Hey Au Pairs,
We are regularly talking about health insurance and how important it is as an au pair. Luckily for us, neither Edwina nor I ever had to rely on our own health insurance so have no tales to tell!
But, this week, we have a guest post from Maddie, an au pair in Paris, who now knows how important being covered by insurance is while you’re abroad.
If you have any questions about health insurance as an au pair, make sure to join our Au Pair, Oh Paris Open Forum to chat them out.
Life in a foreign country as an au pair definitely has its typical ups and downs, but occasionally there's those really unexpected moments that make you wish you were back home where everyone speaks your first language...
In the first month of being an au pair I already had to make a trip to the hospital. This is something I'm sure everyone hopes to avoid when traveling, but especially when you're living with a new family.
I could tell I was feeling off and didn't think much of it for a day. However, I wasn't getting any sleep and couldn't eat anything without it coming back up... so my host mom graciously took me to their doctor.
She had to do most of the communicating since the doctor only knew a little English. I'm so grateful that she took off work to make sure I was ok and take care of me. I definitely got lucky with my host family and don't know what I would have done without their help.
After a quick exam the doctor said I had a virus, which would go away in a few days and recommended some medicine to take in the meantime. I was relieved to hear this news leaving the doctor, but especially because my host mom was going out of town the next day, and my host dad was also out of town that whole week.
However, that night and into the next day I wasn't doing any better. My host mom's sister was coming to stay and look after the kids while I wasn't feeling well. She even called the doctor for me and went with me there again because I knew something had to be wrong. After another check up this time he said I needed to get some tests done at the hospital. I was actually glad to hear this because I knew that's probably what needed to happen and I wanted to figure out what was going on as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, my host mum’s sister wasn't able to take me to the hospital that was about 20 minutes away. So she called a cab for me which I had to take there by myself to a hospital I knew nothing about where everyone spoke French...
It was a scary thought but I stayed calm and focused on getting there and getting better. When I arrived I showed the front desk the papers from my doctor with the tests and they showed me to the ER. Luckily someone there spoke English to help me check in and I only had to wait about 15 minutes to be seen.
It was a strange feeling being in a hospital in a foreign country, but at the same time I wasn't scared and knew everything would be alright. After seeing the nurse the doctor finally came in. He knew some English and we could communicate enough to get the point across. After the tests he was able to figure out what the problem was and prescribed me antibiotics.
My hosts mom's sister and my host kids picked me up from the hospital, and told me that everything was free because I’m on my host family’s health care plan, thank goodness for french health care policies. I was so glad that this wouldn't cost them anything and happy to be leaving after about 5 hours there.
Thankfully after getting the antibiotics I felt about 100x better the next day. I think all the stress of moving to a new country and the changes caused my body to react that way even though I didn't actually think I was that stressed out.
Sometimes we may feel ok, but our body is telling us otherwise. Make sure to slow down and give yourself time to adjust to all of your new surroundings. Moving to a foreign country and eating foods your body isn't used to takes some time to adjust to. And even if something like this happens, (which it can be hard to avoid) just know that you're not alone and with a little help from your French family you'll be better before you know it.
Thanks again Maddie!
If you’re looking into the process of becoming an au pair right now, make sure you have some form of health insurance before you arrive.
Need more information? Check out the video below or join our Open Forum to chat to other au pairs.
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Thanks for reading - that’s all for now!