Launch of my new ‘The Au Pair Series’

Launch of my new ‘The Au Pair Series’

Being an au pair can be one of the most rewarding experiences. As you join a family for the year, you get to enjoy immersing yourself in a new culture whilst living in a different city, and learn all about the language and life there.

As a previous au pair, I found that there wasn’t much information about the life of an au pair. Therefore, I am launching my new ‘The Au Pair Series’, which will showcase a wide variety of former/current au pair experiences in different countries throughout the world –  which will allow you to understand and see into the interesting lifestyle that so many of us have taken.

I hope that this new blog series will help those thinking of of becoming an au pair learn more about this amazing experience. If you were an au pair or are currently one, I would love for you to get in touch and for the world to hear about your very own unique au pairing experience!

I’m really excited to hear all the different stories of various au pair experiences, and hope you will too. The Au Pair series will be featured on my blog every Monday, with each new guest post going live then.

For more information, check out my page all about the new series here.

What a year – Au revoir à Paris et bonjour à Oxford!

What a year – Au revoir à Paris et bonjour à Oxford!

As I sit here eagerly attempting to write down what an incredible year I have had, I cannot believe that a year has passed since I said goodbye to family and friends and headed off towards the city of light. A year today, my Parisian adventure began. It’s safe to say that it has ended much too quickly. Continue reading “What a year – Au revoir à Paris et bonjour à Oxford!”

Ways to make new friends as an Au Pair

Ways to make new friends as an Au Pair

Moving to a new country where you do not necessarily speak the language and know no one can be incredibly daunting. Having experienced that just this year, it can be difficult at first, but there are lots of ways of meeting and making new friends. It’s only after a year of living away in another country has the amazing amount of possibilities of doing just this become apparent to me, and I wish I had known sooner! Hence why I am writing this blog post – to help all those becoming Au Pairs to meet new people when moving to a new country. Just because this blog post is aimed primarily at Au Pairs, does not mean that International Students or anyone in general cannot follow these tips – they’re made for everyone!

Language Classes

One of the best places to meet other Au Pairs is at you language classes. Most Au Pairs will attend a language school of some kind, and depending on the school most of the other students will be Au Pairs. In fact, my school was primarily filled with Au Pairs, and my weekly classes were just Au Pairs! This makes it a really easy way to meet others. The good thing about being in an environment like this is that you’re all in the same boat – you are all looking after kids, probably living with a family and in a different country to where you call home. I met some of my best friends in my class, and am so glad that I did!

I would suggest inviting people for coffee or a walk around the city after class. That way you can talk to the other students without interrupting the class!

Language Exchange

This is one of the ways to meet people that I completely regret not doing sooner. Language Exchange is just that – you meet with someone to exchange your language for theirs. Typically, once you’ve exchanged a few emails or messages online, you’ll meet somewhere in public like a nice cafe and just talk! I met a great friend doing just this – She helped with my French and vice versa.    The great thing about Language Exchange is that both parties benefit. It’s also a great way to meet those living in the city, whether they be newbies like yourself or natives. A better way for learning the cultures of the country your in and their language is to be become friends with a native, which is exactly what language exchange offers.

Whilst I’ve only used Conversation Exchange, there are other websites out there to check out for Language Exchanges, for example: My Language Exchange and Italki.

Facebook – Au Pair Groups

There are a wealth of Facebook groups out there devoted to Au Pairs or International students. To find them all you need to do is search ‘Au Pair [and the country you are in]’. There should be plenty of groups to join. Once joining, you can read other people’s posts and post yourself.

In fact, one of the Au Pair groups that I joined hosted an international picnic for all the Au Pairs interested to come and meet others. It was at one of these picnics that I met some of my bestest friends – and I’m so glad that I did! I had nearly decided not to attend, but realised that even though I didn’t know anybody, it’s a great way to meet new people.

Many Au Pair Facebook groups host other events and I recommend checking them out. You never know, like me you might find some people who will become your closest friends whilst living abroad.

Meet Up.com

If you don’t know what Meet Up is, then where have you been!? Meet Up is an online social platform ‘that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world.’ Basically, there are loads of ‘clubs’ or ‘societies’ if you will on Meet Up, where you can join any group depending on your interests and hobbies. For example, there are loads of fitness groups you can join. Whilst in Paris, some friends and I joined one where you got to partake in boot camps at a discounted price. If fitness isn’t your thing then do not fret, because there is literally a group for everything! There are lots of language exchange groups, groups for those interested in Photography and much more.

With Meet Up, you’re likely to meet a whole host of people from all over the city. Whilst there might not be as many Au Pairs, there will be lots of native people or expats, making it a great way to make new friends.

Join a Sports Club

Depending on what level and your passion, joining a sports club can be a great way to meet local people. Whilst here in Paris, I joined a local tennis club. Thankfully I was able to get a slight discount on the yearly fee due to being an Au Pair and wanting to play for the team, otherwise I doubt I would have been able to afford it. Joining the tennis club meant that not only did I meet new people, but as part of a team I was able to join in competitions and play for the Ladies team. I made lots of new friends through that, and even managed to get an English Tutoring Job for a family of one of the women I played with! So if you’re an avid sports fan and will devote the time to play in order to get your moneys worth, then I definitely recommend it.

Just speak to people! 

Whilst we’ve all been brought up with the motto ‘Never speak to Strangers’, sometimes it is a good thing to do just that. Normally you can suss out pretty quickly who looks ‘normal’ or not (though defining ‘normal’ is a whole other topic). I have had a few Au Pair friends make lots of new friends by doing that – talking to people! Whether on the metro, in a  park or in a bar, talking to people will open a new world of making friends. Just remember to be careful!

Have you been an Au Pair or perhaps an expat living in another country? If so, I’d love to hear your tips for those moving to a new place on how to make friends and meet others.

Exploring the hidden gems of Paris: 3 day itinerary

Exploring the hidden gems of Paris: 3 day itinerary

Having been here in Paris for 9 months – where does the time fly?! – I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my favourite places that I think everyone should visit when coming to this magical city. Off the beaten track, the places listed here will no doubt provide you with delightful experiences and fantastic memories.

This blog post is based on my entry on a new-and-upcoming website, called Marco, where travellers like myself write about particular trips we’ve been on. There are so many great things about this website. For starters, you can find real inspiration from reading other people’s entries, and be fixated on stunning photographs posted. Without doubt, another great factor of the website is that when you enter the weekly competitions, you have the chance of winning $1000! Think of new amazing places that could take you to!

You can check out my entry here. If you could vote for me, that would be great – just click here to vote, and don’t forget to choose ‘Explore the hidden gems of Paris‘.

DAY 1

Les Jardins du Palais Royale, Paris

WANDER THE BEAUTIFUL JARDIN DU PALAIS ROYALE

Located a stone’s throw away from the infamous Louvre, Le Jardin du Palais Royale is hidden within the busy rush of the city. Here you can stroll around the beautiful garden, appreciating the symmetrically lined trees and colourful flowers; or you can sit and enjoy people watching from many of the various reclining chairs around the central fountain.

L'Arc de Triomphe at night, Paris

ASCEND L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE FOR STUNNING VIEWS OF THE CITY

Whilst the majority of guides will point you in the direction of the Eiffel Tower, I believe that you can get even better views of the city from the Arc de Triomphe. There’s no better time to go than at sunset and into twilight. It is from the Arc de Triomphe that my breath has been taken away with these exquisite views.

DAY 2

Canal Saint-Martin, Paris

SIT BY THE CANAL SAINT-MARTIN

Many people have never heard of the Canal Saint-Martin in Paris, and it is indeed another hidden gem of the city. Situated in the 10th and 11th arrondissements, the area surrounding the canal is super cool and hip. Parallel to the canal are a plethora of cute cafes and shops, and also a ton of vibrant street art work. Exploring this area of Paris will make you feel as if you have been transported to Amsterdam.

The Sainte-Chapelle, Paris

VISIT THE UNSURPASSABLE ROYAL CHAPEL, THE SAINTE-CHAPELLE

The Sainte-Chapelle is often overlooked by those coming to visit Paris. Built to house the sacred relics of the Crown of Thorns in 1248 under the patronage of King Louis IX (aka Saint Louis), for me the Sainte-Chapelle is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The upper chapel is surrounded by the most exquisite stained-glass, which one can look at for hours. In addition to visiting the chapel during the day, you can also attend various classical concerts in the evening – another must do.

DAY 3

The Promenade Plantée, Paris

 ESCAPE THE RUSH, AND STROLL ALONG THE PROMENADE PLANTÉE

The Promenade Plantée offers walkers an unparalleled and unique experience. Often off the beaten-track for tourists, the promenade provides visitors with expansive views of the city – you become one with the various buildings and architecture, yet remain a flâneur simultaneously. It is a surreal experience – hardly do you find a place within a capital city wherein you feel totally separated from the buzz and rush; but whilst uniquely being right in the middle of it.

If you can think of any other hidden gems of Paris that you would like to share, just let me know!

Once again, here is the link for voting – don’t forget to choose ‘Explore the hidden gems of Paris‘.

Weekend in Berlin

Weekend in Berlin

What a weekend! I have a surprise for many of you (for those who follow my instagram account, the surprise is unfortunately ruined…). Last weekend in France was a holiday, which meant that we had a four-day weekend. With so much time off, I decided it was the perfect time to go and visit one of my best friends, Sally. So, I headed of to Berlin! Yes, I spent the four-day weekend exploring the city and hanging out with one of my dearest pals.

Berlin is an awesome city. It was my first time there, and to Germany! Having studied German for five years with the expectation of going to visit the country with my family, you can probably imagine how excited I was to finally go. There is something really interesting about Berlin. As we wandered the city, I felt as if there was not ‘one’ Berlin. The capital is incredibly diverse, and as you progress around the city, it almost feels as if you yourself are traveling through different cultures and countries. Berlin is super cool and edgy, owning a fantastically active art and music scene. Although I could never see myself living there (Paris has stolen my heart), I would love to go and visit again.

My friend Sally is also an Au Pair, and her German ‘family’ owns a beautiful apartment right in the centre of the city. Being in such a central location meant that we saw and did lots of different things – of which I am currently writing in an upcoming blog photo diary post.

Overall I had an awesome weekend, and got to finally tick one of the cities that I have been desperate to visit! If you have been there, I would love to know what you thought of the city.

Mon retour à Paris – Back to Paris

Mon retour à Paris – Back to Paris

These past recent weeks seem to be flying by, and much too quickly for my liking. The last two weeks have been the holidays for me, which included travelling down to the South of France and then heading back over to England to spend time with my family. Not only have the weeks gone incredibly quickly, but I cannot believe that it’s May already! Where did April go? For me, this means that the clock has begun ticking towards my departure from Paris, and it makes me really sad just thinking of leaving my French family and life here. However, I shall not be down the last two months I have here, but will make the most of the time I have left here in this beautiful city. That includes visiting places I have never been before, as well as trying my hardest to blog all about them.