Finding The Right Family

I started the process of finding a family to live and work for a bit over a year ago now, and my first red hot tip is: don’t do that!

Naturally I can’t speak for every family, but in my experience most host families weren’t looking for new au pairs until a couple of months (maximum) prior to the start date. This meant that I was matching with and chatting with several families who were looking for au pairs to start in the Summer of 2016, not ’17.

I was working full time at a job I didn’t like but had to keep in order to complete a certain part of my uni course. Because of this, I was super eager to plan and confirm what I would be doing next year, but really couldn’t find much.

Initially I was very close to accepting a job with a family who had very different life values to me, purely because they were the first family in 2-3 months who were actually looking so far ahead in their schedule. It’s absolutely worth taking the time to find a couple of families who are willing to take you in, and then choosing the one that fits best for you. Remember, when they invite an au pair into their home, they are employing you to be a part of their family from the safety of their normal lives. You have to choose a family to work for that will make you feel comfortable being away from your own home for a significant amount of time – possibly for the first time in your life!

Luckily I have ended up with a family who seem like a really good match for me, but I think that by starting too early you can easily fall into the trap of picking the first people who say yes because they are so few and far between.

Be patient, there are thousands of families looking for au pairs, there will be the right one for you.

The site I used to find my family was Au Pair World. This is an entirely free program and is as simple as creating a profile and selecting some parameters regarding the type of family you would like to work for: age of kids, number of kids, country, small town or big city, whether or not you are comfortable driving, smoking/non-smoking and so on. It’s really a very simple process!

When you create your profile there is no need to go overboard with information. Just introduce yourself, your family, what you study or where you’ve been working, if you have any experience with kids*, and things you like to do in your spare time.

*Hot Tip: Experience is totally unnecessary, but if you’re anxious about having no experience, think about any times you’ve looked after your siblings or cousins, or even just spent some time with a friend’s younger siblings. If you’ve never spent time with kids then you may want to test it out before committing yourself to a few months living with them!

Once you’ve signed up and completed your profile the website will automatically create a list of families who match your preferences. It’s as easy as clicking on each profile, reading about the family and sending any who look like a good match for you a message. This system works both ways and families can contact you as well.

Most families will get back to you within 24 hours and usually within the first few messages will offer to exchange Skype details for a Skype ‘interview’. I’ll be reasonable and allow the Skype interview it’s own post, as we all know first impressions are the most important ones!

Don’t be alarmed if you receive ‘rejection’ messages, as it’s likely that they have simply already filled the position for the period of time you’re looking at.

The last thing I want to mention is that this is just my experience with one website. There are lots of programs out there you can use, some are even done through a company who will match you with a family themselves. I really liked Au Pair World because it was free and easy to manage on my own, but keep in mind that something else may work better for you!

That’s all I have for today – hopefully some of this information has been helpful and you will be able to find the perfect family for you!

Until next time, Anxious Au Pair out

xo

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Welcome to me!

Hi!

My name is Karina and I’m a 21 year old (22 in two weeks!) Aussie university student. This year I’ve decided to spend six months Au Pairing in Italy and I want to document it right here on this blog. The past few months have been crazy trying to organise everything, and even the past two weeks have had their fair share of troubles and chaos – but more on that later.

Why am I doing this? Because I overthink everything. I’m a super nervous and altogether disastrously anxious person (sounds like a great mix for solo travel, right?) and it was extraordinarily difficult to find answers to my questions anywhere on the internet. I was under the impression we could find anything on the web these days, so to take inspiration from the quote “if you want a thing done well, do it yourself”, I figured that by writing this blog I may be able to help someone else like me in the future!

To tell you a little about myself: I’ve always loved travelling, I think I first gained an appreciation for the world living with my family in the USA when I was younger. We lived in California  for the best part of two years and then travelled in a motorhome for 3 months around the enormous and beautiful area of North America. I remember being so excited having my Junior Ranger passport stamped in each national park, just like I do now ticking another place off the bucket list.

Since then I have been incredibly lucky to have been overseas a few more times – three weeks in Germany on a school trip, two months in Canada on a student exchange, five weeks with my family in France in 2014, a month with a friend in the UK during my second year of uni, a short holiday to Vietnam and Cambodia at the end of last year and finally this trip to Europe which has certainly been the biggest yet!

Other things: I’m an avid reader, gymnastics is a favourite sport (though my skills aren’t what they once were), I love to watch musicals, I like dorky weekend things like bowling and mini golf, I can speak a little bit of German, I can’t stand the noise vacuum cleaners make, and I will never pass on playing a good board game.

My life up to this point: As high school came to an end and we were asked to apply for uni courses I still had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I had an interest in Psychology but wasn’t keen on the minimum of 5 years study to have any kind of chance of being a psychologist. I also really enjoyed graphic design/advertising but didn’t quite make the creative cut for that course. A teacher at my school mentioned to me that marketing somewhat encapsulated both psychology and advertising and I leapt on the idea because I genuinely had no where else to turn. Business degrees are good in that they can take you in so many directions, no matter what the major is. So that’s what I’ve been doing! So far I have completed two years of full time study, and one year of full time work as an IBL (industry based learning) student which also earned credits towards my course. Up until then I had worked at McDonalds for four years (too long), and simultaneously as a gymnastics coach for two years. I’m still not in love with my degree choice, and this has been the leading factor to where I am right now – taking a year to live in the beautiful country of Italia.

So that’s me in a very brief nutshell. Because this is just an introduction post, I will talk about how I found my au pair position and everything leading up to it in other posts (then you won’t have to read through all this garbage to find the answers you really need – kudos to you if you’ve made it up to this point!).

I’ll see you back here with another post soon! Ciao!