Living with a host family abroad is one of the most unique and rewarding experiences you can have. Take it from some of our au pairs in Europe and Australia and New Zealand , who we asked "What's one of your favorite things about living abroad with a host family?"
Jasmine, Au Pair France
Living with the host family affords you the ability to really feel like a part of the family! The littlest ones come to your room at all hours to play or watch TV; the family can knock on your door to ask you to come out with them for dinner; you can hear the goings-on; and you can always step right out and join in the fun! Plus lots of experience with the language!
Tessa, Au Pair France
My favorite things about living with the host family are the sense of home they can provide and a deeper way to integrate myself within the culture of their home country. I have been welcomed with open arms, which has been such an important part of me being able to be away from home in a foreign country for such a long time. Also they are open to talking about their family life, all aspects of French culture and helping me out with simple things like getting a haircut.
Samuel, Au Pair Australia
Trust. The family trusts me to do what needs to be done. That's one of my favorite things.
Thandiwe, Au Pair Spain
One of my favorite things is the culture experience. For instance, my host mum cooks food that I'm unaccustomed to and I just enjoy the fact that I'm trying new things.
Jessica, Au Pair France
I think one of my favorite things about living with a host family would be getting to be a part of a different culture and trying new delicious food! Also, [it] helps you save money on having to do your own groceries, etc.
Katelyn, Au Pair Australia
Living with my host family has been awesome. With three grown women in the house we often enjoy girl time & chocolate! When you live with this family you will definitely feel like a friend of the family.
Heather, Au Pair France
I think the best part about living with a host family is the relationship we've developed during my time abroad. They are very accepting of any faults I make with the language. They are super funny and really nice. They took me in as practically another member of the family. When any other members of the extended family visit for any reason, we have a great time together as well. I just adore how much I feel like this is really a second home for me. ... I have felt comfortable since my first day here and it gets better all the time. I had the pleasure of attending my host dad's 50th birthday party last weekend with 50 other people (family and friends) and it was the highlight of my time here!!
I've had so much help with my language abilities simply by living in their home that I never hesitated to speak with people I didn't know yet. I was understood, I was complimented, and I was overjoyed. My host dad let me know a few days after the party that I made a great impression on several of the attendees and that makes it all the more worth it. I couldn't ask for a better experience and the overall acceptance I get from this family. I already have plans to come back in two years for my host mom's big 40th birthday party!! They're amazing and I'm so grateful for every second I get to spend here.
Jessica, Au Pair Netherlands
My favorite thing about living with a host family is this: there is no more authentic cultural exchange than living and working directly with a Dutch family. There’s no better way to experience a culture.
Levi, Au Pair Germany
One of my favorite things about living with a host family is sharing our meals together. I love when we can all sit down and eat and talk together and enjoy each other's company. It helps also that my host parents both cook very well, too!
Lorraine, Au Pair Netherlands
Hmmm, good question: One of the pros is simply being part of the family. It's nice to have "friends" built into your life and know that my boys kind of see me as an older sister. So sweet :).
Kyelaya, Au Pair New Zealand
One of my favorite things about living with a host family is actually feeling like they are family. It's nice being included in family activities and holidays and makes living in a foreign country so much easier! I know that I'll always have a home in New Zealand to come back to :).
Alicia, Au Pair Spain
One of my favorite things about living with my host family is no matter how busy everyone's schedule is, we still manage to eat dinner together every night.
Kaela, Au Pair New Zealand
I'd say one of my favorite things about living with my host family is the relationship I've made with my little boy. I truly feel like part of the family now and it's all thanks to his love.
Londi, Au Pair Spain
My favorite part about living with the host family is really getting to know the family, their routines and customs. In the beginning it was different but I'm happy I've been able to adapt as they have as well. Also, the family allows me to cook whenever I desire. I typically include them when I make meals and I enjoy seeing and hearing their reaction to dishes that I'm accustomed to. It has all been a fun experience thus far.
Jiyeon worked with InterExchange between 2010 and 2016 helping U.S. citizens planning to travel abroad. She loves living vicariously through InterExchange's young travelers, who remind her of her own experiences traveling to amazing places and making lifelong friendships. Jiyeon currently lives in New York City, holds a masters degree from Columbia University, and finds joy in all things sweet.