Why not Au Pair? Part Two

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Do you (Child) care? Why not Au Pair?!” Part One” continues, below:

Research Time

Once you feel confident that you are adaptable, responsible, and open-minded, and that you out care Mary Poppins herself, sit down with a laptop for a good long while and google “Au Pair” abroad.  If there is a country you are especially interested in, add it to your google search.

 

bureaucratic red tapeThere are many companies that will happily help you jump through the bureaucratic red tape in order to get yourself situated with a promising family.  They all charge different fees and make varying promises to you.  With some thorough research and help from a trusted adult, you should be able to narrow down the choices to one or two organizations to pursue further.

It’s sometimes possible to even find where families abroad ditch the Au Pair arrangement companies and seek out potential Au Pairs such as yourself.  I strongly discourage this.  It is so critical to your peace of mind to have a formal Au Pair arrangement in place by folks with plenty of experience coordinating it.  You really need someone in your corner in the host country to help you adapt and succeed in your work.

 

What to look for in an Au Pair coordinator

Au Pair Consultant

Before you agree to any placement with any company, please ensure that its representatives do the following:

 

  • Thoroughly explain every requirement that will be expected of you, both as a guest abroad and as an Au Pair within a family. Your rights and responsibilities should be explained to you in plain English.  Get them in writing and memorize them.
  • Happily provide you referrals to their prior and/or current Au Pairs -and- host families. The company should even arrange for you to converse with them.  Ask how satisfied they were with this company including whether they would use the company again.  Listen carefully to their replies!
  • Arrange all your transportation to the host family as well as your documentation
  • Coordinate you meeting your host family BEFORE you sign anything. This can and should be done via skype or FaceTime.  Ask questions of the host parents for anything that’s important to you.  Perhaps you want to make sure you can practice your ukulele when the kids are asleep.  Maybe you want to fix your own gluten-free, vegan South Beach diet on the weekends.  Inquire as to how you’ll get around, both on your own and with your host children.  This is the time to bring up your needs; they are every bit as important as your host family’s!

 

Once you have been placed with your family overseas, the company should:

  • Set up regular meetings and outings with other Au Pairs they have throughout the area in which you will be working.  The camaraderie will be priceless!
  • Check in with you frequently to ensure you have everything you need, ask how things are going with your charges, and smooth out any conflicts with your host family. You should be given the contact information to get a hold of a rep from the organization 24/7 via multiple channels (text, phone and/or email)
  • Set up classes for you in the language of the country you are working in (if not English). In many countries this is a requirement.
  • Au Pair with child on computer

      Stay in Touch!

 

You’re all set for a marvelous adventure overseas.  I hope you will let me know how it goes!

-Maggie

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