is just the best feeling a person can have. And next to adding something to the family, I also added many new friends and places that I have visited that I will never forget.
My year as an au pair might have been slightly different than for other au pairs. My focus was not on just experiencing America but mostly on experiencing working with special needs kids abroad and being part of an American family. I think it’s always a big plus to combine the things you love. And in this case it was my love for America, my love for working with special needs and to learn more about other cultures. I have challenged myself and tried to really put me out there to have the best experience possible and I think I definitely succeeded that.
Expert Au Pair has been the agency to make it possible for me. Since I didn’t have a driver’s license, I was not accepted at any other agency let be to find a special needs family. But I did within just a few weeks and it was a successful match too. And thanks to the experience with this agency my chances of finding a suitable job will hopefully increase.
I am very grateful for the agency, my hostfamily, my new friends and everyone who has supported me throughout the year back in Holland. I have felt loved, challenged and mostly renewed.