A nineteen year old Au Pair from Germany spent some time in West London and was so kind to answer all our questions. With the help of Au Pairs who share their experience, we can provide real and honest information about the Au Pair live. We thank you a lot and wish you all the best for whatever life has prepared for you!
You can read about her experience and 5 most important tips for new Au Pairs here:
I nearly finished my A-Levels and had no idea what to doI just knew that I wanted to get to know the world.
As I was taking care of numerous children for about three years at home and was about to finish my A-levels without exactly knowing what to do after my graduation, I thought about becoming an Au Pair for the first time in my life. At the age of seventeen, I wanted to travel the world before going to university or starting a job. I combined my wish to travel foreign countries with the experience I already had with children and looked for a Host Family. As I am really interested in British culture as well as the language, I started looking for a Host Family in the UK.
I was looking for a Host Family with the help of an agency because it felt more secure
I did not wanted to start to look for a Host Family on my own because I thought it might safer to have an Au Pair agency doing the research for me. In case things might turn out wrong, I hoped that they will help me and support me to overcome the problems.
In the end, it was not a bad idea but I am convinced that it is not that necessary as long as you want to stay in Europe. You do not have to fear any trouble getting a Visa etc., so give it a try and start looking on your own. Today, there are so many Au Pair matching internet platforms you can easily create a profile for free so do not waste money.
The agency found a Host Family for me and after two Skype calls, I was quite sure that this is going to be the right match for me. I agreed on their concept of education and they left a pretty good first impression to me. So I signed a contract and started the preparation for my Au Pair time.
The closer departure date, the more nervous I got
I had never been longer away from home but I definitely wanted to give it a try
As I said goodbye to my family and friends at the airport, I felt sad and it was not that easy leaving them behind for the first time. But I knew that in case of any problems, I would be able to come back home any time because of the short distance between Germany and the UK. Being on the plane, I tried to focus on the positive things and the surprises this adventure might bring for me.
Everything new brings along some small problems but giving the Au Pair a warm welcome does the trick
My Host Mum waited for me at the airport because unfortunately my flight was delayed and we touched ground pretty late so the children were already sleeping. I was really glad that I got the chance to meet the “old” Au Pair, who was staying for the next few days in order to get me started properly.
The next day I was introduced to the rest of my Host Family and everybody seemed to be very nice and open-minded. The children and I got along immediately, which was a real relief for me. The previous Au Pair tried her best to prepare me for my job. On the the very first day of school after the summer holidays, I was on my own for the first time.
As I had been living in a small village my whole life, I had some trouble living in such a big metropole like London. I was not really used to take the tube to get around and I have to admit that my Host Parents did not really invest so much time to show me around. But I somehow managed to get along with everything quite soon and my Host Parents always answered my questions.
I spent a really good time being an Au Pair but anyhow, a few things bothered me
Within a few days, I got the chance to meet new people and other Au Pairs who lived close to my area. One of the biggest advantages of big city iare: You are never alone! There are a lot of Facebook groups for an from Au Pairs which you can join and an English course is always a good idea to get to know other people.
The more I was integrated to other Au Pair friends, the less integrated I felt within my Host Family. Do not get me wrong, they were caring and lovely but a few things bothered me or turned out to be different.
I did not completely agree on their lifestyle which simply means that they were not the right family for me. I disliked that we rarely had lunch together and I rather wished to be a big sister for the children instead of “only” being their nanny. Every possibility to become more integrated into their family life was not that easy to take as they drove away almost every second weekend, leaving me behind to look after their pets.
I spent a lot of money buying food for me, which was not ideal.
These “problems” I mentioned above might not sound very serious to other people but to me, such things are simply something quite important. I also tried to stay in contact with the family after I left but they always answered my letters very briefly.
My top five tips for future Au Pairs
Carefully choose your Host Family. They are the ones, you have to live in a house with and it is really important that you feel welcome
I always highly recommend to sign a contract before starting jour Au Pair job, so you have something in your hands saying which duties you are supposed to fulfill
In case the Host Family offers you several Skype interviews, take the chance to get to know them. Ask every question and do not be shy. This is the only way to find out whether you are a good match
As soons as you arrived, or even before leaving the country, try to get in contact with other Au Pairs or local people
And last but not least: Enjoy your experience and try to make the most out of it. Do not worry, there will be some problems at the beginning but try to look forward and stay curious what this adventure will prepare for you!