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What to bear in mind before going abroad as Au Pair?

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 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 send you 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. 

Signing the contract before the stay begins

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 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 before you had arrived, 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 searcher 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.

Cash

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 had landed in the country to do so. Be foresighted.

Credit Cards

Using an ATM in another country can be very expensive. First of all you should go to your bank and inform yourself 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 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 bucket list. Not only can the fear of missing the flight be very stressful, but also 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.

Extending your visa

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 health care 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 country of the EU you can always get your European Health Insurance Card. However in 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. 

Getting a driving license valid in host country

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 embassy settled 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 problem, don’t wait and always ask for help.
 


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