Swedish au pair Mathilda has spent the last year and a half living in southern California with her host family. Recently, Mathilda and her host mom Adrienne ran the New York City Marathon together and shared their experience at a pre-marathon reception hosted by the U.S. State Department for J-1 volunteers. You can watch highlights from their speeches—and learn how their experience changed their lives for the better—in this video.
Mathilda has experienced a whole new life away from Sweden during her time in California and has gained the confidence and independence she needs to succeed. When she first came to the USA, she was shy—but she knew she wanted to work with kids, and that she wanted to travel. She has since discovered a new sife of herself. She lives more boldly, fearlessly and passionately now. She has found fulfillment as an au pair, and is excited for the next chapter in her life!
Mathilda has also gained a second family in the USA. Host mom Adrienne, whose family has Swedish roots, loves that Mathilda has shared her language and customs with her and her children. Together, they form a true global family built on the beauty of cultural exchange.
“Both my host parents are big inspirations to me,” says Mathilda. “They always include me in everything—whether it’s a trip to Hawaii, a day in Los Angeles or a run up in the mountains. I really appreciate how they make me feel like a family member.”
Mathilda’s relationship with her host family is so special, that she nominated them for Cultural Care Au Pair’s prestigious Host Family of the Year award this year—and they were selected as a top 15 finalist! Their bond is an unbreakable one.
When Mathilda asked her host mom to run the marathon with her, Adrienne did not hesitate to say “Yes!” and they have found that training for and accomplishing a common goal has brought them even closer. Mathilda has extended her stay for another year and they look forward to many more adventures together!
“The marathon was an amazing experience,” says Mathilda. “I will remember that weekend forever!”