Au Pair Series
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The Au Pair Series: Marianne in Den Haag, Netherlands

Becoming an Au Pair

Tell us about yourself!

Marianne. A graphic designer, wardrobe consultant, and social media manager. I live on the Treasure Coast of Florida.

Where and when were you an au pair?

March – June of 2012 in Den Haag, Netherlands.

Why did you choose to go au pairing in that particular country?

One of my friends had been doing it for 2 years and she loved it, so I thought it might be fun to try as well.

What was the ‘aim’ of your year as an au pair?

I was 25 and in the midst of my quarter life crisis. I needed to get away, see some of the world, get out of my comfort zone, and try to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

How did you find your au pair family?

I took over for my friend who had worked for the same family for 2 years. She was moving back to the states so it worked out perfectly.

How did you find the first few weeks moving in as an au pair with a new family? Are there any things you wish you’d have known before beginning?

It was interesting and quite an adjustment. I had to adhere to their schedule and fit into the rhythm of their family. I had to bike everywhere with the kids in tow so figuring out where I was going was a huge challenge for me. I depended so much on google maps back home and I didn’t have that luxury over in The Netherlands.

The Au Pair Series -Marianne in Den Haag, Netherlands

Life as an Au Pair

What was your daily routine like as an Au Pair? 

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday
    • 8:00 Wake up just as the kids were leaving
    • 8:15 Eat breakfast
    • 9:00 – 3:00 work on my blog, read, meet up with friends, work on graphic design projects.
    • 3:00 Pick up kids from school in a bakfiets.
    • 3:00-5:30 Take kids around to different activities/friend’s houses.
    • 5:30-6:30 Cook dinner for family.
  • Wednesday
    • 8:00 Wake up just as the kids were leaving
    • 8:15 Eat breakfast
    • 9:00 – 12:00 work on my blog, read, meet up with friends, work on graphic design projects.
    • 12:00 Pick up kids from school. They had a half day every Wednesday.
    • 12:00 – 4:00 Take kids around to different activities/friend’s houses.

What was the deal with school holidays? (eg. Did you have the weeks off, or were you required to work during this time?)

I wasn’t there for an entire year, but I did have most school holidays off. I did have one full week with the kids which was a big test of my patience. There were 4 kids!

What were your best and worst experiences as an au pair?

My best experience was meeting other au pairs from all over the world. We still keep in touch today! I can’t say I had any bad experiences. It was all new and fun. Stressful at times, but it taught me a lot.

If you experienced any problems or issues with the family, how did you resolve them?

I usually just spoke to the parents. They were very helpful and open and we had a very good relationship.

Marianne Humburg in Den Haag, Netherlands, The Au Pair Series
Socializing, leisure and the language

What advice do you have for making friends as an Au Pair?

Join au pair facebook groups and interact with other au pairs at your children’s school! Believe me, they’re there.

How were you able to fit socializing with the commitment of your hours as an Au Pair?

I’m a homebody, but I did make time to make friends and be social as often as I could. Especially when the weather was nice!

How easy was it to feel part of the community? Did you make friends outside of the ‘au pair’ world?

I made a few friends and contacts outside of the au pair community, but it’s not as easy as sticking with your tribe. I ended up writing for an expat monthly publication which was very fun! I also joined a church so I met some people there as well. Den Haag is filled with people from all over the world, so the majority of the people I met were not Dutch.

How did you find the language barrier (if there was one)? – How were the first few weeks of living in a new country?

Dutch people speak English very well, so there wasn’t much of a language barrier.

 Marianne Humburg in Den Haag, Netherlands, The Au Pair Series

Life after being an Au Pair

How has being an au pair changed you?

It’s made me more open and flexible. It throws you into a completely different culture and environment and you have to make the best of it and embrace it. It’s also taught me that no matter where you are in the world people are truly amazing. Giving, hospitable, and they all have a story.

Would you do au pairing again?

Yes! But I’m not in the same place I once was. I’m building a career and am in a great relationship which I wouldn’t give up for the world.

Would you recommend au pairing to others? And why?

Yes! I recommend it to anyone that’s under 25. It taught me so much about the world and more importantly it taught me about myself. It helped shape who I am and I am incredibly grateful for that!

What advice would you give to those wanting to become an Au Pair?

Go for it! be open and accepting and always try to be a blessing to your host family.

VISA Preparation for Au Pairs

Was it a requirement for you to have a VISA?

Yes.

How did you go about getting your VISA?

I have family in the EU so they were able to help me with it.

The Au Pair Series -Marianne in Den Haag, Netherlands

Find out more about  Marianne on her various social media platforms:

Marianne Humburg has worked in the design industry since her graduation from the University of Kansas in 2008. A BFA in Textile Design brought her back to her Florida hometown where she was offered a job as an assistant designer for a Florida-based accessories company. In 2012 she spent six months in Europe traveling the Old World before settling back on the Treasure Coast of Florida. She launched M. Elle Creative LLC in 2013 as a blog and graphic design business and recently expanded it to include small business web design.

She writes a blog about fashion on the Treasure Coast and also has a fashion column in the monthly publication of Stuart Magazine. She loves to read, travel, spend time at the beach, try local restaurants, and can’t say no to a good brew. When she’s not designing, blogging, writing, or shopping you can find her spending time with her family and friends and enjoying this beautiful world.

Blog: thehappyclosetblog.com   |   Facebookthehappyclosetblog

Twitter: @mariannelynnh   |   Instagram: @mariannelynnh_

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