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Experience with an au-pair job

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What are people’s experiences with working in England as au-pairs? How is the care of children abroad?

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Camilla has been using au-pair services for her family for almost 10 years – Italy:

It is really important life experience. We have been using the au-pair services for many years. They usually come from Germany or Austria. In the beginning, we were concerned about having foreigners in our own house, but eventually we got used to it. Girls, who take care of our three children, are very important for our family and we try to provide them with domestic background as best as possible. They are young girls aged around 19 years, who are away from home for the first time. Sometimes they fear of failure and tend to be sad, and so on. Each au-pair is different, has her customs, habits and character, of course. Understanding of each personality forms a very strong bond among us and we respect each other. They often study Italian, and I am trying to help them with their homeworks. I remember that once we studied almost until morning, because she had the entrance exams for university the next day.

Recently, one au-pair has left who was with us six months. We got used to her so much that when she left, children were crying and I took her as a member of our household. We often talk on the phone and this year we are going to holiday together. We are in contact even with au-pairs who were with us more than three years ago. It is an experience not only for me but for our children as well. They learn to respect other nationalities and learn a foreign vocabulary. My experience is very good, we were lucky with most of the girls. Caring for children requires love, respect, patience and above all honesty.

Ursula – South Africa

Ursula saw snow for the first time when she was as an au-pair in Holland. This job requires a lot of preparation. Her experience was worth it. Ursula liked the stay in Holland and therefore she applied for a visa again to become an au-pair once more.

Last year I was at the au-pair stay for the first time. I was in Dutch city of Amersfoort for 6 months and took care of two boys of 7 and 11 years. At first I was shocked. It is not so easy to become an au-pair. I thought I´d just contact an agency, buy a ticket and can go. But that is not how it goes. First, it is necessary to have a profile, they must find a suitable family, then follows callings via Skype or phone before I was accepted by the family and vice versa and then the lengthy visa process. Then I finally could fly off and become an au-pair. The whole process took several months.

Experiences
I was expecting a lot from this stay. Above all that I get to know a new culture, language and new places. I loved my family. It was nice when I saw snow for the first time in my life, places that I probably will not see again and people I met were amazing. What I did not like was the price for transport, city public transportation and traveling in general.

Preparation
I had attended a lot of courses, gathered tips from previous au-pairs and communicated with my family really many times before I flew.

Daily work responsibilities
I prepared breakfast and lunch for the boys, dressed them, took them to school and when I came back, I paid attention to light houseworks. In the afternoon I picked them up at school and took them home. When there was a good weather, we played together in the garden. Then I prepared dinner for them and sometimes put them to sleep. When I had time off, me and other au-pairs were visiting each other, or I traveled, went to museums and during a long weekend I even visited Paris.

Contact with the family
Even after my return, I am still in touch with the family. I really liked the place and I appreciate that I had that opportunity. I miss them much. The au-pair stay helped me to become independent and better understand myself. I also learnt a lot and can not wait to become an au-pair again. 

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