Having found a Host Family and having all your documents prepared will make you feel excited like never before, but which things do you have to bear in mind to make your Au Pair adventure an unforgettable experience?
Embrace cultural differences
Even if you decided to do your Au Pair stay on the same continent, you will soon notice the cultural change. You will have to adapt to many different things, like what time people have lunch or what time shops close.
What is most important and will probably be the hardest thing will be the people’s way of living. Don’t get angry if you find the people very serious or don’t panic if someone you just met comes to you and gives you a hug.
We all know that the Au Pair program could be an amazing opportunity to discover new cultures and learn new languages (or improving the ones we already know). For Au Pairs the program is a great way to travel and explore foreign countries. It’s true that joining the Au Pair program and adjusting to completely new conditions could be challenging, but new challenges always let us improve ourselves and reach for better things.
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Along with the cultural change comes respect. Some countries are more religious than others, or maybe your Host Family is more devoted than you expected. You have to be open-minded and respect the host country’s traditions.
This will help you appreciate the country better, see things from another perspective, therefore it will help you feel more comfortable there.
Moreover, teaching your Host Family about your culture will also help them understand you better.
There will be moments when you will miss your country, your family and friends. You have to be ready for these moments; however, to counteract feeling homesick, you can learn how to cook a typical dish from your country for example. Also, there will probably be other Au Pairs or people from your country living there. Try to contact them through social media whenever you have the need of feeling home again.
Screening the Host Families
Finding a Host Family that matches what you’re looking for might be more difficult than it seems. There are some things you should keep in mind when you’re screening the family’s profile:
It is important that the Host Family has uploaded pictures. If there are no pictures, maybe you are dealing with someone who is not really interested in the Au Pair program, or who does not take his/her research seriously.
The more pictures the family has, the more you will know how interested they are in finding an Au Pair.
A description with just one sentence like “we need an Au Pair” or no content at all, doesn’t tell you anything about the family. If the Host Family provides a full description of themselves and what they are exactly looking for, it will help you to know if this family could be the perfect one for you.
Consider also the answer rate- on the Host Family’s profile there are three circles. One of the circles contains a number with a percentage. It indicates the answer rate of the family, that is how often the Host Family answers the messages sent by other Au Pairs. If the answer rate is high, it’s a good sign of the Host Family’s commitment.
Host Family’s whereabouts
Obviously you can select your preferences in your profile (Big City, Countryside and so on). However it is also important to ask the Host Family about a specific location.
Sometimes a Host Family might live in the city, however the bus or subway connection is not very good, or it’s too far away from the place where you take the language course. Take into consideration the pros and cons of the location where the Host Family lives, and don’t hesitate to ask the family about possible transportation means.
How can I contact a Host Family?
You need to visit the Host Family’s profile and drop a message there. If the family is a Premium Member, they will be able to read your message and answer it in no time. You can also add a Host Family to your hotlist. The families will immediately get notified that you are interested!
How long does it take to find a Host Family?
It depends on several factors. Create your profile and make it attractive for other users. Check that you meet the Au Pair requirements set by the Au Pair program. Be active and contact 20-30 Host Families per day. While contacting the Host Families, make also sure that you fulfil the family’s expectations. Be active, open minded and try to convince families that the time spent with you will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for their kids! Generally speaking, it takes from one week up to a few months to find a Host Family.