Be an au pair
Being an au pair can be an incredible experience so do a disaster.
Time as an au pair can be one of your best time in your life. The opportunity living in different countries, meeting different people, culture, trying all sorts of food and exploring around – can make thousands of memories which you keep for the rest of your life.
Being surrounded by children and looking after them – was always in my blood. My mum was an English teacher, I have another 5 brothers and sister and since very young age I was playing as a teacher and school. And I am not talking about my desire holding any baby in my hands all the time.
However I did not end up studying pedagogy and I haven’t become a teacher either.
Instead I took my own way to learn and study from experience, Montessori, books and mentors.
And with all those information which did not correspond just with children but with all of us adults as well, I have realised – if I want to be a teacher and help growing others – I have to grow up first. Not to the high as I stopped growing since my 18, but specially mentally. I have to sort and solve all my inner wounds and issues so it can no longer hurt or effect others, and me as well.
I will not beat around the bush – it was not easy and for sure not a short ride. But I believe all that effort and help were worth it. And it will still be a journey to find the smallest tiniest obstacles in my way but I can tell I can breath much more freely and stand beside children without hurting them with my personal matters.
(I don’t mean any kind of physical hurting as it’s a totally different story but more about the way we react, talk and answer them, emotions and so on)
Helping them and standing by their sides in difficulties by all circumstances is for me always a priority. World has changed so much and growing into a healthy-mind person can be harsh even for any of us.
That’s why I have chosen this path to be a comforting support with an open heart to all children, help developing their talents and improving their skills, help to control their emotions and the way they speak – help them to become strong and independent individuals with own ideas, opinions and personalities.
And as I have been an au pair for already few families I would love to encourage and help anyone else who would like to try this amazing experience. Here are few tips and advices!
I have been an au pair in Spain 2x and have written a story about my first au pair experience, you can read it here: 125 days in Spain.
WHO IS AN AU PAIR? AU PAIR MEANING.
Definition of this French word Au Pair is “equal to“.
Au pair is a young adult mostly between 18 – 30 years, who is coming to a foreign country country for a period of time to live with a host family. As a language skill for an au pair exchange to a light housework help and childcare for a host family.
Au pair is equal to the family as a family member and should be provided by food and accommodation from the family.
The main purpose for an au pair is a culture exchange and language learning by getting just a pocket money for her help with children.
Au pair’s working hours are between 30-35 per week and her pocket money depends on a country. Check it here.
Being an au pair is not always easy. There are so many things effecting this nice experience from place where you live to the most important – a family, you’re living with.
There are plenty of families searching for a help, nanny or au pair all the time and worldwide. So take your time, read their profiles and compare your own priorities.
There are many sites to visit and look around for a family, here are few popular:
Or if you know which country you want to visit and live in, try to search on facebook groups like: au pairs in London, au pairs in Spain, au pairs in Germany – because you might find even more friends around you or a job from a member.
I’m not going to pretend that internet is the safe place – and you probably know that. So please, stay alert and be extra careful with choosing a family, you’re going to stay with. Here are few tips, you should keep in mind!
- Make a video call with a family
- Ask for references from previous au pairs
- Ask for photographs
- Ask for address
- Make a contract/ timetable and your duties
- Take a contact number
- Text, call a lot and ask about them
- Check any of their businesses/ website, if possible
- Google them, find their IG, FB – check their profiles
Make sure you call with your new family and text a lot before you decide to buy a flight ticket. It’s important to know where and to who you are going to move as it will be your new home for a couple of months or years, if so. Try to ask a lot about their free time, children, hobbies, work – so you know if you have anything in common. And talk also to your family or friends, show them your host family, give them their address and numbers so they know where to find you.
NEVER – you should never send any money to a host family. They should be the one offering you to pay for your travel expenses and fees. If someone asks you about sending them money to show you are able to live in the country – GO AWAY, and better to report the family.
10 AU PAIR TIPS
10 TIPS TO FUTURE AU PAIRS TO HELP WITH THEIR HOST FAMILIES
- Ask as much as possible about your host family
- Sort out yours and theirs priorities
- Ask them to pay your travel expenses
- Ask to see your room/ flat/ house
- Make sure you know when is your free time
- Ask about their language level
- Always have a back up plan
- Have extra money till you earn first salary
- Make a clear agreement of a period of your stay
- Don’t be afraid to leave
- To know as much as possible about your upcoming host family is very important. You should know where they live, what they do for living, how many children they have, if there is any disable children, children with special needs, allergies. You should know about their free time, activities, hobbies. Animals. About everything which you should be aware of and anything which could be useful.
- Sorting out your priorities is very important! Even before you start looking for a family. You should know if you are willing and able to live with another family in a small flat or rather find a family which is offering a spare flat or cottage. You should know your price, they should be paying for your work and hours – or if you are happy with a pocket money they are offering. If you prefer to have your own free time by yourself or share it still with a family. This is actually very individual as everyone is different and happy in different environments.
- Some families are willing to pay your flight ticket, bus fee, hotel at the airport or coming to pick you up. These are things you shouldn’t be sorting last minute before leaving by yourself. Ask kindly a host family to help you with your travelling plan and find the best possible option. It’s not a common thing but more like a kind gesture for them paying these expenses.
- Don’t wait for being surprised by seeing your new room and ask them for photographs. Ask about photos of their house or flat where also you will be living with them, so you know where are you moving.
- Being flexible comes in advantage just for them, as they call when needed. But be strong and ask to compensate your extra working hours. Make sure you have enough of free time to enjoy all the perks of the city and another country. Au pairing should be a nice experience not slavering. So know your boundaries, you can bear and make a stable timetable working for both sides.
- Having poor language skills comes hand in hand with troubles – You might be coming abroad to improve your language, but you should be studying hard and be extra willing to look or ask for language school/ lessons to improve as fast as possible so you can communicate without problems and misunderstanding with your host family. Communication is the most important!
- Don’t blindly believe to anyone – even a nicest dream family can turn in someone horrid, so be extra careful specially in the beginnings and make a back up plan if something goes wrong. Find another au pairs in the area, find charities, hotels, emergency numbers or contact to your old friend, if you have someone around.
- Having extra money in your pocket comes to the point no 7. If something goes wrong you should have enough to cover few days in a hotel, food and a flight ticket back. But you don’t necessary need to go back, you might be lucky and in a few days be able to find another family in a town through Facebook groups – like above.
- Make a clear agreement of a time period you will be staying with a host family, so they and you can make plans for that amount of time. And stick to your words unless you find some problems or something unbearable.
- Don’t be afraid to leave if it doesn’t work or you are not happy. Try to solve problems first and maybe rearrange your schedule, Talk to your family if you are homesick and if there is anything both sides can change to make it worth it. But if you feel in your bones, it’s not right for you – tell your family and leave, life is too short to waste your time!
I have also many photographs and memories posted on my Instagram and it will be very helpful to me, if you would give me a follow, likes or share! Thank you so much!