Category Archives: Au Pair

Where to Au Pair – Waterloo Ontario!

The City of Waterloo is located in the heart of Canada’s Technology Triangle, in the Region of Waterloo. The quality of life is enhanced by arts, culture and heritage scenes, recreation opportunities, parks and trails, facilities, programs, services and more. Waterloo is a great place to live, work, learn and play.

It’s ready made for outside living

There are more than 3,000 acres of parks and six conservation areas. Explore this beautiful location by hiking a new trail each week, taking a scenic walking tour, or taking the kids for a picnic in the park! With amenities such as leash free dog areas, skate-parks and the world’s best maintained waterway: The Grand River, Waterloo makes it easy for those with a love of the great outdoors to have a good time!

The Grand River: Waterloo Ontario

The Grand River: Waterloo Ontario

The area offers urban and country living

“Our neighbourhoods are a reflection of who we are. We walk on our neighbourhood streets, we shovel our snow and we plant our gardens. This is where we live, and this is where things happen at a grassroots level.”

Waterloo residents take pride in where they live and there are many programs in place to care for the suburban nighbourhoods – old and new, ensuring they are well maintained and a beautiful place to be. The area sports three urban core locations: Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo. Get the best of both worlds with the activity and bustle of city life, and rural country settings only minutes from town.

World-class education and Activities

The area is home to three top universities – University of Waterloo, University of Guelph and Wilfrid Laurier University – and one of Ontario’s premier colleges – Conestoga College. With fifty-thousand students attending annually there are opportunities in abundance to meet people and make new friends. Take part in a group or club and find those that share your interests! Or try something completely new! Waterloo offers activities ranging from Cycling to Embroidery and everything in between. With an easy to use online directory on the city’s website, you’ll have no trouble joining in!

 

Cultural festivals and creative spaces

The region is home to more than 60 arts, culture and heritage festivals and galleries.

Check out the Festival of Lights in the winter months: with over 100, 000 decorative lights, fireworks on opening night, and horse-drawn trolley rides through the park.

Explore The Royal Medieval Faire on September 16th An interactive day consisting of vendors, hands on displays, food and beverages, games, celtic music, magic, swordplay, authentic costumes and decoration, plus much more.

During the months of July and August catch a movie in the park! Check out what movies are playing and arrange a date for your host family to join you! Spread a blanket or pull up a lawn chair and enjoy a film projected onto a giant inflatable screen – entry by monetary or non-perishable food donation to the foodbank.

Watch with baited breath in May – September as each month different artists battle head to head, showcasing their talent in a masterful duel and compete in categories such as fort building, synthesizing, and obstacle course running.

 

The Medieval Faire 2016The Medieval Faire 2016

There’s a lot to explore in the Waterloo Region, from vibrant neighbourhoods to quaint villages and lively urban centres. It is a place that strives to combine the excitement of new experiences with the peaceful beauty of nature and home. Waterloo has that small town feel with an impressive collection of amenities usually found in large urban cities. It’s a fantastic location to learn about and experience Canada – you don’t want to miss it!

Where to Au Pair: Au Pair in Kelowna, BC

If you’re considering being an Au Pair in Canada then moving to the Kelowna region will be a great adventure! You will love to live in a friendly, cosmopolitan city which offers plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors, simply continue reading to discover 5 reasons why you should seriously consider moving to Kelowna.

Kelowna boasts a world class ski resort 

Kelowna is home to the Big White Ski Resort, which boasts 118 unique trails. So, whether you’ve been skiing or your life or are keen to learn how to ski or snow board, you’ll be sure to find plenty of trails which suit your level of experience. If you’re a newbie make sure to take advantage of Big White Ski Resort’s ski school, which offers invaluable lessons from highly qualified ski instructors. 

As an Au Pair living in the Kelowna area, it’s well worth purchasing a season pass, which boasts unbeatable value for money and will allow you to hit the slopes as often as you’d like. As a season pass holder you’ll be about to enjoy free night skiing sessions and will also be able to make use of the resort’s ice skating rink and Nordic trails, free of charge. 

Kelowna boasts a wide variety of word class vineyards 

Kelowna is home to over 20 award winning vineyards, examples of which include Mission Hill Winery, Quails’ Gate Winery, Ancient Hill Winery and Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery. 

So, if you fancy spending your weekends vineyard hopping and wine tasting, you’ll love living in Kelowna. As a bonus, the majority of vineyards, which are in Kelowna, also specialize in offering gourmet café style lunches.

Kelowna backs straight on to the eastern shore of Okanagan Lake

If you’re interested in moving to a picturesque city, it’s well worth considering moving to Kelowna as the central business district looks straight out over Okanagan Lake. In fact, downtown Kelowna is home to two impressive public parks Waterfront Park and City Park. 

Waterfront Park winds around the shore of Okanagan Lake and features a wide boardwalk, a beautifully landscaped garden and a dedicated swimming area as well as a manmade beach. If you have children, they’ll love growing up with Waterfront Park on their doorstep. 

City Park is also incredibly popular with locals and tourists and features a wide boardwalk, which is popular amongst joggers as well as a children’s playground, a skate park and a dedicated picnic area. 

Kelowna offers some of the best beaches in the Okanagan. Young adults will enjoy the busy atmosphere of Gyro Beach, while families with small children may prefer the quieter Rotary Park Beach. If you are looking for lots of facilities, City Park features one of the largest sand beaches in town as well as a picnic area, basketball and tennis court, children’s water park and a skateboarding park. Waterfront Park offers a semi-secluded beach and bird sanctuary for visitors that are looking for a quiet place to relax and enjoy the sunshine and nature.

Kelowna offers individuals an active lifestyle that few cities can match 

If you love nothing more than spending time exploring the great outdoors, you’re guaranteed to fall in love with Kelowna as you’ll be able to spend your free time water-skiing, mountain biking, swimming, skiing and hiking. As Kelowna boasts plenty of mountains, forests and parks, which are just waiting to be explored. Even after a year of living in Kelowna, you’ll still be able to find new hiking trails, that you haven’t explored. 

If you choose to move to Kelowna, it’s well worth joining one of Kelowna’s many recreational clubs. Examples of which include the Kelowna Yacht Club and Hiking Addiction. The latter of which is Kelowna’s official hiking club. After all, there’s no better way to settle in to a new city, than to make new friends who share your passion for adventure. 

Kelowna’s restaurants and cafes feature local produce on their menus 

If you’re a fan of fresh food, you’ll enjoy eating out in Kelowna as many of Kelowna’s most popular restaurants make a point of featuring local fare. As an example, Old Vines Restaurant, offers an ever-changing seasonal menu which features vegetables which are grown in Old Vine Restaurant’s on-site garden. As well as locally sourced steak and seafood. 

If you’re looking to grab a quick bite of food on the go, you may also be interested in checking out Okanagan Street Food, which offers fresh seafood tacos. Which are full of locally caught snapper. 

One bonus to living in Kelowna, is that no matter whether you prefer French, Thai, Mexican, Italian or Canadian fare, you’ll be sure to find a restaurant which caters to your tastes. 

Life & Arts Festival

This family orientated festival showcases local talent and the growing cultural district of Kelowna. Enjoy stage and street performances in music, live theater as well as culinary and performing arts. With three stage venues as well as an artisan market, this festival offers a little something for everyone.

Kasugai Japanese Garden

Located within a walled enclosure behind City Hall, Kelowna’s Kasugai Japanese Garden is almost completely hidden from the streets. Built to represent the sister-city relationship with Kasugai, this sanctuary provides a relaxing escape from the busy downtown areas of Kelowna during the summer months. The garden itself features a walking path around the perimeter, footbridge, koi fish pond, waterfall and many scenic sitting areas.

Mission Creek Path

Mission Creek Park offers 12 km of average to difficult trails, including Mission Creek which is a famous trail for walking, cycling, and jogging. The path begins at the intersection of Dilworth and Springfield and continues all the way to Lakeshore Road. Dogs are allowed in this park. Enjoy living in Kelowna.

Tours in different locations

Kelowna has no shortage of high-quality places to visit, and there are different places known both for it’s delicious organically grown wine and signature on-site pyramid. Unlike many of the other wineries in the area, it offers free guided tours several times a day followed by a complimentary tasting.

Heritage sites

This heritage site is where the famous missionary ( Pandosy) ministered for the original settlers. Founded in 1860, this site marks an important period in history. Today you can explore the four-acre property, which contains several of the original buildings that have been restored and filled with antiques unique to the area.

Bear Creek Park

Located in West Kelowna, this area offers more than 5 km of well-marked hiking trails, including Bear Creek Canyon Trail. This popular trail makes a loop of the canyon and includes a footbridge over the creek, a sturdy staircase on the side of the mountain and several viewpoints offering spectacular vistas. The park is also home to a 400m sandy beach, playground and summer concession.

 

Reasons to Hire a Nanny or Au Pair Through a Full Service Agency

Au pair and child

Many parents who are considering hiring a nanny or au pair wonder if they should use an agency?

As we’ve discussed at length in a number of blog posts so far this year, the Canadian childcare crisis is very real and even though the new federal budget introduced a series of proposals which would in theory increase the number of childcare spots available as well as make those spots more affordable, it’s unlikely that any changes will go into effect until 2018.

If this is so, what are Canadian families to do?

In consideration of the number of childcare options potentially available to families, the following are some of the reasons why it might be in your family’s best interest to hire a caregiver (such as a nanny or an au pair) through an agency like us.

Family service Halifax

1. Convenience

This is the main reason families come to us: we save you time so that you can spend it with your friends and family.

We handle all the particulars of the Au Pair application and placement process so that you don’t have to. Because trust us: it is no easy job finding the ideal Au Pair or caregiver for a particular family.

Let us bring you the wisdom of our twenty years of experience as a caregiver placement agency and help you find your perfect match.

2. Reliability

The bottom line is this: we only place caregivers and au pairs who have been thoroughly screened by us or one of our partner agencies abroad.

All of our applicants undergo an extensive screening process (including background checks, medical exams, and character references) and all of them have previously verified experience working with children (or the elderly, in the case of our caregiver program).

So, while sites like Craigslist and Canadian Nanny might be the more popular way to find childcare these days, with an agency like us, providing you with a greater peace of mind is part and parcel of our commitment to you.

3. Practicability

Hiring a in home caregiver such as an au pair or nanny can provide you with the quick fix you need if you’re stuck in a jam.

Our au pair placement process can take as little as four weeks! Check out some of the profiles we have available now.

One of the other benefits of hiring an au pair or a nanny through an agency like us is the opportunity for a replacement. It’s not a particularly enjoyable topic of conversation, but unfortunately, not all caregiver placements work out.

This is why we have measures in place to provide you with replacement au pair or nanny, should you need one. It is not often that childcare options provide you with such a reliable backup.

4. Support

An invaluable part of our services includes providing ongoing support to you and your caregiver before and during their placement.

One of the most rewarding parts of our job is keeping up with all of our clients and caregivers by phone and email to make sure everything is going as smoothly as possible and that the line of communication between Employer (family) and Employee (caregiver) is always open.

To put it simply: we are here for you, your family and your caregiver.

These are all of the things that we, a longstanding caregiver placement agency, can offer you when it comes to reliable, affordable childcare.

Give us a call today to find out more: 1 (800) 820 8308.

Canada Wide Coordinators for Personal Service

Where to Au Pair: Halifax

Halifax CitadelThis week’s edition of our ‘Where to Au Pair’ series will take us to Nova Scotia, one of the three provinces in eastern Canada known collectively as the Maritimes.

What the Maritimes may lack in city size and population when compared with their ‘big sister’ provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario, as this article explains, they make up for in stunning natural beauty.

Let’s zoom in on Halifax, Nova Scotia’s capital, and find out why it might be a great location for your future au pair placement in Canada!

Halifax Waterfront1. Proximity to the water

If you are used to living by the water, or have never had the chance to do so, Halifax boasts one of the most impressive waterfront walks in Canada.

While a Google Image search alone doesn’t even begin to do it justice, Halifax’s waterfront consistently ranks at the top of everyone’s list as one of the top things to do in the whole of Nova Scotia.

Halifax Public Gardens2. Public parks

Right in the heart of Halifax lies the famous Halifax Public Gardens, purportedly one of the finest examples of a Victorian Garden in North America.

Talk about a perfect place to stroll with your au pair kids or on your own to find a quiet escape from the bustle of the city!

Halifax Beaches

3. Access to beaches

You guessed it, proximity to water means proximity to beaches.

According to the article aptly titled ’25 things about the Maritimes that make the rest of Canada jealous,’ you are never more than an hour away from a glorious, saltwater beach.

Talk about some picture-perfect, Instagram-worthy views, too.

Halifax Festivals

4. Arts and culture events

The list of arts and culture events (from music and food festivals, to fundraising events and pride parades) is jaw-droppingly long for a capital city in such a small province, which leads us to hypothesize that there would never be shortage of fun and exciting things to do during your au pair placement!

Family service Halifax

5. High quality of life

The quality of life in Halifax is unsurprisingly high, as any Halifax local (‘Haligonian’) can attest to.

And frankly, how could it not be, given its idyllic location, its thriving arts and culture scene, its enviable of manicured public parks and heritage buildings hearkening a not so distant past, and the unbeatable access it provides to the rest of the naturally beautiful province and the Maritimes as a whole.

I don’t know about you, but as a Canadian, but I’d be hard-pressed to think of a location in Canada I want to visit more than Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the rest of the insatiable Maritime provinces.

Many thanks to the following useful articles and webpages:

Visit Halifax

Destination Halifax

TheLoop.ca

Find A Summer Au Pair Now

Family  picnicking together

Can you believe it? Summer is only a couple of months away!

The last day of school for most Canadian children falls sometime in June, which begs the question: have you found childcare for the summer yet?

Given that childcare in Canada is still considered to be in a state of crisis, it can be extremely difficult for Canadian families to find both affordable and reliable childcare, especially for the summer months.

So what can you and your family do to avoid being childcare-less come the day school lets out?

You can start by planning ahead.

woman reading to girl

The following are some suggestions for getting a leg up in your search for summer childcare:

1. Do your research.

Know your options, research those options, and perform due diligence.

Ask yourself questions like: will my child be safe in this environment? Will my child be happy in this environment?

2. Weigh the costs.

Can I afford sending my child to this daycare or summer camp facility? Will I be able to transport my child to and from this facility easily?

Does this facility offer enough daily coverage (in terms of hours of operation)? Will I be able to drop them off and pick them off on time without it interfering with my work schedule?

3. Talk to other parents.

The best way to find out about the qualifications or reliability of a childcare facility is by asking people whose children, or whose friends’ children, have already experienced it.

Facebook and other social media sites are great resources for this.

Host Family App jpg

4. Start the application process as soon as possible.

There is a good chance that many daycare or summer activity camps are already at capacity.

We’ve discussed this before, and we’ll reiterate it again: there is a bona fide childcare crisis in Canada, and unfortunately it seems like not even the new budget will make much of an improvement, or at least not until 2018 at the earliest.

However, there may yet be a saving grace for you.

Traveling WomanOne of the services we offer is the placement of au pairs (from either Germany, Australia, New Zealand, or Austria) with Canadian families.

An au pair is typically a young woman between the ages of 18 and 30 who comes to Canada on a Working Holiday Visa in order to live with a host family and take care of their children between 25-40 hours per week.

The best part about hiring an au pair is that they are flexible; as they are live-in (unlike nannies, who are either live-in or live-out), it is easy for them to adjust to your schedule and act as a reliable third parent on your parenting team.

Plus, the relationship they will cultivate with you and your family over the course of their placement will become like that of an extended family member, an older sibling for your children to play and spend time with.

International Nannies currently has only a handful of profiles of au pair applicants who are available to come to Canada, but we are confident we will be receiving many more in weeks leading up to summer.

All you have to do to start the process of hiring an au pair is by filling out our Host Family Application (pictured above), which will allow our team to get a better sense of your family’s unique childcare needs for the summer.

Interested? Give us a call today at 1.800.820.8308.

Or email our head office at [email protected]

Don’t wait until the last minute!

Where to Au Pair: Saskatoon

SaskatoonThe largest city in Saskatchewan, Canada’s central prairie and boreal province, Saskatoon was founded in 1882 and has been a cultural and economic hub ever since.

A vibrant city with a rich cultural and historic heritage, Lonely Planet ranks Saskatoon as the top place to visit in Saskatchewan, we thought it would be perfect for the next edition in our Where to Au Pair series.

The following are some of the reasons to consider Saskatoon for your au pair placement:

Saskatoon Meewasin Valley

1. Natural diversions

The South Saskatchewan River winds through downtown Saskatchewan, affording its citizenry with easily accessible riverside paths which are perfect for both winter and summer strolls with the family or a midday escape from the bustle of the city.

In the same vein as the natural diversions provided by the river, in the Meewasin Valley there are 60 kilometers of trails popular amongst walkers and cyclists that are lined with picnic areas.

Given the photo above, it shouldn’t be surprising to find out that Meewasin comes from the Cree (First Nations) word for beautiful.

Boomtown

2. History

Neighborhoods like Riverdale and Nutana boast scattered heritage buildings that recall their amalgamation into the rest of the early town of Saskatoon.

Saskatoon also boasts Canada’s longest indoor street, known affectionately as Boomtown (pictured above), a recreation of the town Saskatoon was at the beginning of the 20th century.

This site is part of Saskatchewan’s Western Development Museum, a four-museum network with various locations that recall and display records of the social and economic development within the province.

Saskatoon also has a significant Indigenous population which the city honors in part through the Wanuskewin Heritage Park just northeast of the city centre.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Youth culture

Saskatoon is also home to the University of Saskatchewan, one of the top research universities in Canada and the largest in the province with just under 24,000 students.

Not only that, the median age in Saskatchewan (35.5 years) is four years younger than the rest of Canada, meaning about half of the population is under 35 years old. And given that nearly half of the province’s population resides in Saskatoon, the chance that you as an au pair would be able to connect with people your own age is high.

SK Vibe Music Festival

4. Arts and entertainment

Saskatoon boasts a whopping 65 annual events and festivals that take place year round, even during the sometimes harsh winters!

Tourism Saskatchewan claims that the province’s community spirit is ‘legendary,’ so it’s definitely worth checking out!

For a complete list of things to do and sites to see in Saskatoon, check out their website!

Sources

Tourism Saskatchewan

Tourism Saskatoon

Wikipedia.

 

Where to Au Pair: Ottawa

Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Introducing Canada’s capital city: Ottawa.

Located right on the border between Ontario and Quebec, and about a 1.5 hour drive from the Canada-U.S. border, Ottawa was incorporated into Canada in 1855 and has since become the country’s fourth most populous city and a major political and technological centre.

Ottawa Canal Spring

The home of current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, as well as the famous Rideau Canal (a UNESCO World Heritage Site which, during the winter, becomes the world’s largest skating rink!), Ottawa is a Canadian metropolis you ought not to miss during your au pair placement in Canada!

With the help of Ottawa Tourism, we’ve come up with a list of the top reasons to do your au pair placement in Ottawa. Those reasons are:

Ottawa Canal Winter

1. The Canadian winter experience

From skating on the Rideau Canal and the Rink of Dreams, to skiing and mountain-biking at Camp Fortune, cross-country skiing at Gatineau Park in the winter on 200 kilometers’ worth of trails, and to Winterlude, one of the largest celebrations of winter in North America to top it all off, Ottawa is perfect for the winterphile! 

Embrace the cold and get lost out on the slopes or atop frozen-over bodies of water, just like a true Canadian 😉

Ottawa Park

2. The city of green

Ottawa may be a dense capital city with just under a million residents, but it is fortunately laden with dozens of public parks and hundreds of kilometers of walking paths along both the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa River.

The entrance to the aforementioned Gatineau Park is just four kilometers from downtown, making it an easy escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

Ottawa Eco-Odyssee

3. The youth culture

Nearly half of the population of Ottawa is under 35, making it one of the youngest cities in Canada and just the atmosphere a prospective au pair might need as they embark upon what just might be their first time living apart from their families!

Not only that, it has often ranked as the most educated city in the country, boasting five universities and two colleges in total. You’re sure to run into some of Canada’s best and brightest while doing your placement in Ottawa.

To top it off, there are a number of attractions that are fun for the whole family, such as the Eco-Odyssee Park, which should make it that much easier to keep your host siblings entertained!

Montreal

4. The international crossroads

For those of you who are eager to take advantage of your time in Canada to travel, Ottawa is the perfect home-base for you.

Montreal, Quebec’s largest city, is an easy two hour transit to the east, if you’re feeling like you need some authentic poutine on your day off, while Toronto is about five hours to the west, if you feel like catching a Toronto Raptors game on your first weekend off-duty!

For a more international weekend (if not, for an extended vacation!) consider New York City or Boston, both just under a 1.5 hour flight away and culturally-rich American metropolitan centres.

Ottawa Senators5. The Canadian experience

There are so many things about Ottawa that make it such a quintessentially Canadian city.

Firstly, it is bilingual, which is not at all surprising given that it is right on the Quebec border.

Secondly, Ottawans are proud to be the home of the Ottawa Senators, a professional ice hockey team that has qualified for 15 of the last 19 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Let’s face it, can you really call yourself a true Canadian if hockey isn’t a sport you love?

Ottawa Parliament Hill

Lastly, but certainly not least, Ottawa boasts a plethora of cultural attractions that are bound to make you feel a sense of Canadian pride: the Parliament of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, and 24 Sussex Drive (yes, that’s where Justin and Sophie live!).

So, if you chose Canada as the country you want to become an au pair in because you want to immerse yourself in Canadian culture, it doesn’t get more Canadian than Ottawa!

Where to Au Pair: Fort McMurray

 

Alberta License Plate

To continue with our Where to Au Pair in Canada” series, we’re going to take you beyond British Columbia (where our head office is located) and into the vast and ecologically-diverse province of Alberta, affectionately known as the Princess Province or Wild Rose Country.

While the most well-known cities include Calgary (the site of the famous Calgary Stampede, or the ‘biggest rodeo in the world) and Edmonton (the province’s capital), we thought we’d introduce you to a smaller and lesser-known town which just might provide you with the ultimate, quintessential ‘Canadian experience’ you may be looking for as a prospective au pair.

Fort McMurray

Introducing Fort McMurray,  the gateway to the North.

Most famously known for its status as one of Alberta’s (if not all of Canada’s) greatest oil hubs, Fort McMurray is a generally underrated town that one might be all too quick to dismiss when considering an offer of employment from a Fort McMurray family.

The purpose of this post is to encourage you not to. As we mentioned in the first installment of our Where to Au Pair in Canada series, an important part of your placement as an au pair will be, undeniably, the location where you are living, working, and exploring. It is absolutely important to take it into consideration when you are deciding between multiple employment offers from Canadian families.

This is why we implore you to not pass judgment on a lesser-known city like Fort McMurray until you’ve had the chance to do some researching and investigating for yourself.

Fort McMurray Lake Macdonald

The following are some of the reasons why you should consider doing your au pair placement in Fort McMurray.

Full length of an extended family playing in the park

1. The people.

According to an au pair who is currently doing her placement there:

The people in Fort McMurray are very open. They are used to people from other countries and that’s why they are very friendly and interested in other cultures.

This account reflects what most visitors of Fort McMurray report about the town’s people: they are warm, friendly, open, and incredibly nice people.

Canadians are certainly known for their politeness and friendliness, and the people of Fort McMurray are no exception.

2. The small-town vibe.

There’s a reason the following song lyric is famous: “where everybody knows your name.”

Fort McMurray is one of those places, those tightly-knit communities where everyone knows everyone and everyone has everyone else’s back.

Fort McMurray is also home to a lot of families who are interested in or already have au pairs or other caregivers to help them get by on the day-to-day, making Fort McMurray a very family-oriented town with lots of outlets for caregivers looking to keep the kids in their care happy, healthy, and entertained.

Fort Mc Lake MacDonald (2)

The Hub, as recommended by the Fort McMurray Tourism office, as well as the MacDonald Island Park (pictured above), are two great places for au pairs and their kids to meet other au pairs, children, and their families, as well as have a lot of fun!

Fort McMurray Northern Lights

3. The access to outdoor activities.

From visiting the famous Athabasca Sand Dunes, to exploring and camping in Gregoire Lake Provincial Park, to snowshoeing and almost every type of winter activity in and around the city, Fort McMurray boasts a slew of different activities for your outdoorsy side.

These, among other activities, experiences, and other regional parks and destinations, make Fort McMurray a great place for the au pair who is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys winter, can handle some cold, and is enthusiastic about exploring the depth and breadth of Canadian climate and ecology.

4. The Canadian experience.

Nearby cities of Athabasca and Edmonton would make for great day- or weekend-trips, or, if you have more time before, during, or after your placement, a visit to Banff and Jasper National Parks via Calgary would be an incredible winter vacation!

Want to become an au pair in Fort McMurray, Canada? Contact your local placement agency in your country of residence and perhaps we’ll be working to place you soon 🙂

Thanks to Fort McMurray Tourism for all of their insight and guidance!

Au Pair Do’s and Don’ts

Covered front porch of theold craftsman style home.

Being an au pair is distinct from other babysitting, nannying, or homecare services because of its very nature: you’re not just working for the family, you are living with and sometimes becoming a part of the family.

Depositphotos_33461501_m-2015

As such, there are certain things to keep in mind that could be the difference between your au pair placement being decent or being exemplary.

Ultimately, your placement will be what you make it; that said, it is important to keep in mind that nobody is perfect, and neither your host family nor your agency expects you to be perfect. All anyone expects is that you try your best.

Customer and client sitting at desk or business people talking a

1. DO communicate.

Communication between families and their au pairs is often the most important factor of a placement.

DON’T bombard.

That said, as important as it is to communicate with your host family (who is, lest we forget, your employer), it is also just as important to know when not to come to your family with a problem.

The important thing to remember here is to read the room; there is a chance that the last thing your host mom or dad wants to do when they first come home from work is to have a long-winded discussion about what their child did that day that needs to be addressed, or about that vacation you were hoping to take in a few weeks’ time.

Don’t assume that a given moment is a good time to talk; rather than bombard your host family with any number of questions at any given time during the week, first ask them when would be a good time to have a discussion.

Family  picnicking together

2. DO participate in family activities.

For an au pair, the cultural exchange and family integration are significant factors in their decision to become an au pair in the first place.

The odds are that your family will invite you to participate in family activities, whether that be family dinners or family outings, and it is more than okay to go along with them! This will provide you with the opportunity to get to know your family better and get a better sense of who they are.

DON’T isolate yourself.

As positive as engaging in family activities can be, it is also important to have your own private and social life outside of your family’s home.

It can be rather uncomfortable for a host family when their au pair is always around. It is not that you are not welcome in their house, you do live there after all, but it can be uncomfortable for a family to feel like they’re the ones solely responsible for entertaining you.

Plus, we all want our privacy sometimes, which is why it’s good both for your family and for you if you engage in community or social activities outside the house.

3. DO be flexible.

While we encourage our host families to give their au pair a fixed schedule, it is also important to keep in mind that life happens, especially when it comes to children.

Be aware of this and do your best to adapt to your family’s needs.

DON’T let yourself be taken for granted.

That said, it is the responsibility of your host family to give you advance notice of any changes to the schedule.

Whether this be a sit-down to let you know that your hours on a particular day or week will be different, or a phone call to say they’re running late but will be home soon, you do have the right to ask your host parents to communicate those changes to you and with appropriate notice.

You are allowed to speak up if you feel your host parents aren’t being as communicative as you wish them to be! And if that doesn’t work, that’s what your placement coordinators are here for; never hesitate to contact them!

Cheerful woman using smartphone relaxed on sofa

4. DO keep in touch with your family.

Being homesick during a placement is entirely natural! A good way to combat that is by staying in contact with your family and friends from your home country from time to time.

DON’T be glued to your devices.

This is common sense; we encourage both our nannies and our au pairs to not be on their phones during working hours. A check-in during lunch or during a break? Absolutely.

But in general, it is good practice in any job setting to keep your phone, laptop, and/or tablet away during your work hours and putting your full attention to the task at hand, in this case, caring for and ensuring the safety and happiness of the children.

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5. DO experience Canada.

Take advantage of your time off and go places!

Canada has so much more to offer than you know, and the first step to experiencing it is to get out of the house and go explore your town or city.

Ask your host family for ideas! They’re probably the best reference for what to do in your area since they’ve lived and worked there for an extended period of time.

DON’T forget that you are here first and foremost to work.

Just as you should explore as much as you can, you also must honor your contract with your family; being an au pair is your job and should be your first priority.

As we always emphasize to incoming au pairs, use your common sense. If you get invited to a party that’s starting late on a Wednesday night but you know you start at 6:00 the following morning, you may want to reconsider going.

If you have a weekend off and there’s a chance weather conditions will affect your ability to get home in time for work on Monday? You may need to reconsider.

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6. DO rely on your placement coordinator!

If you have any questions or clarifications about anything whatsoever during your placement, do not hesitate to contact your placement coordinator!

We are here for you. It is part of our job to make sure your placement goes as smoothly as possible.

DON’T rely solely on her.

It is our job to help you and guide you through your placement. That said, part of being a good au pair is to be proactive and use your own judgment to make decisions in a given situation.

You should not need to contact your coordinator for everything that comes up. We advise instead that you rely on your support system as a whole. This includes your host parents, your coordinator, other au pairss in your area, and even your friends and family back home!

You do have what it takes to be an exceptional au pair. You just have to believe in yourself 🙂

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Where to Au Pair: Vancouver

Vancouver

In 2016, Vancouver was ranked first as the city in North America with the highest quality of life. 

And it wasn’t the first time.

For decades now, Vancouver has been accruing international renown for being one of the greatest cities in the world, not only for its high quality of life, but also its ‘liveability,’ not to mention its idyllic setting right on the Burrard Inlet framed by picturesque mountains.

Vancouver Skyline ReflectionOne of the city’s drawbacks, however, is its high cost of living, which has increased steadily over the years as it has become more and more popular as both a tourist destination and a place to live and put down roots.

This is part of the reason why Vancouver is attracting more and more attention from prospective au pairs looking to do a gap year in Canada: working in Vancouver first can make for more affordable and sustainable travel afterwards.

An important part of the au pair experience is, understandably, the location where you will live and work. An au pair placement will not only afford you valuable childcare experience, but also the opportunity for cultural immersion and exchange, which is why the city or town in which you choose to do your placement can have a significant impact on your experience as a whole.

portrait of young beautiful asian woman standing in yellow flowers blooming park summer season and reading a book with happy face emotion

So why else might Vancouver be an ideal place to do your au pair placement?

1. Vancouver boasts impressive natural beauty.

Garibaldi

Vancouver, like the rest of the province of British Columbia, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty.

Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver is one of the biggest and most impressive city parks in the world. Cypress, Seymour, and Grouse mountains, accessible from the municipality of North Vancouver, are an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering numerous hiking trails in the summer and snowshoeing and skiing in the winter.

Vancouver is also only a mere hour and a half from Whistler, BC, where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held and where thousands of Canadians and tourists alike flock during ski season.

So if you’re looking to be an au pair in Canada and you’re a fan of the outdoors, but also interested in the big city life, Vancouver might be the place for you.

2. Vancouver is culturally diverse.

MOA

Founded in 1886, Vancouver has a rich history and culture known in particular for its diversity. The Museum of Anthropology, located at the University of British Columbia campus, is a shining example of some of the cultural diversity Vancouver has to offer, in this case, of its original First Nations inhabitants whose legacy is just as vibrant today.

Vancouver also boasts North America’s second largest Chinatown (after San Francisco), and almost a third of Vancouver residents are Chinese, making them the largest non-English speaking ethnic group. These and other cultural sites are part of what makes Vancouver such a fascinating city, not to mention the mind-boggling extent of its international cuisine that attracts tens of thousands of tourists per year!

3. Vancouver has a wealth of things to do.

Stanley ParkFrom walking or biking the Sea Wall which is the world’s largest uninterrupted waterfront path, to checking out a number night markets which are fun for the whole family to explore (such as the Shipyards Night Market in North Vancouver and the Richmond Night Market in Vancouver’s neighboring city), to relaxing on swaths of beaches downtown and in the Lower Mainland, the list of activities and other things to do in Vancouver is seemingly endless.

4. Vancouver is already an au pair hotspot.

Youth

One of the most difficult things about being an au pair can be meeting new people or other forms of networking. Luckily, for those prospective au pair candidates looking to au pair in Vancouver, there are already a host of families here who have au pairs working for them or who are looking to hire a new au pair.

Don’t be intimidated by the fact that Vancouver is a big city; odds are, should you come here, you’d be able to get in contact with lots of other young people who are undergoing the same experience you are. Having a support system while you’re on your au pair placement can be the difference between a positive and a negative experience, but in cities like Vancouver, meeting people is the least of your worries.

Coal Harbor

Is there another reason why you want to be an au pair in Vancouver? Comment below, we’d love to hear your input!