A German 19 year old boy told us about his Au Pair experience in the UK. It is very interesting to read about an Au Pair boy because male Au Pairs are probably still an exeption. We really encourage boys to consider becoming an Au Pair as it can be very enriching for young children to have a male carer. Especially if the Host Family has several boys, they would probably love it to have an “older brother” to play football with and do other boyish things. Not that Au Pair girls won’t play football… But it still feels different 🙂
Thank you for answering our questions!
“I’ve been dreaming of going abroad for a cultural exchange for many years”
The first time I considered to become an Au Pair was when I was around 10 years old. It was because of the TV-show ‘Goodbye Germany’, where they were sometimes presenting a story about the life as an Au Pair.
I wanted to be an Au Pair, because during my A-Level I said to myself, that I want to take a break between the A-Levels and university. So I was thinking first about volunteering in Germany, but then we had to translate a story about the life of an Au Pair in one of the French lessons. That was the point, where I knew, what I want to do after my A-Level.
“I didn’t want to leave Europe and preferred to stay in a similar system”
The choice of the country I wanted to go to was quite easy for me, because I didn’t want to leave Europe, because I prefered to stay in country with a similar system and also because it is very easy to become an Au Pair inside the EU as an EU-habitant. Then I hadn’t much countries left to go to with my language skills, but there were still some I was interested in. Finally I had to decide between France and the UK and luckily I chose England, because I’m working now for a French family and I can always switch between French and English if I don’t know a word. I intended to stay 9 to 12 months.
“We skyped around five times and they invited me to a trial week”
To find a Host Family I used only ‘Au Pair World‘. There you can create a profile about yourself with all important informations like your language skills, age, driving license, previous experiences, if you would like to work with disabled children or not and you can also write a text for anything else.
After around one month I found my family. First we sent a couple of messages to exchange some information and contact details. Than we skyped around five times and finally they invited me for a trial week. During the trial week I could see the daily life of the family and the previous Au Pair was telling me everything I needed to know. They also went with me to the beach and to a BBQ. At the end of the trial week the Host Parents ask me, if I’d like to become the next Au Pair and I said yes. So my Hostmum booked the flight for me.
“I signed the Au Pair contract and four weeks later I boarded the plane”
I signed an Au Pair contract. I didn’t even had to ask for it and I think it’s always a very good idea for both sides, because with that you are always sure about everything like the money you earn, your holidays, working hours, insurances, living situation and what you have to do at work.
I started 4 weeks after the trial week, which maybe seems to be a long time, but it was very short and I had to prepare everything really fast.
“It was hard to say goodbye because I didn’t know when I would see my family again”
The feeling to say goodbye to my family and friends was really difficult, because I didn’t know when I’ll see them again. But the hardest part of it was the first night after I arrived in England as the Au Pair, because at that moment I was constantly thinking about my family and I also knew that I’m now on my own about 1200 km far away.
“Does the Host Dad want to test me offering a beer during the day?”
The first impression of my Host Family was a bit weird to me, because the Hostdad picked me up at the airport and we were talking for around one hour about politics. Than we arrived in the town and the three boys were running downstairs to see me and they were smiling from one side of their face to the other one and the first question of the kids was ‘Can you play pokemon cards with us?’. After that my Hostdad asked if I want to drink a beer and I first thought he wanted to test me, but later I learned, that it is normal to drink alcohol relatively early in the day in England. Otherwise I found my Host ‘Family busy, but very funny and adorable.
My Host Family consists of the Host Parents, three boys (ages 3 to 10), one dog and a cat. They are living in a small town between Newbury and Reading in West Berkshire.
The settling in was first a bit difficult for me, because I had problems to feel at home and to lose the feeling to be only a guest. But the trial week helped very much and my Host Family was taking me always to family activities if I wanted to. Otherwise I didn’t had really problems and if I had one, I could ask always my Host Parents.
“I see my job as a combination of a nanny, teacher, manager, nurse, cook and bodyguard”
The best part of my job is to always learn something new without sitting for a lot of hours in school every day, because I can learn two foreign languages (English and French, because of my French Host Family), I can explore a new culture and I have a lot of free time to travel and meet friends.
Often I see my job as a combination of different jobs like nanny, teacher, manager, nurse, cook and bodyguard, which is a lot of responsibility, but also a great chance to improve skills for the daily life which I can use also in ten years time when I have my own family.
The worst part of my job is to live at work, because like this the work is never really ending and especially at my days off it can be quite difficult, because the kids see me as a big brother and want to spend a lot of time with me. But I want to use my free days for something else. My Host Family sees me as a part of their family and I can always take part of family activities like going to the cinema and the beach or visiting friends for a BBQ. That is a really good way to get along much better with the Host Family and to learn something about the English life.
“The fact that I am living in a small town isn’t great”
Only the location isn’t very good, because in my free time I can’t do very much without leaving the town. Most of my friends are living in bigger towns and there isn’t much to do in my town. Mostly I’m reading or cleaning a bit in the house during my free time, but during the weekends I’m visiting my friends in other towns, going to parties or exploring new places in England. But I also go to a College for an English class, which is perfect to make new friends, because a lot of the others in the class are also new in England and don’t have a lot of friends at the beginning.
The pocket money is normal, but I earn always a bit more, because I get extra paid for every hour I’m working more. To stay in touch with family and friends is really easy, because of the social medias like Facebook, Skype or WhatsApp.
“I would definitely become an Au Pair again!”
I would become an Au Pair again, because it’s a unique experience and you can learn and explore so much. Next time I would choose a bigger town or city, because it can be also boring sometimes, but otherwise I think I would do the same.
I also think I will stay in contact with my Host Family, because they are very sociable and are now like really good friends.
“My top tips for future Au Pairs:”
- Sign an Au Pair contract
- Choose a family only, if you are absolutely sure about them
- Ask for a trial week or weekend
- Go to an English language school to improve your English a to make new friends
- Always get enough sleep, because children can be very tiring.