“We are thrilled to offer you the position to become our Au Pair next year. We look forward to your reply and welcoming you to our family in the New Year”
In May of 2016, I reached out to EazyCity Go Abroad in regards to their Au Pair programme. With the support and guidance from the EazyCity team, I completed and then submitted my application to InterExchange in October 2016. Within a matter of weeks, I had met and matched with my Host Family.
On 6th November 2016, I was offered my position to come and work with my new family in North Carolina. I was really excited because when I first spoke with the Host Family, I knew then that I wanted to be their Au Pair. The family have 3 children, 2 boys aged 16 and 10 years old and a girl aged 13 years old.
After my offer, I had roughly 7 weeks before I was due to arrive in the USA. During this time, myself and my host mother stayed in contact. We sent messages, emails and a few photos back and forth. This made me feel comfortable as I was building a relationship with the family before arriving.
My host family have been using InterErexchange for the past 10 years when their youngest boy was born. They have hosted Au Pairs from Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Columbia and now Ireland.
And now 4 months in, I feel very settled and part of the family. Thank you to my host parents who have taken the time to help me with this post and answered my interview questions 🙂
How was your first experience with your first Au Pair?
Our first experience was right on point with what we expected. We had just had our third child and we were now outnumbered. We welcomed Michelle into our home and family for 1.5 years and she was extremely loving and nurturing to our young family and was a joy to have around as a family member. She made friends quickly, attended English classes (as she had limited English upon arriving, we used Spanish as a bridge language in the beginning) and she volunteered in the local Catholic Church to assist with Sunday school.
What qualities are you looking for in an Au Pair?
We look for someone that comes from a nurturing, supportive and loving family, is independent and confident, is organized and detail oriented, was a good student (to help with school work), and raised with values similar to our family to ensure an easy transition and consistency with expectations we have for our children.
What are the main deciding factors when offering a position to an Au Pair?
Ultimately, I’m looking for someone I think will fit in with our family and be a good role model and lifelong friend to the children.
What makes a candidate stand out from other possible candidates?
Their video, essay and references are all important data points to help screen candidates. Then I email situational questions for them to answer before we set up two different interviews by Skype. One just me and one with the children and my husband. The questions help me get a better understanding of how they would handle difficult situations encountered with children our ages. It also gives them a chance to ask me more complex questions if their language skills are limited on Skype.
How long does it take you to choose?
2 – 3 weeks.
After all these years, is it easier for you to choose?
Yes – I have a system I’ve developed and it works quite well. We’ve never had an Au Pair leave early. They have all been great fits.
What advice would you give an Au Pair prior to an interview with their potential host family?
Have a list of questions ready to ask them. Ask about restrictions, expectations, issues they may have had in the past with childcare providers, how they like to communicate, what level of autonomy they will provide to the Au Pair. Be ready to share honestly what you expect to get out of this experience and your own preferred style of communication or conflict management and how much time you expect to spend with the family outside of work hours. You need to find the right fit and not every family will be that so it’s important to be honest and share your expectations as much as they share theirs.
Before arriving in North Carolina, I was full of mixed emotions. I was incredibly excited but somewhat overwhelmed. What advice would you give to an Au Pair as they meet their family for the first time?
Try to remember this is an adventure – be open to new ideas and experiences and that all new relationships take time, so be patient. Be observant and ask lots of questions as you meet your family that first weekend and get settled. Don’t be shy to ask for a ride to go shopping and participate in activities so you can familiarise yourself with your new neighbourhood and the family routine.
Now its time to see what the kids have to say. I got a chance to sit down with my host kids – Host Kid 1 (13 years old) and Host Kid 2 (10 years old) one afternoon during Easter Break. We had a ‘mini-interview’ and here are their answers.
How does it feel having someone new living with you?
2 – I don’t really notice. It feels like I have known them for a really long time. I sometimes feel a bit curious because I want to know who they are.
1- It feels normal because we have had so many Au Pairs before.
What do you think makes a good Au Pair?
2 -Someone who likes to drive and take me to my activities. When they enjoy the same things that I enjoy and they have to be happy!
1 – Nice, helpful, good with kids. Can adapt easily and is comfortable but they can still discipline.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an Au Pair?
2- Just have FUN.
1- Be prepared for the craziness, feeling a little homesick but most of all, having a good time!
You can keep up to date with what I’m doing and where I’m going on my Instagram account – beccawhi