Friday, September 27, 2013

How to become an au pair and what you can expect!

Let me start again by saying that I am SO SO lucky to have each and every one of you as a reader, follower, and sharer of my blog. I never could have dreamed of having so much support from people all over the world that I have never even met. With that being said...

I'm trying my best to respond to each and every email, and so far I believe I've responded to all of them (correct me if I'm wrong). However, It's becoming quite difficult for me to keep up with my actual job, because somehow I've found myself in this dream situation of receiving hundreds of amazing emails/comments/responses each day <3. Many of you have shared your stories, hopes and dreams with me and I will desperately try to make those emails my first priority, because I so much appreciate your sincerity and willingness to share your life with a me, a complete stranger. Thank you for giving me the realization that there are in fact a world full of people out there with the same big and crazy aspirations that I have. And really, it's scary how much many of you and I have in common.

Others of you are simply interested in how I landed myself this dream job, so I'll give you a short play by play for you to refer to if you're seriously interested in becoming an au pair.

I've referred to this in other entries, but incase you missed it, I started with going to www.aupair.com. It's not an agency but rather a site where you deal directly with families, instead of going through a third party. I'd highly recommend this approach.
- First you choose your top 3 countries. You can always look for families in other countries, and families from other countries can contact you as well. Picking your top 3 simply helps you to narrow down the number of profiles you will see initially, and help give you an idea about what kind of families exist in the places that you really see yourself living.
- Next, you will make a profile about yourself. Here's your chance to outshine all of the others. If you have a college degree (and you definitely don't need one), mention it. Talk about your experience with children (again, you don't necessarily need it, but it is highly preferred). Offer "References available upon request" and only give out reference information to families you are truly considering (I only gave mine to the family I'm working for). Talk about your love for travel and experiencing new cultures. Talk about your independence! And be sure to discuss any other talents you have that make you more favorable than the next (cooking, arts and crafts, sports, etc.). There are thousandsssss of au pairs looking for a job, so be unique! And definitely include a profile picture-- families are more willing to look at your profile that way.

THEN: 
- You will start getting emails that you have been "hotlisted". This is the somewhat weird way of saying, "Our family likes you". Check out their profile and see if you like them back.
- You will also get emails from families directly trying to contact you, after they've seen your amazing profile and think you could potentially be a good candidate. Respond to them even if you're not interested. It's polite.
- Once you find a good match, ask a lot of questions. "What will my job entail?" "What is the pay?" "How long are you looking for an au pair for?" (some may be looking for 3 months, some will be looking for a year or more) "Can I see pictures of the house?" "Will I have a car to use?" etc. etc. etc. ask, ask, ask! Remember, you will be living with these people! You want to make sure you know exactly what you're getting yourself into, and that you can see yourself being comfortable there.

My family provided me with 6 pages full of information and pictures before we talked on skype, so I had a pretty good idea about the kind of situation I'd be committing myself to. After reading, I knew they were the family for me. They checked my references and we did a pretty lenient skype "interview". And that was that. I was offered the job a couple days later! Luckily for me, my family was everything and more than I expected! Like love. Trust your gut. You'll know when you've found the right one :)!

So, what is au pair life like? 

Au pair life is a much more glorified version of moving back in with your parents, so if you can't get past living in someone else's house, this probably isn't for you. It's not for everyone, and that's okay, but realize that early on before you invest a lot of time into the whole grand idea. I don't have a problem sharing space with people, so it ended up being the perfect way for me to be able to live in another country for a year. The freedom of having no bills, while simultaneously making enough money to shop, travel and experience my new surroundings sounded like the perfect year in my eyes. Plus it's nice to be completely immersed in the culture by way of the closest people to you on the entire continent.

So as far as my weekly life, it goes a little something like this:
- breakfast with the girls
- packing lunches
- bringing my oldest to school
- sport
- swimming lessons
- playdates with fellow au pairs and their kids
- nap times
- playing in the ocean
- going to the park
- coloring
- dress up
- and dancing, lots and lots of dancing :)

Dress up :)

I work 4 days a week from 7-4, with the two most beautiful girls on the planet. I like to say that I have all of the perks of being a stay at home mom except with pay and without the lifetime commitment. It's such an ideal situation for someone looking to travel the world while simultaneously making money by putting their childcare skills to use!

For those of you who are desperately wanting to au pair, but have been asking for any encouraging advice I can offer, it is this: You are young, vibrant, independent and you have the entire world at your fingertips. If you're offered your dream opportunity, I'd hate for you to let it pass you by simply due to fear. Remember, you have your wholeeee life to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life. You have your wholeeee life to work 9 to 5's and pay bills. Your opportunity is now. Be strong. Be brave. AND TAKE IT! You'll thank me later.

My earlier posts, starting with "The Inevitable Travel Bug", will give you a pretty good sense of my feelings before I ended up here. Check them out to see how and why I gave up my "normal" life for a life of freedom and adventure, and how terrifying that whole process was. Let's just say, If I can do it, you can do it too :).

BEST OF LUCK to each and every one of you!

As always, dream big my friends.

*P.s. the big vacay starts in two days!!! nothing but me, the sun, and the Great Barrier Reef <3. blog entry to follow in a week from Tuesday. stay tuned! xoxo!

6 comments:

  1. My husband grew up with one and they're still great friends too.

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    1. I will undoubtedly be friends with this family for the rest of my life! What a great experience it's been :). Thanks for reading!

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  2. Hi Jerrica! I just found your blog and I'm so inspired by your story. I've always wanted to pick up everything and move across the world but the idea of leaving my cushy job, despite my feelings on it, scare me a little. Thanks for helping to add to motivation and I'll be following your blog!

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    1. I'm so glad you stumbled upon my blog and that I have gained a reader in you! It was definitely a bit of a crazy move, but one you'd never regret in my opinion. Keep dreaming lady, but more importantly, keep pursuing those dreams. If I can do it, anybody can do it :). It's truly been THE single best experience of my life and I'm only 6 weeks in. Thanks for reading!

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  3. Im speechless. And jealous. Kinda love you and hate you at the same time. Kinda cannot freaking wait to have a beer with you.

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  4. These insights on au pairs really moved me. I really learned important things on au pairs. Becoming an au pair is like an adventure. There's nothing like this and the experience is awesome. Becoming an au pair is an avenue for a person to learn a lot of things and of course, to impart important highlights on one's culture to the hosting family. I really find this a great experience.

    -http://www.expertaupair.com/

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