In the 1930s and 1950s, many girls and young women from South Tyrol took on jobs as housekeepers and babysitters in Italian cities. The afore-mentioned decades were marked by economic crisis and political change. The new positions provided the South Tyrolean women - who mainly came from agricultural backgrounds - with attractive wages, but also new social and cultural horizons. Yet, many of them were put severely to the test, as they had no support from their families and no social rights in a linguistically and culturally foreign environment. The essay analyses the experiences of these women by means of biographical interviews. Despite differing subjective experiences, there emerge common patterns concerning their background, work experience and impressions upon return to South Tyrol.