October 6, 2015
“My au pair year helped me believe in myself,” says Svenja

Former German au pair Svenja Kluge recently submitted information for our “I love my state” campaign, and told us why she loved her home state of Connecticut. The information she shared about CT was interesting but not nearly as compelling as details about her personal journey to becoming an au pair. She joined the Clark family in March of 2014 and just returned home this past March. Her story—in her own words—is below.

I’m so thankful that Connecticut chose me, or the other way around. But it was meant to be. Beforehand I have to say, that my past was not that great. Ever since I can remember I was the bullied girl. It just happened through out all of my school years, or even in free time activities, people just couldn’t interact with me or respect me. I was a target for everyone.

 

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This is Svenja… it’s hard to imagine this beautiful young woman was bullied as a teen.

 

Why was I bullied? I’m still asking myself the same question. But it was mostly about my appearance. I was a really skinny child, with braces and a “skin disease” called neurodermatitis. That’s enough for becoming a outsider. But I was also interested in different stuff than most other kids my age. I always searched for different things, because I didn’t want to stick to the pattern in our little village.

So how do you grow a healthy image of yourself, how do you develop self-confidence and become a lovable person? I didn’t know. It was always in my head to go away, because everything here seemed negative. I needed a reboot. I gained some confidence by being a cheerleading and through my job and then the biggest reason: I had my best friend Theresa. We always did everything together.

 

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Svenja and her “soulmate” Theresa cheering on the Boston Red Sox.

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Her year in America was a chance to build emotional strength and confidence.

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