Hello Future Au-Pairs.
I am a 26-year-old german girl who started her adventure as an au pair two months ago. As I know how hard it was to choose the right family, I will give you some advice to find the perfect host family for you.
I spent a lot of time doing internet research to decide where I want to go to. Get a lot of information and facts about the country you might want to travel to, because it is important for yourself to know what to expect and as the family will ask you why you have chosen this country as well!
When I had a clear idea of that, I started looking for future host families. So I created a profile on an internet platform, where au pairs and host families could get in touch with each other. I wanted that my profile reflects my personality, so I told them about myself, my hobbies, my family life, my friends and of course why I wanted to be an au pair and what expectations I had. I also included some pictures of me and my family.
One day later there were a few families I was in contact with. In the beginning I was shocked of how many questions they would ask, but then I sat down and thought about it and made sure what I really want to know about the potential host families.
I have found a lot of au pairs after their arrival say „If I had known that, I would have chosen another family“. In my opinion, the questions you will ask are the most important thing, because you can eliminate the families who don’t fulfill your expectations…and trust me there are lots of families where you will think: REALLY?!?!
Here are some ideas of questions you can ask the families:
- How many au pair stayed in your family?
- Can I speak / contact your previous au pairs?
- What’s the reason you would like to have an au pair?
- Could you please describe each childs character and the character of you and your [husband/partner]?
- How do you raise your children?
- Could you please describe the area where you live in?
- When you will go on holidays as a family am I allowed to come with you?
- Are you away during special holidays (Easter, Christmas, ..)?
- What do you do on weekends? What are your hobbies?
- What would be my daily duties?
- What would be my weekly pocket money?
- Do I have access to a car? If there is a car accident, am I insured?
There are so many questions you can ask. For me it was important to get the feeling that I will be treated like a family member instead of an employee!
When I had a good feeling with a family, I arranged a skype conversation. I was so nervous and in the beginning I felt so ashamed speaking english. But trust me, it gets better with the time..even if you think that you are the worst english speaking person in the world, the families will tell you how good your english is. My past english teacher at school would be proud, haha! After lots of skype conversations I found the right family for me and well what could I say, I was sure I wanted to go to the family within the first minutes talking to them.
Make sure that you give yourself enough time for chosing the right family. Don’t make a quick decision, sleep about it and if you’re not sure, ask more questions! You will go to a new country where you do not know anyone than yourself. This family becomes your second family and you have to feel comfortable with them, don’t forget that. Trust your gut feeling! Good luck!