28. February 2022

Have you considered, why and what it takes to be an au pair?

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.


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