Au Pair experiences tend to be once in a lifetime. We find that these positions are often incredibly beneficial for both the Au Pair and for their host family.
If you are wondering what this role actually entails, though, then allow us to clear things up. An Au Pair is usually a young adult – often between the ages of 18 and 30 – who lives with a host family while taking care of their children. This arrangement is often in exchange for accommodation, meals and a weekly allowance, depending on the individual circumstances.
Specialising in facilitating Au Pair Australia experiences, Juggle Street is a wonderful tool to use when you are ready to start your own search for Au Pair jobs in Australia. But, before you do, it is important to be armed with all of the information about what you can do to make the most of your new position and your time working abroad.
1. Choose your host family wisely
A good relationship with your host family will make or break your Au Pair Australia experience. So it is important to be a little bit selective. When searching for jobs and reading host family profiles, look for shared values wherever possible. And then, throughout the interview process, it is a good idea to interview your host family just as much as they are interviewing you. Take your time with it and don’t rush the process.
2. Understand your new role
Understanding your role as an Au Pair is one of the best ways to make the most of your job. Know what is required of you (and also what is not), so that you can immerse yourself fully in the new position with confidence. Also understand what your daily and weekly schedule looks like, so that you can organise some personal time and activities for yourself during your down time.
3. Communicate openly with your hosts
Both before you start your new job and throughout, it is important to communicate openly and honestly with your new hosts. If you are dissatisfied with anything about your position or conditions, it is a good idea to speak up. And if you are unsure about how to do something, then don’t be afraid to ask for help. This will improve your relationships and help to avoid any discomfort or miscommunications along the way.
4. Be patient and willing to learn
Working with children and adapting to a new home environment may take a little bit of time to get used to. But patience is a virtue here. So try to be patient with it, as you settle into your new role and surroundings. Take a deep breath when needed and communicate openly with your hosts where possible. If you stay patient and willing to learn as you go, then and you should find that the transition period will be much easier all around.
5. Explore your local surrounds
Au Pair Australia experiences are unlike those anywhere else in the world. Which means that your time abroad is a wonderful opportunity to explore your local surrounds, making the most of this nation’s picturesque beaches, outback, and bush hiking trails. When you have some time off from your carer’s duties, try to plan day trips or weekends away, to explore what you can of Australia.
6. Immerse yourself in the Australian culture
As well as exploring different parts of Australia that are close by to your host’s accommodation, you might also like to take this opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant Australian culture. Ask your host family about their favourite local customs and activities. Enjoy local specialty foods and learn what you can about the history of the country in which you are living abroad.
7. Brush up on your language skills
If English is not your first language, then you can use your time working as an Au Pair nanny to brush up on your language skills. Translation books and apps like Rosetta Stone are great to have on-hand, but spending time with your host family and other locals will be the best (and fastest) way to improve your language skills on a practical day to day basis. Trust yourself and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way.
8. Make as many friends as possible
With any luck, your host family will turn out to become great lifelong friends that you can stay in contact with, long after your Au Pair job is over. But this time is also a great opportunity to make lasting friends outside of the family. Whether you meet down at the local pub, or when taking part in neighbourhood sports or other activities, the friendships you make during your year abroad are likely to be unforgettable ones.
9. Always be professional
It is important to remember that your new home is also your place of work. So, as much as you need some personal space and relaxation time each day, it also pays to foster a spirit of mutual respect in and around the house. Try to keep your space clean and tidy, for example, be punctual when it is time to get to work, and find little ways to be helpful around the house, even without being asked.
10. Keep an open mind
Finally, it is always a good idea to keep an open mind in your new role as Au Pair nanny. Getting used to the job and adjusting to the dynamics in the household can seem like a lot to take in at first. But if you approach the position with an open mind and a willingness to learn as you go, then this will really help you to make the most of your time living and working overseas.
Juggle Street specialises in facilitating Au Pair Australia experiences between carers and host families.