Lucas “Poppins” is a great au pair. But he wasn’t born great – his success is the result of conscious efforts to develop his skills, patience, and open-mindedness. In September 2020, we chatted with Lucas on IG Live, and he shared some tips with us. Here are five lessons that Lucas wants every au pair to know:
Don’t Be Afraid of Your English Skills
Lucas used to be an English teacher in Brazil, so he was initially confident about his language skills. But he quickly had to adjust his expectations when he got to the U.S. “When you arrive in another country for the first time,” he says, “you learn that your English is not as good as you previously thought it was.” You can study before coming, but the only thing that will really improve is actually being in the country and practicing. “You will mess up occasionally,” he says, “but you need to keep practicing.”
Spend Time Choosing the Best Host Family For You
When he was matching with a host family, Lucas knew immediately when he had found the right one. To use an English expression, “something just clicked.” He felt that his host family were like siblings, and he was confident that they would support him during difficult times. His intuition was proven correct, and he extended the program with his host family. Lucas’s host family advice is, unsurprisingly, to “take an opportunity to become comfortable with your host family before coming to the USA.”
Be Open to New Experiences
It didn’t take long for Lucas to start missing home. That’s a normal part of traveling. The first thing Lucas longed for was home-cooked Brazlian food. But he opened himself to new experiences and dove into American fare. He came to love New Orleans for its range of food, including jambalaya and gumbo.
Lucas also opened up to other U.S. experiences: seeing American football and baseball games with his host family. Most impressively, he even entered a photo contest – at Baltimore festival Artscape – and won!
Find Fun Ways to Connect with Host Kids
Indeed, creativity was an asset to Lucas during his time as an au pair, and even before. During the host family matching process, he impressed his future host family by dressing up as various superheroes in his introduction video. Lucas also used his own experiences and interests to connect with his host kid. Drawing on his experience as a former English teacher, he devised fun games to help his host kid read.
Find Positivity in Frustrating Situations
Lucas’s creativity leads us to his fifth and final tip for new au pairs: find positivity in frustrating situations. Lucas’s time as an au pair coincided with one of the strangest, most stressful periods in recent memory: the global lockdown resulting from the spread of COVID-19. But Lucas was undeterred. His inspiration – and Instagram namesake – came from the American movie Mary Poppins. He was impressed with the title character’s energy, enthusiasm, and positivity, and consequently redubbed himself “Lucas Poppins.” What advice would he give to an au pair feeling down? When you’re about to “lose your head,” he says, “apply yourself creatively!”
While Lucas is amazing, he’s not the only one: there are many stellar Au Pair USA au pairs! Take a moment to learn about Maria’s experiences! Or learn about how Una turned her au pair experience into a career after her program! Ready to apply? Learn more here!