We are a family from Catalonia, in Spain, with two children aged 8 (Mireia) and 3 (Marc). Last summer (July 2012) we decided to have an au pair at home for the first time and, as it was the first time, we had the au-pair only for one month. At first I registered as a host family thinking that I would not receive any candidates willing to come to our home because, although we live in a house with a swimming pool, quite close to Barcelona and the beach, we're not in actually in a big city or by the seaside. However, I was astonished by how many candidates were e-mailing me and I had to make up my mind quite fast because my e-mail was collapsing !
As I said, it was our first time so I browsed through several candidates, I exchanged e-mails and talked to them on Skype, and finally I had a very good feeling about a Polish girl, Iga, who was also new as an au-pair, so after quite a few e-mail exchanges and conversations, I decided to give her an opportunity because everybody deserves it sometime.
My feeling was not wrong. The experience was great. She is a very reliable person, very gentle and very fond of the kids. At the beginning she was a little bit shy, probably because of her inexperience, but at the end of her stay we ended up all crying because she was leaving. However I must say that her job was not easy because the 3 years old boy doesn't speak any English and children of this age keep you very busy and my 8 year old girl is very active, always wanting to be outdoors, playing football, swimming and so on. The most important and remarkable thing is that my kids keep asking when is Iga coming back. I'm talking on her behalf, but I think that the experience for her was also great, because she assured me she wanted to come back. I think we made her feel as part of the family.
She had exclusively to take care of our children while we were at work, that is, helping them with breakfast, preparing lunch, helping Mireia with her homework, and, mostly, playing with them. What we wanted is the au pair to talk in English but her knowledge of Spanish turned very useful to understand Marc. In exchange we took her with us everywhere we went, we took her to Barcelona, to the Beach, to a theme park... We enjoyed a lot having her at home and she was like the oldest daughter for us and when she left, we had already got used to having her around and my kids kept referring to her, such as this is Iga's chair, this is Iga's room, and so on.
This year we have decided to repeat the experience. At first Iga was going to come back to our home, but it seems that we won't be able to agree on the dates, because she is busy in July, and believe me, I'm really not willing to tell my kids Iga is not coming back, so I'll have to look for a new au-pair and register my offer in Aupair-World again and I hope I'll be able to find someone as good as she was.
I found this website in Google and I'm very happy about their response and functioning. They have proved a very professional website and I have recommended this website to many friends who are willing to host aupairs this year for their first time. Talking to a cousin I have in London, it turns that she has been finding her au pairs from the last 3 or 4 years from this website too. To conclude, I think that the fact that I'm registering again this year says it all.