How I Moved Across the Globe at 19.

2 years ago Triangle 0

Written by: Eleanor Sanford, staff writer

Dayton, TENN. — In January of 2019, I zipped up my suitcases and hopped on a plane to Australia for 6 months. I was 19 years old at the time, and this was my first solo adventure. While it was daunting- 24 hours alone on a plane to arrive in a foreign country- this experience was one of the most unique and exciting trips of my life.

Upon arrival and returning, the most common question I was asked was, “How did you do it?” 

All credit must go to the fantastic social platform, An ‘Au pair’ is a boy or girl between the ages of 18-26 who works for a family abroad in exchange for a cultural experience, room and board. Helping with household duties and tutoring children is typically a part of the au pair experience.

There are hundreds of social media outlets and agencies to find au pair work, but I chose It is free for the au pair and simple to use. Host families pay a fee to ensure a safe platform. Some other social networks are and

There are also Facebook groups of families looking for au pairs. I did not know about these when I was looking, but I am apart of this one now:

The first step is to pick a country. I selected Australia, Iceland, Italy, and a few others. I was asked to upload some photos, I suggest uploading photos that show your personality. My host mom told me that I looked fun from my pictures, which is why she reached out. This is what my profile looked like,

Then you have the option to write a few things to the host family: a bio on what you’re looking for and why you are looking to be an au pair.

I used these questions to explain a little bit about myself and be specific about what I was looking for in a family. On the left-hand column, there are questions where you check a box of your preferences.

Once you fill out all this information, your account is created, and host families will be able to see your profile. You can view the family’s profiles as well. This is where you can start searching!

When I was searching, I got over one-thousand results; there are always families looking for extra help. On this platform, the au pair, as well as the host families, can send a message, once you receive a message you can accept or decline. Within the first twenty-four hours that I created my account, I received messages from over fifty families. It can be an overwhelming process trying to find the right family.

I began by reading the messages, and if there was a family that did not fit what I was looking for, I just declined their offer. I narrowed it down to three families. One in Spain, Iceland and Australia. From that point on, I scheduled times to video chat with each family on the popular social media app, WhatsApp.

After talking with each family, I got a better feel for what they were looking for. Some wanted an employee who would do their own thing when not working; While some wanted a mother’s helper; to have a companion when dad was not at home. Every family I chatted with offered unique experiences and were so kind; choosing the perfect family was not easy. In my next post, I am going to tell you how I picked the ideal family, which led to the most incredible experience abroad.

Eleanor Sanford is a Senior at Bryan College majoring in communications, media, and culture. She is an intern for the Leadership and Culture Department at Bryan College. She loves to travel and lived in Australia.