The Au Pair program is a great chance to get to know different cultures and different languages for both the Au Pair and the Host Family.
Unfortunately, there are quite a few things that can go wrong during the Au Pair stay abroad and may spoil this experience for both the Au Pair and the family. What do you need to do to ensure that your Au Pair program will be as smooth as possible?
AuPair.com gathered for you a list of safety precautions, hoping to help you with any possible inconveniences:
The Au Pair program can be a great adventure and the beginning of a life-long friendship between the Au Pair and the Host Family. Still, there are quite a few things that can go wrong during the Au Pair experience.
What do you need to keep in mind to stay safe during the whole Au Pair program? At AuPair.com you can find the most important safety precautions for Au Pairs and for Host Families.
If your family already decided that the Au Pair program is exactly what you need, now is the time to get things done. You need to register, fill in your search criteria and browse through wide choice of Au Pair applicants.
Let’s assume that you already met the one that seems to be a perfect match. What should you do now?
The person you’ve chosen is going to spend some time with your family and, with a bit of luck, become an additional member of your family. The online profile you saw on AuPair.com won’t give you any guarantee that your impression about the Au Pair is right. The video interview with the Au Pair gives you much higher chances to actually get to know the person behind the screen.
Make a short call to your prospective Au Pair and, after some small-talk, offer the applicant a longer chat with your whole family during which you will be able to ask about everything you would like to know. It works both ways - prepare yourself for clarifying your Au Pair’s doubts.
If things go really bad and you need to inform the authorities about it (e.g. report the Au Pair’s actions to the police) the contract will be an important piece of evidence
But most importantly, the Au Pair contract helps you to clarify the rules according to which you are going to cooperate. Before you sign it, you need to complete the document and discuss all the points together with the Au Pair during the video interview. That will help you a lot to assess the Au Pair’s approach and acquire the right expectations for the Au Pair.
Get used to the new situation
When your Au Pair has already arrived, you need to make sure that your whole family has time to adjust to the new situation. In particular, your children should be well prepared for the changes. Make sure to speak with them before the program start date and ensure that they understand what is going on and who the new person in your household is.
Pay also attention to the Au Pair - she / he is going to be stressed and maybe overwhelmed with the responsibility. You can consider taking a few days off and staying at home with the Au Pair to help her / him get to know your daily routine and get adjusted to the Au Pair schedule.
General tips to keep in mind
Communication is a key factor for a safe and successful Au Pair program. Try to look at the whole thing from your Au Pair’s perspective and imagine all the concerns she / he may already have or may encounter in the future.
Speak with each other, but be prepared for asking about the Au Pair’s wellbeing more than once. Young people may tend to hide their insecurities and your support is priceless.
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You’re about to start your stay as an Au Pair, but there are some things you have to take care of before you leave. Do you feel stressed to cope with everything? You’re probably thinking “where to begin?”.
Don’t worry! At AuPair.com we have made a list with all the important things you have to remember before and during your period as an Au Pair to stay safe during the whole Au Pair program.
Getting to know your Host family!
The more chats you have with them, the more you will get to know the family before your arrival.
You should have at least 3-5 video chats with the Host Family before making a decision. Both you and the family have to be really sure that you get on well with each other. Besides, you have to see if the kids feel comfortable with you and if they are willing to have you as the Au Pair.
Also, ask your host family to show you your room and the whole house during the video-call, or at least to send you some photos. Many Au Pairs get disappointed when they arrive to their future home, and that makes their stay not as good as they expected. Remember that you will live there for several months.
Make sure that you and the family have signed the contract before the stay begins. Don’t take the risk of waiting until you’re there to sign it. That way you will be sure that you will spend your Au Pair time with that Host Family officially and legally, and you won’t have any possible problems with the local authorities.
Getting in touch with other Au Pairs in the area
A beginning in a new place and in a new country can be tough. Fortunately, it is very easy nowadays to establish contact with people through social media. You can always try to reach other Au Pairs in the area. Some of them might have been living there for a while, so they could help you to get used to the new situation.
There will be also other Au Pairs who don’t know anybody, like you. Our advise: type on Facebook something like: “Au Pairs in (your area or city)” and you will surely find a group. Social media are a good way of meeting people, especially when someone is new in the area.
You should always have some cash before flying to your destination. You always have to be ready for any kind of mishap (e.g. your Host Family cannot pick you up at the airport and you have to take a taxi or the bus). Also remember that you need to exchange your money to the currency of the host country. Do not wait until you have landed in the country to do so. Be foresighted.
Using an ATM in another country can be very expensive. First of all you should go to your bank and get informed about the taxes you pay if you take out money in another country, or maybe your bank offers special credit cards to those clients who want to go abroad. As an alternative you might want to open a new bank account in another entity in your country that has better conditions for its clients living abroad.
Finally, online banks can be an interesting option too. Given that they have no physical headquarters, you can always solve any inquiry with the bank via online.
Booking your tickets
Getting your flight ticket is one of the most important things on your Au Pair list. Not only can the fear of missing the flight be very stressful, but also the problem of losing the money. For this reason, we advise you to call the company and ask them about their different insurances and alternatives if something with your tickets goes wrong, such as booking the ticket back, having an ‘open’ come back (when you can book a roundtrip with no specific date of return), booking cancellation etc. If you decide to book your tickets through a third company like a travel agency, remember that you will have to solve any problem through the travel agency, not the airline.
If you plan to spend more time in the country whether with the same family or with a new Host Family, bear in mind that you may have to request an extension of your visa soon enough. Do not wait until the last minute! It could be too late. For example, if your visa application gets denied you won’t have enough time to apply for a new one. Prepare all the documents soon enough.
Getting an insurance before the stay begins
Every country has its own healthcare system so gather all the necessary information about which specific health insurance you may need in the country regarding your Visa. If you’re European and will spend your Au Pair time in another EU country, you can always get your European Health Insurance Card. However, in all the other cases, you will have to pay for a special health insurance.
You must keep in mind that, in both cases, you should have obtained your health insurance and you should have all your documents ready before flying to your destination.
Many families allow the Au Pair to drive their car, so you can take the kids to school and explore the area. You might think that your driving license is valid everywhere, but unfortunately that is not the case. The best you can do is go to the Host Country's embassy in your country and ask them about the type of driving license you might need.
Reporting cases to police
What if you get robbed, lose your wallet or have any other issue? You should obviously turn to the local authorities in the country. In most police stations, there will always be someone with whom you will be able to communicate in English if you don’t feel confident speaking the local language.
In case they don’t, you can always count on your Host Family, friends or anybody who can act as an interpreter. In any case if you have any problems, don’t wait and always ask for help.
General tips to keep in mind
Remember that you are going to a distant country and the culture and customs may be surprising to you. In case of any doubts, ask your family for advice - communication and mutual understanding will help you a lot to avoid any inconveniences. When going out, always have with you your mobile phone and phone numbers of your Host Family, your family, police and even your country embassy in case of any emergency.
Remember also to keep your documents safe - in particular your ID card, passport and credit card. Don’t hand them over to anyone else!
Find a Host Family with AuPair.com!
Where would you like to spend a few months as an Au Pair? Choose one of the favourite Au Pair destinations and find a Host Family there: