I’m in a catch-22 living in Holland as an au pair. My family is using me incorrectly and works me like maid or servant. I have been in touch with the agency but unfortunately for many cases such as mine if a new family is not found for me, I will be sent home. I’m raising money for when worst com…
If you guys have been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to go to the Netherlands for more than a year in order to experience life here and learn Dutch. I was driven by my passion to learn languages and travel and for the past year I let nothing get in my way. I signed up to be an au pair in Holland because I thought it would be the perfect job for me: something that exposes me to a new culture and something that would allow me to work with children, which I really love doing. As an au pair you can live in a host family’s house, take care of their children, and they will pay for you to take Dutch classes. This is supposed to be a cultural exchange where both parties are exposed to new cultures and learn to live together. It is a mutually beneficiary situation that allows the au pair to explore a new country while helping with the host family’s children. The very word “au pair” means “on par,” an equal in the family.
I’ve been here for a month and unfortunately things aren’t going as I had hoped. My host family has not been using me for childcare, but instead as cheap domestic work. I rarely have time to go anywhere, I am working all day, doing things for the host mother and father like ironing their clothes and cleaning up their dirty dishes (they don’t even put them away), and even scrubbing the inside of trashcans. In the evenings I’m expected to cook dinner for the entire family, including the parents. The hours are unbelievably grueling and it’s hard to measure because I am constantly asked to work. In my free time I’m too tired to explore. I’m trying to stay positive but this isn’t what I expected when I came to Holland. I want to keep my passion for Dutch alive but I’m so overworked I’m losing sight of why I came here. My Dutch classes are supposed to start soon, but only 15 minutes after my workday here ends, and I can’t make it on time to class and they won’t reduce my hours. I’ve tried to talk to the agency about it but the agency is paid to please the family, not the au pair. They’ve turned a deaf ear. They don’t seem to want to switch me to a new family, but I can’t imagine staying here for the rest of the year.
My family has had 11 au pairs, many of whom left early and even ran away. I came to the Netherlands to work with children and embrace the opportunity to learn a language, but it’s not happening for me. From now on I want to keep relying on my will, but I want to escape. I’m stuck here and I need a way out. I hate that I’m asking for help, but I’m in a catch 22 and I’m running out of options. I’m having an incredibly hard time asking for help, and I didn’t want to do this, but any little bit helps. I would appreciate even if you shared this.
I am hoping to go somewhere new and find a new job where I can really honestly work with children and languages, but I’ve been horribly horribly misled. I’ve been updating about it on my main blog dollymyfolly under the #host family tag.
I promise after this I’ll keep on bringing you guys only language related posts. Thanks for your support always friends.