10 Things to Consider Before Au Pairing
Izzy Elias from the United Kingdom recently went to work as an au-pair in Germany. Here she shares the things she shares her essential things to do before applying including top tips and recommendations which should be helpful if you are considering au pairing.
1. Decide Whether to Apply Independently or Through an Agency?
You need to decide if you want to do everything independently for example contact host families, arrange visa, flights, transfers etc or apply through an agency who will arrange everything for you. Sometimes applying solo can mean higher wages but going for a structured experience and applying for au pair jobs abroad with an agency especially if it is your first time working abroad is recommended for peace of mind.
2. Choose Your Destination Wisely
For me, going to work in Germany was the first choice as my father lives there and I speak beginners German that would help me in day-to-day chores. But if you are not keen on au pairing in Germany there are so many different options worldwide. Make sure you check out what the town/city/country has to offer and if it appeals to you as you will be living there for sometimes a long duration. Applying for au pair jobs in the USA is very popular, I have met lots of people who have done this and they recommend it.
3. Make Sure It Is The Right Family
Speak to your host family on the phone/via Skype not just via email. It’s important that you get a feel for the people you are going to be living with before hand to make sure they are right for you and viceversa.
4. Agree a Salary In Advance
Agree on wages before you leave, you don’t want to get there and suddenly be paid half of what you expected because of what it said on the advert.
5. Check Documentation Before Departing
Check your passport is in date. It sounds silly but you wont be laughing if it runs out whilst you’re out there. Also make sure you get your visa arranged well in advanced of departing to avoid any last minute issues.
6. Previous Experience Really Helps
I will tell you now, before you get your hopes up, that thinking au pairing will be even comparable to baby sitting is a big mistake. Unlike many au pairs, I was given soul responsibility of a 5-month-old baby from 9am – 6pm five days a week. A large task for a 19 year old with previous experience in baby sitting, first aid and knowledge of silver service waitressing.
7. Realise Sometimes the Job is Hard Work
The idea of going to work abroad might sounds simple but get realistic, you’re not popping to see a friend for the weekend. Looking after a child or baby that is not your own family is hard in itself. With the added pressure of a new country, a different language and no immediate friends around you have to be mentally ready for the challenge.
8. Be Openminded
The advice I would give to anyone toying with the idea of becoming an au pair is to always be open-minded, expect the worst and pray for the best. A job as an au pair comes with its downfalls, however, for the majority of us, it is the most rewarding and understated job to date.
9. Make the Most of Free Time
Travel as much as you can. The role of an au pair gives you lots of free time to explore your new destination and make the most of it. It will give you a break from working and also it is exciting to go to new locations. There are also lots of tours available worldwide and you will probably make friends with other au apairs who might want to explore too.
10. Enjoy the Experience
Working as an au pair can be an incredible experience where you get to live abroad with little outgoings. This is a perfect role if you would like to take a gap year, live abroad for a period of time, get to travel and also get paid. Time does go really quick so try to enjoy the role
By Izzy Elias
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