The Voß-Rahe family has invested a great deal of time and energy and love in developing Hof Viehbrook, an old farm property in a very rural part of Schleswig-Holstein, into a lighthouse project that combines agriculture, teaching, gastronomy, leisure and tourism. Working in all these areas at once, there is always a great deal to do – and after the birth of their second son it was proving difficult to manage everything that had to be done. That's why the family decided in the summer of 2017 to try out au pairing as a new way of handling childcare. The experiment has turned out to be a big success.
"To begin with, I was somewhat sceptical, but found the idea of au pairing nonetheless quite exciting," recounts host mom Kirsten. "At first, you don't know what to expect. So to begin with I informed myself all about au pairing at aupairworld.com, and right after that used the chance to get in touch with potential au pairs. The adjustable search functionality at the website was particularly helpful for her: "There aren't many areas that are more rural than where we live. The filter function in the EasyFind search was very helpful for finding an au pair who didn't want to go to a big city."
Family is what matters most
It truly is a very rural area: When Kirsten Voß-Rahe looks out her office window she sees fields, meadows and the nearby forest. The two au pairs she's had up till now from Spain and France both came from small towns. For them, the most important thing was not where there au pair stay would take place, but the family with whom they would have the experience. Both au pairs were able to improve their German skills in the evening school classes offered in the next larger town close to the Viehbrook Farm. They did not receive a particular certificate for their coursework there, but they were able to learn with a retired teacher who gave lots of individual attention to the participants working in small groups.
The two small boys in the family – in the meantime one and a half and three and a half years old – got a lot from the au pairs, reports Kirsten, and from their differing personalities. "Our au pair from Spain was incredibly open and outgoing. She made contact with everyone in no time. The au pair from France was in general a bit more reserved and shy, but she also found her place and felt good being here."
Strong connections in the country
Kirsten doesn't believe that it is more difficult for au pairs to make contact with people in a rural setting. "In our circle of friends and acquaintances, there tended to be a great curiosity about the newcomers and interest in getting to know the girls. I think that if one has an open personality, then it's also possible to quickly make contact in a village or small town – maybe even easier than in the anonymous situation of a big city."