Expectations are what we hope will happen in the future based on our past experiences, what we’ve heard from other people or even what we thought we heard from others. It’s important to communicate your expectations so that you can make them realistic.
Reality vs. Expectations – Expectations and reality are two separate entities. Reflecting on what you want out of your placement and how to achieve that can help narrow the gap between the two. Understanding the differences between them will save you from disappointment.
What are your expectations? – Take some time to write out what your expectations are. Be specific and try to come up with a plan or strategies for meeting those expectations. Remember to include expectations for yourself as well as your Host Family/Au Pair.
Communicate – Sit down with your Au Pair/Host Family at the beginning of your placement and talk about what both parties are hoping to accomplish. Be as honest and open as possible, encouraging the other party to contribute. We recommend having sit-down meetings regularly throughout your placement and making expectations a topic to discuss each time.
Be open-minded – Realize that not all of your expectations will be met, that you will have to make compromises here and there, and that’s okay! Life has the habit of turning out differently than we anticipate or imagined. Be flexible and understanding, take everyone’s expectations into account, and roll with it. Even if your placement is not meeting your dream expectations, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure or a bad match. It just requires a different perspective to enjoy the journey and experience as it is.
For example: if you believe the way things should be done is 4+4 and instead your Au Pair/Host Family does things 2+6, you could focus on the fact that it is not how you know/want it to be, or you could realize that the outcome is still 8.
Often times the only difference between a mediocre placement and a fantastic placement is a good attitude.