I studied abroad my spring semester in my junior year of college and fell head over heels in love with the city I was in. I wracked my brain trying to think of ways I could stay or come back to the city—find some excuse to come back. My advisor from my study abroad program suggested becoming an au pair. Hmm, I do babysit a lot, I love traveling and I’m independent—I think this could work! So here is my attempt at giving you a step-by-step guide to finding the perfect family for your au pairing adventures.
1. Find a trustworthy au pair agency.
Easiest place to find one is the Internet. I suggest aupair-world.net. Basically you create a profile of who you are and what your expectations are as an au pair. Include how many children you want to take care of, whether you want to live in a city or the country, include what area of the world you would like, etc. There are a lot of au pair sites that have profiles you can pay for too. Do some research before you pick one; make sure it is legitimate and that your information is safe. Never put where you live, your phone number or anything else personal until you get to know the family and you trust them with your information.
2. Connect with different potential families.
The entire time I had my profile online, I had so many emails from families who were interested in me. Try and be courteous and reply to each family. If you don’t think you will fit, let them know. Once you find some families you could imagine yourself with, exchange email addresses.
I talked a lot to about three or four families while I was searching for the right au pair family. I finally found the family that I thought was a perfect match for me.
3. If possible, meet your family in person.
I know not everyone has the opportunity to meet their family in person before they go to be an au pair but if you can, you totally should! I met up with the mother of my future family during a visit to the city that I studied in. We also talked on the phone a few times too. Skyping with the family is also a good way to see them and get to know them. Ask for pictures of where you will be living and do some research on where they live.
4. Discuss contractual details in detail.
After you decide they are the perfect family for you, discuss money, time off, trips, travel expenses, visas, etc. Write up some sort of contract. Make sure your family is on the same page with everything. Ask about Internet access too; it’s important to keep in touch with your family and friends while you’re away.
If everything works out, get ready for the experience of your life. Don’t rush the process of finding a family.