I was an au pair in Belgium from 2009 to 2010 (one year). I had a GREAT experience. I found my lovely family through the Aupair World website in May 2009, and after all the communication (via e-mails and skype) we started the visa process. It was quite long, but the family wanted to ensure my safety and their safety, too! It was easier with all the information that Aupair World gave us.
I arrived in Belgium in September 2009 and my host family went to pick me up at the airport. They welcomed me with arms wide open. It was very different, and we were all very excited to begin that experience. My family was nice and kind. They prepared a nice and cozy bedroom for me. I had lovely kids: a boy(4 years) and a girl (2.5 years). The kids were very curious about me. I brought some presents and they just loved them. They treated me as a family member, I had my own car, they were always up to help me.
Everything went very well: With them, I had the opportunity to celebrate Saint Nicolas's party, a traditional Belgium Christmas and of course many birthdays. They even surprised me during my birthday. It was very special. The two kids I took care of were amazing, we got along really well and we had so much fun! I was really lucky, my family respected all the rules from the au pair program and also gave me so many free time to explore Belgium and Europe, always giving me tips about where to go, what I should eat and so on. I had the opportunity to travel to 13 different countries during my stay.
And my family was also very supportive in my studies. I went to French classes during one whole year. They helped me many times with my French doubts and helped me out with homework when I needed. Also they introduced me into their family, I used to go in all family's celebrations, Christmas was special with them, all the traditions! It made me really feel as part of the family. The grandparents always cooked typical Belgium food every Wednesday, so I could try. I tried "escargots" (snails) and "foie gras" during my stay, two things that were very singular for that experience.
The summer was great. I spent the time with the kids in the yard, we also went to the pool and we had so much fun. After summer school started back and the time to leave was approaching, it was really hard to say goodbye. I cried a lot doing my luggage and remembering every single moment I spent with them. All the family time, all the difficulties from the beginning. But I was also happy I had such a great year surrounded by an awesome family, lots of friends and that I have achieved my goals! I would like to thank my family and Aupair World that made me experience the best year of my life!