The picture above are the two wonderful children I look after. I found them through the incredibly helpful website that is http://www.aupairworld.com. I would 100% recommend this website, it’s so quick and easy to use, meaning I was flying out to Italy within a couple of weeks of deciding to au pair. Here I will write a short but comprehensive guide to finding the perfect family for you using this website.
1.) When you’re creating your profile show off the skills that are important to families. This is not a normal job application.
Remember to reflect the skills that are important to families who will be taking you into their homes. They want to know about you as a person, what do you like and not like? What’s your own family like? How would your friends describe you? Be real! The family that I’m with told me that they were tossing up between me and another girl, but decided to choose me because when I Skyped them, I introduced them to my family, which meant that they saw that family was important to me.
2.) Use your passion for travelling as a strength.
People (especially Europeans) love it when you love their culture and country. Explain that you want to see the world, that you want to travel and experience other countries and cultures and ways of life! My Italian host family has shown me lots of lovely sights and cultural aspects of Italian life that have made me so glad I decided to au pair in the first place!
3.) What to look for in your host family
Okay so now you have made yourself desirable to host families, and soon enough the requests will come flooding in, but who do you choose? I would attempt to choose a family who is looking for somebody who can teach them English, not a cleaner. A lot of people I know who have gone to au pair in English speaking countries have had quite a hard time because they have ended up being a nanny and a cleaner and a house sitter all in one. I am here primarily to teach everyone English and chat (which isn’t too bad a lifestyle really!) and my responsibilities solely include picking up the kids from school in the afternoon and playing with them, which in all honesty I enjoy so much I feel bad for being paid to be here! Speaking another language is a gift, use it! Look for families who obviously love their children very much, because you truly do become like an extra sibling to the kids!
4.) Making yourself stand out that little bit extra
Like I said in my other blog post, I had no previous knowledge of the Italian language when I embarked on this adventure, however I would 100% highly recommend the use of Duolingo, it’s both an app and a website (with the online site being slightly more helpful for learning languages I would say). This in combination with handy youtube videos, such as the videos on this channel https://www.youtube.com/user/Txxytu (really helpful thank you so much) will have you able to have pretty decent conversations, in a very short space of time, meaning you can also add “a basic understanding of (insert your language here)” to your profile! Not only does it look good but it is super handy once you get to your chosen country, because although your family may speak plenty of English, there are also lots of people who don’t! (Like my family’s cleaner and both sets of grandparents). And even if your language skills aren’t perfect, people really value effort more than anything else.
Hopefully this little guide has been a helpful insight into how to become an au pair abroad! And I would just like to say, for anybody unsure of which destination to choose, Cagliari in Sardinia is amazing, the lifestyle is so laid back, the people are amazing, the food is better than amazing and the weather could definitely be worse!