“You are JUST a babysitter? But you are a college graduate though.”
I heard this a lot back when I had my first job after college as a babysitter.
Yes, that part of my life was just like that of Scarlett Johannson’s in her film the “Nanny Diaries”. But that was the only thing similar to what happened to my story because mine did not include an oozing hot neighbor and mean parents, who barely have time for their child 😜.
My story started after I graduated Cum Laude with a Marketing Major back in 2009.
I was completely lost.
Having good grades might be a bonus but in reality it is not enough.
I realized I didn’t have the skills.
Gone were the days when fresh graduates with honors were “haunted” for their dream jobs. Out there, in the real world, I fought head to head with other fresh graduates in getting that aloof first job. I’ve been to a lot of interviews but I was never given the job.
Frustrated and torn, I lost all confidence.
Months have passed and I remained jobless until one day, an opportunity came knocking.
It was an offer far off the corporate career jumpstart that I hoped for – I was offered to become a babysitter in Vienna!
Since I stayed jobless for months after graduation, I grabbed the opportunity.
I have never dreamed of traveling to another country let alone living in one. So, I have gone through all the visa process unenthusiastically.
I learned basic German, waited for the terms of my contract and for the documents my employer had to provide, and processed all the papers I needed on my end.
That was my first time hearing the term “Au-pair”, which was stated on my contract. I read the description in the contract and I concluded – babysitter!
The job description was way more than babysitting though.
It is more of a cultural exchange. Childcare in exchange of cultural immersion by learning a country’s language for free, which will be paid by your employer on top of the “allowance”, and of course by living in a country, whose culture is far different than one’s own.
It also cannot be considered as a full-time job because you only are required to work 10 hours a week (this may differ from country to country and of course from employers).
I was not that enthusiastic because I wanted a real job even though the pay, which they call in Au-Pair terminology as allowance, was decent.
And so I flew to a foreign land and met the best host family in the world, who eventually became my friends for life.
They treated me as family and made my experience as an Au-Pair worthwhile.
There were times I have to admit that I felt homesick but looking back, the job gave me the best experience of my lifetime.
I learned how to ski, I continued studying German, ate good European food – all to their expense.
My favorite part of all – being able to travel and learn other interesting cultures, which made me the open-minded and free-spirited person I am today.
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As mentioned, I didn’t think much about traveling before. This was not until my host family brought me to cities and countries I have never even thought of seeing and setting foot on.
Venice was a dream, Berlin is one of my faves, but Vienna is still where my heart is.
Then as natural as that, I came to love everything about travel.
I love learning a few words and phrases in different languages.
I love eating different kinds of dishes from different cuisines.
I love walking and biking in a foreign land.
Years have passed and my life may have changed its course but everything I know and have now, I give credit to that first special job I had after college.
And to no regret, I am glad I took the opportunity and experienced the perks that came along with it.
So, if you are reading this and you are still not sure of which path to follow, turn your way to the path you have yet to explore. Get yourself out there and you will be surprised with how much you can still learn and experience and maybe realize that in the end, taking the risk is worth it.