Never did I ever imagine..
That the moment I clicked the PUBLISH button at 4 AM on http://www.aupairworld.com my life would change forever. Never did I think that by the following week I would have TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY (yes, you read that correctly… 250) messages of people inviting me into their lives!!!
IT IS OVERWHELMING SO LET ME HELP YOU!!
- First off. NEVER SAY YES TO THE FIRST MESSAGE. They can be a good family BUT keep your options open. Your profile will be flooded with messages by the end of the week. So, take your time, read through host families profiles, and get a feel for things. YOU DON’T WANT TO RUSH THIS PROCESS (TRUST ME!!)
- While looking at the families profiles READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION. If it sounds like something that is WAY TOO MUCH WORK for little pay, SKIP OUT. Remember that this is a CULTURAL EXCHANGE AND THIS IS YOUR EXPERIENCE!! If this family wants you to wake up every morning to get all the kids ready for school, then come home to start all the laundry and ironing, pick up the kids from school, drop them off at activities, make dinner, do the washing, and tucking the kids into bed for only 75€ a week. DELETE THAT REQUEST!! NOW!! Remember that the Au Pair World website tells you how many hours you are allowed to work in that country per week! ∗IF YOU WORK MORE THAN THE AGREED AMOUNT OF TIME MAKE SURE YOU WILL BE COMPENSATED ACCORDINGLY∗
- With all in number 2 being said. Make sure you are getting GOOD PAY. How much do I think is fair? WELL, that does depend on how much you work. HOWEVER IF YOU ARE IN A MAJOR CITY I THINK YOU SHOULD MAKE 500€ A MONTH, MINIMUM! (I was paid about 400€ a month plus cell phone and metro card. This I thought was fair because I really loved my family and all they did for me)! I bet your thinking “you can get them to pay your cell phone and metro card?” Just ask!! Most families are more than happy to and just don’t even have that thought cross their minds!! I did not want to pay ANY BILLS while here in Italy so I got those covered and you can too. Just ask!
- What if you have to get a visa who should pay? This is interesting for me as I PAID ALL MY SCHOOLING ($3000 and all my visa fees/flights. totaling around $3,600). However, my situation was different. I had been with my family for 3 months and then ASKED THEM IF I COULD COME BACK!! And they NEVER had a long term au pair. So with this situation I believed it was more my descision then theirs and I should front the cost. I WORKED 3 MONTHS.. NON STOP IN CALIFORNIA.. TO MAKE $4,000 TO PAY EVERYTHING IN CASH AND NOT FROM A CREDIT CARD OR BANK ACCOUNT!! But my feelings are if the family will only take you if you will come for one full year.. SPLIT THE COST or they SHOULD PAY ALL!
- Location MATTERS! One thing I “sacrificed” to be with my perfect family was the location. I was in Milan however I was not too centerly located! It took me about 45 minutes on the tram to reach the Duomo and to reach the Navgili it would take forever. So going out at night was not very convenient for me! If I needed to take the metro I would have to hop on a bus to get there! I highly recommend finding a family that is closer to the area you want to be in or go out in! However, if you find a family you love, location can be compromised I think.
- If you want to travel with the family make sure to ask them during your interview process if that is something they normally do. Make sure to ask what does your schedule usually look at that time. Is it more or less hours? Is there a pay raise? Can you have a day off if it is a week long vacation? Make sure to ask about what you are interested in. I loved traveling with my family as the kids were not tired from school and the parents were not stressing over work! With that being said, if you do not go on vacation and you ARE AVAIABLE to work, YOU SHOULD BE GETTING PAID. Discuss this before you arrive to your host families and make sure it is in your contract!
- Contracts are important so make sure everything you agree upon before arrival is in your contract. Also be sure you actually HAVE A CONTRACT! This will some what protect you if anything terrible happens… BUT, if you are in Italy remember that aupairing is not considered a real job!
- Find a family that you want to hangout with! Do you have to hangout with them in your free time? Of course not. However this experience is much more rewarding if you feel like you are apart of the family and aren’t just counting down the minutes until you are free to do whatever you want. I used to take my host sister on Day Dates and it was such a special thing for our relationship. I also loved going on family outting such as: Brioche Breakfast, Brunch Dates, The Christmas Farms, and shopping.
- ASK QUESTIONS!! Some questions that I highly recommend asking are things such as: What is the parents parenting style? What are the foods that the families eat and do you need to follow their diet? Are you allowed to exit at night? Do they expect you to hangout with them every weekend? And lastly, What way would they like to communicate if there are any issues?
- FACETIME. FACETIME. FACETIME! Do NOT go to your families house as a complete stranger. Chat with them throughout the interview process. Facetime them, send them texts and even some voice messages. If any of it feels awkward to you pass on that family and crosv s them off the list!
As scary as this sounds I PROMISE it will get better and before you know it YOU WILL BE ON A PLANE TO SOMEWHERE SPECIAL!
• How to reamp your “Au Pair World Profile”