An Au Pair is a person usually around the ages of 18-30, single and without children, who travels to a foreig country for a defines period of time to live with a host family. An Au Pair takes on a role as a member of the family or a nanny to help your host family with childcare and light housework. In return, you will receive a free room and board plus pocket money.
Au Pair your host family needs you more than you need them. Many Au Pair rush to find a host family because they don’t want to wait around doing nothing and spending lots of time finding the best host family. But don’t rush into things because it can cause lots of problems if you don’t find the perfect host family for you.
Some advice to avoid problems is to take time to find the family that works best for you. Ask lots of question during interviews and realise you’re interviewing the family just as much as they’re interviewing you. If you can’t find the perfect family within the timeline you wanted, they will eventually come around and you will find the best family for you. Wait for a family that respects your needs and shares your values than jump into a situation which you may regret.
It’s not about the money, It’s about the experience.
Au Pair isn’t going to make you rich. It’s the experience that you gain going out of your comfort zone and living in a new country that is whats going to make you rich in experience .
You have the option in your gap year to stay home, work in a local shop. Or you could pack your bags and head off to the other side of the world. You don’t have to worry about rent, food or for the year and also earn some pocket money.
Money can’t buy the experience that you will gain from doing a Au Pair. You can learn a new language and all about a different culture.
Taking care of kids is harder than you think
Going into an Au Pair you may think that kids love you but it actually is a lot of work to look after children. One thing that everyone recommends before doing a Au Pair is to do a few hours of babysitting before you start. It will help you work for a variety of different families and get an understanding of children better. The more experience you can get the better. Some advice is to set boundaries with kids. Have things that you won’t tolerate and let them know the punishments that go along with them. Asserting your authority early on in your Au Pair year is essential. Remember give it a couple of months, if everything is going crazy, it will eventually settle down.
Making friends all over the world
When you move to live abroad, you will differently meet hundreds of people of different nationalities. However, making friends is a little more effort. If you want to meet someone who you truly click with, this will take some work.
Joining language classes, clubs and even approach people at your host kid’s school who you think could be Au Pairs. Find or set up your own facebook groups and launch into being sociable.
It’ll be one of the toughest, but greatest years of your life
Homesickness hits hards when your on the other side of world. There really isn’t many ways of avoiding feeling upset. Call your family, watch some TV or immerse yourself into the daily life of your country. People may say that going overseas is being so brave it may not feel like you are be braving but it is a massive accomplishment.
Having the experince of an Au Pair, employers are always extremely impressed that you had enough initiative to live abroad, so make a good impression.
Do your research
Learn about your prospective family and about being an Au Pair. Look at the website http://aupairmom.com/ , it offers a perspective of host familes. The website gives advice to Au Pairs on what certain familes like or dislike about their past or current au pairs.
Try not to read horror stories and make sure you read an equal amount of success stories to balance your viewpoint.