The best way to prepare yourself for your placement is to get in touch regularly with your host family by phone or Skype. This allows you to get to know your family a bit in advance. You can exchange views on your mutual expectations and the duties you will be performing in your au pair position. Note down in a contract all important things like your planned tasks, working hours, pocket money and free time. The contract helps to avoid misunderstandings and provides security for both the au pair and the family.
Another way you can learn more about a future host family is by talking to their former au pairs. Many host families ask their au pairs whether they may forward their contact details such as e-mail address or telephone number to a future au pair. Your host family might at the moment still be hosting an au pair whom you could call or contact via Skype. Why not ask them for the au pair's contact details? You can exchange information and get a good idea what to expect in the family. And you may also get some good tips about how best to manage things. This will give you a better idea of what it means to be an au pair in general and what is special about this particular host family.
"The au pair stay was a fantastic experience. I will never again get to know another culture in this intensive way. However, I would advise all future au pairs to clearly define their working hours and free time. Another important aspect is to always talk to your family in case you face any problems!" *
(Marina from Germany, au pair on Corsica for 7 weeks)
After your arrival at your host family's home, speak a lot and often with them. Should anything be unclear or bother you, tell your host family about it. Often, it is only a matter of misunderstanding or a cultural difference that can be clarified quite easily by talking about it.
While you are away and on your way to the host country, you need topay close attention to your personal documents. Your passport is a very important document and should never be handed over to anyone. A copy of it will be sufficient for your host family.
Furthermore, do not forget to take enough money and all important telephone numbers with you, such as the telephone number of your host family and embassy. Thus you will be prepared for any contingency.
Do you have more questions or need more tips? Contact us!
* This quotation was translated by AuPairWorld.