Have you considered, why and what it takes to be an au pair?28. February 2022
Have you ever considered what it takes to be an au pair?
How it is to leave your family for up to 2 years and only seeing them online.
How it is to live with another family that is different to what you come from.
Of course there will always be ups and downs in an au pair stay. I was an au pair myself many years ago, and I know that there are similarities despite that it was many years ago.
How is it to adjust to a family that you don´t know. When is it okay to be in your room, and when do you have to participate in the family?
First of all, I will say, that it is very important that you are flexible and adjustable. That you are willing to both have an interest in the family and are interested in getting to know them and their culture. They are of course interested to know about your culture as well. But bear in mind, that you are the one who has decided to leave your home country and live in a foreign country for a longer period of time. So it is important that you have an eager to want to get to know this country, the family, the language etc.
I have had a few families who worried, because the au pair stayed in her room often times when she didn´t work. They worried because they actually wanted her to participate in the family and do stuff with them. So being openminded and honest is another advice I will give you. If you have a good chemistry and find the trust that you can be honest with the family, then you can talk about everything and therefore also be honest about when you need to be alone in your room and when you want to hang out with the family. The family worry about if you feel comfortable, have a social life and feel at home with them. And I know that a lot of you have been living by yourself and are completely capable of taking care of yourself as the adult you are. But the family believe they have a certain responsibility for you regardless of your age. You are in a foreign country, and therefore you have to have a good communication with the hostfamily. Maybe they would like to know who you are hanging out with, where you are, and maybe they even want you to come home at a certain time. And all of that is not to bother you, but because they have a concern and want to take care of you. They feel they have a responsibility for you.
Put yourself in their shoes is another advise, I will give you. It is important that you can understand their point of view sometimes, as they also have to understand yours. The families have an interview with you after deciding to open their home for an au pair. And when they find the right candidate they are really exited about the process, how long it takes before you are hopefully approved and can arrive. When you arrive please remember that they open their home for you for a long time. They trust you, and also trust you with their kids. So you have to build a respectful and mutual relationship to each other built on honesty and trust.
Unfortunately I´ve had some au pairs recently who didn´t understand the importance of that. Who all of a sudden after a short period of time, wanted to leave the family without even giving a notice. One took off after 2-3 weeks. Couldn’t tell why she didn´t want to be there anymore, she just didn´t. I tried to ask her what was the issue, and she couldn´t tell. Another one regret and maybe didn´t think it through before she arrived. So she just wanted to go back home.
Did you know that the Danish families pay approx.. 40,000 DKR (170.000 PHP) for the process before you arrive?? That is almost 9 months of your allowance.
So do you have any idea what it does to a family when an au pair from one day to another just pack her stuff and wants to leave?
I have had families calling me crying, because they actually cared and were happy about having the au pair in their family. The kids care too. Can you imagine how tough it is to a child, that a person that they feel connected with takes off like that, and sometimes don’t even say good bye?
My point is, -cause there are more issues in this… After such an incident the families feel betrayed in that sence, that they opened their home to an au pair. Trusted their home and their kids to an au pair, and then she just leaves them. I am aware that sometimes chemistry is not as it seemed to on video before arrival. But being honest about it and talking to the family about it, instead of just taking off will leave you with a much higher respect than going behind the families back and just leave. It is way more respectfull at the end, and will show how mature you are at handling both the good and the bad. Nothing is just 100% good. Nothing in life is like that. So what are your expectations? Another thing is, I always tell my applicants that I am here to help and support you all the way. And I actually demand that they contact me if they have any issues or questions. Often times issues can be fixed, if you speak up, and if you are willing to give it a chance. Can you honestly say that after 2-3 weeks that you have given it a fair chance?
Having a family calling me crying is also regarding not only the betray they feel, but also the amount of money they have spend on getting an au pair to Denmark. In Denmark the family pay approx. almost 20,000 DKR ( 70.000 PHP) just for the Danish lesson fee. Regardless if you want to participate in the Danish lessons or not, this is a required payment. If you leave them before the contract is fulfilled there is no refund for them. And some families can´t afford to apply for another au pair after loosing such a big amount of money after a month or two. The money is wasted. I know that the only one to blame in this matter are the Danish Authorities who made this requirement. But I am telling you, so you can take it into consideration when you apply. This is not for fun. This is not just a game. This is serious. And I always tell my applicants to both be honest and open and use their intuition when I send them a family profile. Can you see yourself in this family for a year or two? If you can´t, say no. There will be other families. It´s better to wait for the right match taking the above mentioned issues into consideration. Don´t you think?
When you use an agency like aupairagent.dk there is always a safety net -a back up to lean on. In Denmark I visit the families occasionally, to make sure everything is fine, and if you have questions or anything else, I am there to help and guide all the way. We want your stay to be a success. And if you don’t contact us and are being honest. We can´t help you. You won´t have a succesful stay either.
Sometimes we are asked why we charge our applicants. We charge a small amount as an application fee and a fee again when there is a match. The amount of hours that Nerry (who helps you when you apply with all the required documents) and I use on screening, interview, finding a host family, guiding you in the application process, and also being available when you arrive, and coming by for a visit also. Well, the amount of hours that we use (since Covid actually, we are using more time/ hours on each case, and we even deducted 66% off the application fee. Cause we know it can be difficult to apply from your home country during these times, as a lot of families prefer an au pair with experience who is already in Europe. So the duration time until there is a match is longer now than it used to be. Nevertheless it is still possible to find hosts families who would like to give applicants outside Europe a chance. But patience is a virtue. And bear in mind, that we do all we can to help all applicants to find host families.
So, to sum up everything. Please consider and put yourself in the shoes of the host family. Ask yourself (and use your intuition) when you are presented with a host family profile. Can I see myself in this family for 1 or 2 years? Be honest, respectfull and interested in the family. Participate, go out to meet other people and explore the city and the country in general. Make a list of things you would like to see during your stay. What do you want to “put in your backpack” that you can use for the rest of your life when you leave. Wouldn´t it be nice to both have made friendships for life, and come back home and tell about all the good things you have experienced? And last but not least: I am here to help you, all the way.
Update and good news05. October 2021
The blog has been quiet for a long time this summer. And there is a reason for that. It has been super busy. Both by matching new families and au pairs, but also by pushing the "pile" of applications which were rejected during the lockdown and have the cases approved. It is under control now, and it is a great joy that the "machinery" is back on track and the world is slowly opening up again.
This also means that a number of Danish au pairs have been sent out into the world again. And it has been great to be able to help fulfill the girls' wish for a leap year, and help them in their desire to travel. The only challenge that has been, and it has also been great, has been to send the au pairs to the United States. Where has it been uphill for them and they have really struggled. Many times they have approached the US Embassy to book a time for a visa and they have received a blank rejection each time. And every time they have approached and been frustrated - and I can very easily understand that, the only answer I have been able to give them: "Try again". It has been frustrating for them in particular, but also for me because I have not been able to do anything else. But NOW it's finally happening… In November, the US finally opens for the fully vaccinated and that means they can finally get going.
We have received many new candidates from various countries, the Philippines, Nepal, South America and Kenya among others. And it is always great to talk to the girls, who are just ready for adventure and travel and become part of the families in Denmark, Norway and Sweden that we primarily have families in. They are full of courage and have prepared and either know someone or have read about being an au pair. Several express that they are a little frustrated that there are so many families right now who do not want to give au pairs who are in their home countries the chance. And I can actually understand that. It also amazes me. Maybe it's easier that they've tried it before. Yes, but is it the right candidate? Is the chemistry optimal? Or maybe you compromised a bit because the au pair was here before? And who says that because you come directly from the Philippines or Kenya, you can not figure out how to clean in advance? That is why I would like to strike a blow so that one does not only look at candidates who are in Europe. I would like to encourage you to be open and investigate what the different candidates that you are introduced have to offer. Are they sweet and easy to talk to? Do they have humor and go for courage and have an interest in the family? That's the most important thing I think. And then they can probably learn to operate a dishwasher. There is also someone who must give these girls in their home country a chance. And fortunately we have families who want that. If one does not have a good chemistry and the dialogue is natural and there is a reciprocity in the family for each other. Yes, what makes it so she can empty the dishwasher? This is not to say that all those who want to be an au pair in Denmark should not also have a chance. So should they. What I mean is that everyone should have a fair chance and one should look more at person AND qualifications. Sometimes I get inquiries from families who have requirements like these for an au pair: She must be in Europe in advance, she must have au pair experience, she must be +25 and have a driver's license and first aid course and used to 3 children and 2 dogs . The more requirements you have, the more narrow the field of candidates. But there are a lot of cute girls who really want to, and as it is my hope you will be open to and give a chance.
During the summer, Aupairagent.dk became a member of IAPA. It is the International Au Pair Association- An international association of au pair agencies globally. And we are really happy to be a member of that. This is because it allows us to expand the collaboration and the network further. Before this membership we had approx. 30 other au pair agencies we collaborated with. Now we have 150. So it gives both the opportunity to look at other nationalities for the families but also to send the Danish au pairs under other skies. So if you as a family have a wish for a candidate from a country like you ex. Have visited or lived in, or you as an au pair have a desire for something specific, well then we do everything we can to help and fulfill this desire.
We learn every day and strive to further develop and optimize so that the requirements for the candidates are increased. And we try to make it as easy for the families as possible to apply for an au pair. That is the most important task. We know that everyday life is busy and therefore it should not be the au pair application process that fills. We'll take care of that. I have allied myself further with Nerry -My colleague in the Philippines and it is great that she can take care of authorities and investigate things where she is. Before Covid, she has also been in charge of our introductory courses and we hope to be able to resume them soon. It is a requirement now that our graduates have the course before departure. 3 hours where they are trained in "basics" in their own language, with videos and a handbook they can keep. Then we have at least made ours so that they know a little about what awaits them in the new family. SO we are constantly doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible at all. And there is nothing more beautiful than when a new family says they have been recommended to us by another family. Nice… We are both grateful and proud of that.
Now autumn has crept in. The rain and wind are shaking the last brown leaves of the trees and before we know it, this year is over. How the situation is in relation to the (hopefully last) Corona, we do not know. But so far it has been fairly painless to get au pairs both at the Embassies around and also get them to Denmark when they are approved. So, of course, we hope to continue. For the last year and a half, we have adapted to what was possible and what was not, and we will continue to do so. But as an IAPA member, there are now also a lot of agencies to get good candidates from, but who not least also stay up to date on what can be done, and then we act on that basis.
Remember that you can always write an email or call us if you have questions. Our info is on the contact page.
And then we would like to show our fine membership certificate: 0)
A new year, new opportunities and new paths await.18. January 2021
2021 has arrived, and thus unfortunately also new challenges in relation to Covid- 19 in Denmark. We had hoped, that we were completely done with challenges around this. But we must try to keep the subject out as much as we can, and focus on the positive.
But first a look back at the year that has passed. Despite the fact that 2020 created a number of challenges for au pairs who had to enter and leave the country, we look back on the year with satisfaction. All au pairs who had applied to become an au pair in Denmark has arrived. In addition, we have also sent several Danish au pairs out into the world. Australia and the United States are continuously closed down for entry, and remain closed down. So far until April 1st -2021. Right now, we are waiting for Joe Biden to pull on his working clothes and hopefully lift the entry ban. But we have sent Danish au pairs to France, Italy, Spain, England, Scotland and Ireland, and the girls are nice to write and share their experiences. It is a huge privilege to be allowed, in collaboration with the agencies we work with, to match families and Danish au pairs, and contribute to their experiences for life.
In 2020, we rounded over 20 agencies that we work with globally. It gives us great opportunities to help both families and au pairs in a broader perspective, but also the opportunity to draw on competencies and networks.
In 2021, we will continue unabated and move on as good as we can. We believe that the year, despite the C **…. (Beep beep) challenges will be positive. With the prospect that most of us want to be vaccinated, and that we can thus "open up" to the world again. We are currently having problems getting au pairs into Denmark due to the closure. When we were shut down last March, it was still possible to get au pairs in as au pairs had a recognizable purpose. They do not have this option right now until February 7th. unless they have a residence permit. We do not understand this, as the purpose in relation to last year is still the same. We believe that it should be possible to enter on the same terms as others. If you can present a negative Covid test, and test again on arrival and subsequently can isolate yourself for the recommended period, we see no reason why au pairs can not enter. We have sent e-mails to both the Minister of Integration and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and explained the problem.
Brexit is currently creating challenges for the au pairs, who want to go to the UK. There is not yet a concrete solution in the au pair area, and therefore it is not possible right now, to apply as an au pair in England. We know, that many organisations work hard on a solution, and we try to keep us updated with the agencies we corporate with in both England and Scotland. Our hope is, that there is a solution during the spring, so we can send au pairs off this summer. There are many families who desperately need help in their everyday life (not only in the UK, but also in Scandinavia) and with lockdown, online teaching, homework and young children at home, there is a pressure on the families. So a solution is badly needed soon. If you want to sign the complaint, you can do it here.
This year we also got in touch with a blogger Nikoline who wants to share her story with us from when she was an au pair. We are very much looking forward to that. It will primarily be to future au pairs who receive our newsletter as we benefit from Nikoline's stories. So do not hesitate to sign up for our newsletter which we send once a month approx. And you can also follow Nikoline's website https://bidtaffrankrig.dk
A new year, new opportunities and new paths await. We are always ready with help to match families and au pairs in Europe. Each family and au pair is unique, and requires a personal and safe process. Our goal is to guide families and au pairs into things step by step in the process. You have to do as little as possible yourself. We want to help both parties create an experience of a lifetime, and finally do not hesitate to contact us here if you need help.
Do you need more experience working with kids?10. December 2020
We have received a request from Babysits.se which helps Swedish families to find babysitters and publishes jobs for babysitters. One of the most important parameters when you have to be an au pair is that you have experience of childcare. So that's why it's a good idea to get a job as a babysitter. See Babysits.se
To become an au pair, you need to be well prepared and have enough experience working with children! There are many different ways to increase your knowledge about working with kids. Read our 7 tips on how you can get more experience working with children!
Do you have a little brother or a little sister that you often look after? Do your parents put you in charge when they leave the house? Taking care of your own siblings is a great way to learn more about child care and how to handle different situations.
2. Extended Family
Besides your siblings, you could also try babysitting your cousins, nieces, nephews, and other young family members. Since your family members already know you, they will feel more secure having you be their babysitter. If it is your first time babysitting, it could also be a big relief that the children already know you (and hopefully like you).
3. Babysitter via Babysits.se
A great way to prepare yourself for an au pair trip, is to first work as a babysitter in your home country. It’s beneficial to have lots of experience with children before becoming an au pair, so that you don’t end up in an unusual or uncomfortable situation in a foreign country. Taking care of children who aren’t in your family, shows that you are able to adapt to different environments and personalities. On Babysits.se you can create a free babysitting profile and easily find parents in your area who need a sitter! Click here to create your babysitting account!
Have you ever been a coach? This is a great way to work with kids, while doing something you really enjoy! Think about your hobbies and interests. There are swim teams, dance groups, chess clubs, and all sorts of recreational activities that you can take part in. Make sure to mention your hobbies when you apply to become an au pair. It will be more fun for both you and the host family if you have similar interests!
5. Camp Counselor
There are also many different types of camps! Basketball camp, art camp, wilderness camp, and so forth. Have you ever thought about being a camp counselor? It is a really fun way to get some more experience!
Are you a boy/girl scout? Or have you ever been a boy/girl scout? Then maybe you have helped some of the younger scouts? This is also a great way to get experience working with children!
Working at a daycare, pre-school, or elementary school, are a few of the best ways to learn about caring for children. It may be hard to get a job, however, if you are young and don’t have any formal childcare education. Instead, look into summer-jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities. You can learn a lot from the people working there, and you will get plenty of experience working with different children!
Don’t forget to ask for references at each of the places where you have worked with children!
This article was written by Babysits. Babysits is a babysitting app and website that connects babysitters with families in a safe and secure manner. For more babysitting tips, check out the Babysits blog!
New restrictions25. October 2020
Last Friday, during the press conference with our Prime Minister, we imposed new restrictions in relation to the Corona virus. Fortunately, it can be said that for most industries, it did not mean a new shutdown, but simply increased use of a mouth piece in public areas, as well as more awareness that viruses are still here. Unfortunately, it still creates challenges for several industries, and we are all more or less affected by the restrictions. But lets get up on the horse and find your creativity again. We could handle it in the spring, and we can handle it again. And I think we are up for some different ways to hold, for example, the Christmas lunches this year than before.
So what challenges does it present for the families and au pairs at the moment? This spring, I had a great dialogue with several of the agencies I cooperate with, and one thing is for sure; We are all still working hard to solve what can be solved, and take on the challenges that come. In the spring, it was the case that despite the fact that the borders were closed, that when you had a visa and a recognizable purpose in Denmark, it was possible to enter the country. So far, that's what I still hear is valid. The challenge has been that the Philippine authorities have refused to let the au pairs leave the country. So it has had nothing to do with the Danish authorities. And I would generally like to praise the Danish authorities for being super quick to step in, if there has been a problem that needed to be solved right now. I think it shows, that we are all trying to adapt to the new situation, lift and solve the challenges together.
Mette Frederiksen imposed several restrictions last Friday. But I do not think it is something that creates challenges in terms of applying for an au pair. There is still a three-month processing time for an au pair application, and therefore I do not see any need to hold back from starting the process now.
I have many really good candidates who would like to go to Denmark and Scandinavia as an au pair. Many of them ask if Denmark is closed? So I have a lot of correspondence, and spend a lot of time "getting rid of the rumors". It is clear that the procedure is a little different than it usually is, due to the pandemic. But I think I, together with both au pairs, authorities and families, we get things resolved. We have had a number of au pairs coming up here in the last few months. If there are challenges in the process, it has so far been possible to cope with most of them. That is why we also always make a Power of Attorney for the applications, so that I can handle most things in the process for you.
Many families have also asked how they have had to approach, when they have had to pick up an au pair at the airport compared to Covid-19. And what are the rules? All au pairs must be tested before departure, and of course be able to present a negative test. When they arrive in Denmark, I have recommended to the families that they be tested as soon as possible and then go into isolation until there is a negative answer. Ie. that an au pair is tested twice within a week, ie both in the days before departure and on arrival. I think that is enough. However, if in doubt, I would always recommend contacting the Joint Authority's hotline on + 45 70 20 02 33. Here they can answer any questions regarding Corona virus if in doubt.
The assessment from this is that it is still possible to both apply for an au pair and get an au pair into the country. And it is also possible to get out of the country as an au pair. One must constantly distinguish between being a tourist, and having to live in the country for a longer period of time.
If you have questions about either getting or becoming an au pair, you are always welcome to contact me. I hope that with my network and with the "tools" I have got in my backpack (-not just during the Corona time) I can help both families and au pairs in a safe way, to get the best match and experiences together.
Graduation time & future29. June 2020
These days we see in Denmark all the newly hatched students celebrate that the cap is in house. And this year, most people have probably enjoyed it a lot, because it was not possible to drive a student drive and visit mom and dad. But it succeeded, and it must then be celebrated. Around the corner, a new chapter awaits after the summer holidays for most students. And whether you start out in a new education, have been apprenticed or have taken a sabbatical, summer should be enjoyed first.
There are several who have applied to come abroad as an au pair, and we have had many good placements with families looking forward to inviting a Danish au pair into their family for August / September. For example, we have found a family outside Venice for a Danish girl. And there are several matches on the way in Italy and Spain. There are also some who have already said that they are interested in coming to London later this year. We have also seen an interest in Australia, and right now we are awaiting a decision from the Australian Government regarding the opening of the country for au pairs.
In addition, we also have locations in the United States. And here's the challenge right now that President Trump and the US government have suspended the au pair scheme until New Year's. However, at 30-60 day intervals they will go in and actively look for more openings. But, as has been the case in Denmark, it is about managing the infection pressure.
Of course, it is frustrating not being able to get all the placements through from here, as we know that both families and au pairs are very excited to meet. But when I talk to the agencies I work with, they are all both confident and working on high pressure to do what they can to make everything successful. But that's not all things we can do about it. But we try ... And we have to believe in the projects we put in the lake and try to sail them safely in port. We also do this going forward. And therefore our ambition is that whatever is possible, we do something about now. And all that can be done later, we take care of that whenever possible.
And in the meantime, we must be positive, and rejoice in the adventures that await the au pairs, who can soon pack the suitcase and get off. We hope that they will share their experiences with us and pass them on to other future au pairs.
But before then we and they will enjoy the hat, all the parties and hopefully a nice warm and sunny summer in Denmark.
Corona, isolation, a new everyday life and being grasped...25. May 2020
It's been tough times for the last ten weeks for most people in the world. A completely unreal and inconceivable situation for most people, and the whole family gathered in the home for schooling, babysitting and work. But (-since I live in Denmark, have my agency here, I have to deal with the situation here) the Danes have been super cool, and praised for the handling of virus. Slowly and controlled the society is being opened up again. We must continue to take care of ourselves and each other to avoid a set back. At the same time, it has been impressive to experience how everyone has been "in the same boat", thought solution-oriented and got homeschooling, childcare and career to run in the best way. My own two teen-age children learned both structure and overview in our everyday life. Phrases like "I have a meeting in half an hour on Teams" and "Mette (our prime minister) has a press conference at 13.00" became everyday life. And they saw how mommy was working and running her business form the office. And we met in the kitchen every day for lunch break.
I think we will learn a lot from this period. Among other things, I think we learn that it takes a lot before we become completely paralyzed again, and not quickly are able to think creatively and in opportunities instead of obstacles. Of course, there are things that are out of our hands, no matter how hard we try to solve them. But I also think that we will learn to appreciate each other, the family, a huge hug and just enjoy being social. The little things have become more important. Yesterday when I visiting the city center where I live, I got a bit emotional from seeing people sitting in cafées on the streets and alleys, enjoying an ice cream and a cold beer in the sunshine. This is something that most people have missed, and that we have taken for granted.
The day Denmark was locked down, I was at the colleges in Aarhus putting up posters about becoming an au pair abroad. Due to the lock down I had to give up completion in the rest of the country this year. On the other hand, I have an ad in a little book that comes along with all the graduation hats for the future graduating students. This means that it is still possible to go abroad and experience the world as an au pair if you have thoughts of taking a year off if you are a "scandinavian youngster" who finish College now. If you are from other countries abroad and want to come to Scandinavia as au pair you can apply here. And also remember to read the website carefully to answer all you questions before applying. All should be describe there.
Inquiries from families and au pairs are starting to come in again, and it is super nice and just the way it should be. At the same time, I hear from the agencies I work with around the world, that they are confident in terms of border openings within the next month or two. So we believe that it is of course possible to send au pairs as well as get au pairs to Scandinavia as soon as possible. Embassies and Consulates have continued being closed. But the last message is, that most Embassies and Consulates and Public buildings have shorter deadlines now for opening than they have had so far. So at the end of May - early June, we hope they start opening up globally again. So there is still a reason to believe in the dream and the project, whether you want to be an au pair or want an au pair. We will keep you updated on the latest news on the opening of Embassies and Consulates, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc. as much as we can.
There are still things we can do, if you would like to have an au pair or travel abroad as an au pair. The application process itself and finding a family or au pair we can still start up. The actual visit to the embassy is later. But the advantage of using aupairagent.dk is that you have to make as little as possible yourself. We guide families and au pairs throughout the process, and we are available throughout the period you are either au pair or have au pair in the family. So you are never alone.
Right now we are in need of Scandinavian au pairs for Italian families. A "sports crazy" family in Milan wants an au pair for 6 months after the summer holidays. A family near Alba with a girl of 10 years need an au pair as soon as the borders open and 3 months ahead. So, if you or someone you know wants an experience in the Southern Europe, then please do contact us or apply here. You may also contact me and hear more about the specific families. I will post specific "au pair jobs" on Facebook, Instagram and in the Newsletters in the future. So there are several opportunities to stay up to date on these on social media. Sign up for the newsletter on the website either as a family or au pair. Right now there is a "Freebie" where you get 4 emails with good advice to either become au pair or get au pair. And good advice we can all use once in a while. And don't worry…. I don't spam you or write anything long and outrageous ... And if you have any questions about anything specific, you are always welcome to call or write to us. You can do that right here.