Why be an au pair in Belgium? I’ve been asked that a few times already. First, people usually try being an au pair after graduating from high school if they don’t know what to do next / just want to see the world. Second, most Estonians would probably pick some place like the USA, the UK… or any country that offers enough sun for a lifetime in one year.
I’m 22, just got my BA in politics and could be looking for an office job where I could use that education or go and get a Master’s degree in international relations or EU studies or… you get my drift. Why on earth would I be an au pair then? The answer is fairly simple. Even though I’ve travelled quite a lot already, it’s not enough for me; I’ve been wanting to live abroad for at least a year for as long as I can remember. This is the time to finally do that.
For years I thought I’d go to England. I have always loved England and London is the city of my dreams. Then something changed. I fell in love with a Dutchman and suddenly I found I wouldn’t be against moving to The Netherlands. There were a few obstacles though – I had no money for moving and we were both still studying, so just packing everything up and going to a different country was not the most sensible option.
This June I discovered something. I was done with university, I had no idea what I wanted to do next (Master’s degree? In what? What job? In which country???), my eyes were not taking my current office job very well and I felt like I needed a break from everything. I had already had half a week where I could barely see anything with one eye and the other one hurt like mad as well, so I knew I had to make a change. I went through all job offers and put up a profile on an au pair website and the first results came from the aur pair site.
Within 1.5 weeks from the moment I had started searching for a new job, I had an agreement with a lovely Estonian-French family in Brussels and could quit the office job. Being an au pair seemed like the furthest thing from archiving invoices. It seemed perfect. I have always loved children and gotten along well with them, so changing from computers to two lovely small kids… was there even a question?
Of course, one factor in picking that particular family (besides the fact they seemed the best fit from everyone who had contacted me so far) was that Brussels is only a 3h train ride away from Nijmegen. What about Nijmegen? Well, it’s a lovely Dutch town near the German border… and my lovely Dutchman Matthijs happens to live there. We have been flying back&forth between the Netherlands and Estonia for more than 15 months, so being closer to him was such a lovely bonus to everything else. No more asking in January whether he would be able to see me at the end of June or planning the New Year’s meet-up in the middle of the summer. Just jump on a train and go.