A Brazilian Au Pair in the USA: Andrea’s Experience

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Today we are hearing from Andrea, a Brazilian au pair who worked in Kansas City, Missouri for 13 months. (Kansas city being home of the best barbecue, of course. Not a bad fit for a Brazilian!)

Thanks Andrea for telling us about working as a Brazilian Au Pair in the USA. Andrea is our first Brazilian guest author on Become an Au Pair so welcome Andrea!

Brazilian Au Pair USA

How did you find your family? Through a website, friends, etc.

I found them through an au pair agency called AuPairCare, and they were the one and only family I spoke to.

Were you in rural Kansas, the suburbs or a more cosmopolitan area?

I lived in the suburbs of Kansas City.

What kind of visa?

I had a J1 Visa, work and study.

Did you go to English school?

Brazilian Au Pair USA

Yes. The main reason to become an au pair was to improve my English skills, so I signed up for classes as soon as I had a chance.

How long were you in the states?

13 months.

What you loved about working in Kansas:

I loved that Kansas City has a population of two million and looked like a small town for the most part. The community was very kind.

Did you have your own room or own apartment?

Yes, I had my own room on the top floor of a 100year old house. It was pretty cool for me, because in Brazil the houses are so different.

What duties did you have? Did you cook for the family?

Brazilian Au Pair USA

I took care of a three-month-old baby and a five-year-old girl. My main job was to take care of the baby while the five-year-old was in school, then play with both of them until dinnertime. I also had to clean up after the kids and me. My host mom cooked dinner everyday and I helped set up the table and clean up after.

How did you entertain/educate the children?

I did a lot of art projects, drawing and singing with the five-year-old. And the baby had her phases, I remember feeding her first bottle and getting very emotional about it!

How did you spend your free time?

I made a lot of friends, and spent my weekends exploring Kansas City and its neighboring towns. I experienced American culture as much as possible. The au pair salary wasn’t the best but I managed to go to school and travel.

When you first got there, did you feel any culture shock?

Definitely. Everything was different. Language was the main shock, but once I learned how to communicate, everything became a little easier. I was very open to the new experience.

How did you make friends? Was it difficult in a small town? Were there many expats/fellow au pairs?

Brazilian Au Pair USA

I was very concerned about meeting people. And surprised about how much expatriates I met in Kansas City. Especially Brazilians. At that time, I didn’t have Facebook, but Brazil used other social media called Orkut, and I found a community online of a group of Brazilians in Kansas City. Once I arrived, they hosted me with open arms and through them I met people from all over the world.

What was the dating scene like in Kansas?

A little challenging since I came from a very warm and touchy culture. I didn’t use online dating at that time, so it was mostly flirting at bars and events, or meeting through friends. Midwestern guys were gentlemen and excited to date a Brazilian.

How did you handle homesickness?

I didn’t feel homesick until the third month in Kansas City, on a Sunday afternoon. I found myself bored and it hit me. I remember crying a lot, but after the first time every time I missed home, I would call my mom to catch up. Also, tried to keep myself very busy and embraced the community.

Did you find it easy to improve your English?

It was a little challenging because I made Brazilian friends as soon as I arrived. Today, I suggest people to open their minds and try to speak their native language. But I had a goal and I worked hard to achieve it.

Overall would you recommend working in Kansas?

Definitely. Kansas City is a great place to live. There is a fun nightlife, young crowd and a great place to experience the American way of life. I miss that place.

Any important things to pack?

You can find anything you need in that city just bring your open mind.

Have you ever worked as a Brazilian au pair in the USA? Comment below! 

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Andrea Oliveira is a Brazilian-born and raised expat in America. She au paired twice once in Kansas City and once in San Francisco. Andrea loves to travel and explore new cultures. And most important to share her experiences and hope that will they inspire someone. She blogs at AndreaSantana.com.

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