6 things to do before leaving your host family
Your last weeks, or even months, with your host family might get quite emotional and busy for both you and them. They might be interviewing new au pairs - someone who will come and “replace” you in a way, and you might feel left out. You might want to see your friends as much as possible before you leave, so your family might feel you are away more than they would like. It is a stressful time for everybody and to make sure you leave on good terms and as happy as possible, there are several things to try out.
1. Talk to your host parents about how to tell the kids you`re leaving. This is something that depends heavily on the children's age, but try to work out how you will make them understand, that this is a normal step and you will still think of them after you`re gone.
2. Plan some fun activities with the kids and the whole family. You can have a little dance party with the kids in their room, paint postcards you will send to one another once you have left, or cook them something traditional from home and some of your new favourites from Germany.
3. Don`t forget you still have responsibilities. It is easy to think the last few weeks of your au pair year are just simple and fun and you can take it easy. That's not quite the case. The family still needs your help and is counting on you to perform your duties. Don`t forget you represent not just yourself, but your entire culture/country/community during your au pair year. Your host family will think of your example every time they meet someone with a similar background.
4. Talk about your au pair year takeaways Tell your host family about the things you have learned, are thankful for, liked most about your year etc. This helps them make sure their next au pair also has a good and memorable experience with them.
5. Be polite Every family has their good and not so good sides. But do not burn your bridges by being rude about all the things you wished were different. If you wish to give your host family feedback about something you didn't appreciate about them, make sure it is constructive, helpful and polite.
6. Take lots of photos Make sure you remember your au pair year by taking photos during it. Let people take photos of you - this way you can look back, even after many years, and have momentos that take you back to things you maybe have forgotten. It's also cool to take pictures with the kids and then take new ones if and when you go back to visit - you can see how you all have grown and changed!
And once the day comes to leave them, do so with a big smile and lots of enthusiasm for your next adventure!