I’d love some advice about a handmade gift to bring to my new host family. I’ve learned from my agency that, once we have been matched with a HF, we have to begin to complete a pre-departure project. The staff at orientation will look over this and then we are supposed to present our HF with it.
I am soooooo excited about completing this as I am very creative and it allows me to share my culture in a creative way. The project is supposed to have crafts and recipes and things we would like to do with the kids, but I will just go mad with it. I have so much going round in my head it could end up being 50 pages!!
I was wondering if you had ever received a project, if so what type of things were in it or what would you suggest I put in it? I really want to make a good impression and to be embraced into part of the family. Kind Regards, UKAuPair
I love the idea of an au pair bringing some kind of hand-made project as a gift for a host family— but I didn’t know that any agency made this something that you were required to do. I’ve received all sorts of fun and wonderful gifts from our au pairs, and my daughters have received some lovely things that have become family treasures. I’m sure that anything you make will be appreciated by your host family.
Personally, what I think that I’d love the most would be some kind of scrapbook, one that had a few pages already filled by the au pair, and then many blank pages or folder pockets that the au pair and the children could fill with photos, ticket stubs, and other mementos that they collected over the course of the year. My girls and I have loved seeing pictures of our au pairs at the same ages as the girls, pictures of au pair’s favorite childhood stuffed animals, family dog, and so on. I especially loved that one au pair brought us pamphlets from her local Girl Guides (Girl Scouts) Council– my girls were Scouts at the time and loved seeing what “real” girl guides looked like in South Africa. What all of these elements share is the opportunity for the children and the au pairs to see what they have in common, helping to create a bond from the very start.
I appreciate that you want to make a good impression on your family, and I just want to gently suggest that you’ll create your relationship with your family over time, with one interaction after another, starting with the materials that you put in your application, on your video (if you make one), and in your interviews with them. What matters most is not how great your artwork is, but how open your heart is to new relationships and how open your spirit is to new adventures. – cvh
What other suggestions do you have for UKAuPair? What have been your best loved (or most hoped for) hand made gifties?