Tag Archives: BC

What Is An Au Pair?

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Source: http://www.smartaupairs.com/aupair/tips.aspx

Almost all of us can recall a time during our childhood where our parents hired a babysitter or nanny to come watch us and our siblings for the evening while they enjoyed an evening out.

Many of us even worked as babysitters or nannies back in high school, eager to make some quick cash and find some sort of independence while we still lived under our parents’ roof and abided by their rules.

But how many of us here in North America had the opportunity to be an au pair while growing up?

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Source: http://www.antlerlanguages.co.uk/au-pair/

Some of us, including myself, hadn’t even heard the term au pair, until we had the chance to travel or study abroad and familiarize ourselves with other cultures. Having worked as a babysitter and nanny for a number of families for almost ten years, I know for myself that I would’ve been exceedingly interested in being an au pair if I had had the chance either between high school and university, or after my postsecondary studies altogether.

Being an au pair is a unique opportunity to gain not only experience in childcare, but also to immerse oneself in another culture and, in many cases, become a part of a family. So how do you become an au pair?

To become an au pair, there are a series of qualifications you need to have. An au pair typically:

  1. Is between 18-30 years of age (though the majority are between 18 and 21).
  2. Has a high school education (or higher).
  3. Has some experience in childcare (typically as a babysitter or as a volunteer in an early childhood setting such as daycare or preschool).
  4. Has a valid driver’s license (though this is not always necessary).
  5. Is interested in both childcare and cultural exchange.

Our research shows that the majority of those who choose to work as an au pair do so as a gap year, either between high school and university, or during their university studies, not unlike those university students who choose to do a semester abroad during their university studies.

Both studying abroad and being an au pair are incredibly valuable experiences to have as a young adult, yet it is only in the past couple of decades that young people are choosing to be an au pair for a year either instead of or in addition to studying abroad.

Young mother on a swing with baby

So why should I consider hiring an au pair?

It has become increasingly difficult to find suitable caregivers for children these days, due in part to the financial burden it can pose upon a family, but also to the somewhat daunting challenge of finding a kindred individual whose personality meshes with your family’s.

This is where we come in.

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One of the services we provide here at International Nannies & Homecare Ltd. is a comprehensive au pair placement program.

Our placement coordinators work with families all across Canada and match them with a carefully-screened au pair candidate from different countries around the globe. We get to know your family and assess your childcare needs, and then proceed to match you with one of the dozens of au pairs whose applications we continue to receive every day, especially during our peak time, June to September.

We take on the often burdensome task of finding a suitable caregiver (in this case, that of an au pair) so that you can spend more time with your family.

Parents giving piggyback ride to children

So why might an au pair rather than a nanny be more preferable for a given family?

  1. Because an au pair can work anywhere from 20 to 44 hours and is paid at minimum wage (province-dependent), having an au pair can be cheaper than having a nanny.
  2. There is significantly less paperwork involved in contracting an overseas au pair than there is for a nanny, which allows for au pairs to be processed by us and other agencies within 3 to 16 weeks as opposed to 7 to 9 months.
  3. An au pair is more likely to be interested in more than just childcare: they are interested in a cultural exchange, that of their native culture and that of their host family’s.

Is an au pair the right option for my family?

For more information, please check out our website http://www.internationalnannies.com or give us a call at  1.800.820.8308.

 

My Dream Is Coming True: Jule as an Au Pair in Whistler, BC

I decided to be an Au Pair pretty early. I love being with kids and wanted to explore the world after I passed my A-Levels. Why not going to Canada as an Au Pair? After almost a year of preparation, a lot of paper work, waiting, skype calls, up and downs I finally got my lovely host family. The family consists of 4: my host mom Lesley; my host dad Matthew; Sedona (4) and Alex (2).Julia Whister

My adventure started in August 2015. Saying goodbye to my family and friends was really tough for me, that is why I was incredibly glad that I wasn’t alone during the flight. Myself and 9 other girls were flying together from Germany to Vancouver, Canada. All of us were really excited as we left our families and friends behind to live in a new country, with another language, without knowing anybody and 9 hours time difference. It was a completely new world to us. We stayed 3 days in Vancouver and had our orientation-days there. We got a lot of information, a tour through Vancouver and had time to explore this awesome city on our own. To do that we rented bikes and had a ride through the wonderful Stanley Park. The girls who had been strangers two days before were turning into friends really fast.
The “day of the days” was coming and we should meet our families. Because I’m an Au Pair in Whistler my family picked me up at the hotel. I was so glad about not having another flight like most of the other girls. Instead of flying to the other side of Canada I was waiting in front of the hotel and got incredibly nervous. The moment I met my host mom and the kids in real life for the first time all of it was gone. I felt so welcome from the first second we met. This feeling shouldn’t leave.

Julia PumpkinsThe first weeks were really special. Lesley is a teacher, but she wasn’t at school for the beginning of my time. We had a lot of time for exploring Whistler, figuring out where everything is and most important of all we had time to get to know each other. Especially for the relationship between myself and the kids this time was awesome. Since Lesley is back at school the kids and I go to the library, playgroup, parks, riding our bikes, go to the playground, play in the snow etc. We do every possible activity, enjoy every day and share awesome experiences. Every day is a great adventure and it is never getting boring with my little ones. Because I’m all day long with the kids we’re pretty close. It’s breathtaking that I got the possibility  helping them to explore the world, seeing how they develop every day, learn new words or riding their bikes-being part of their life. I’ll never forget all the awesome moments like the first hug, the first kiss or the first ‘Jule I love you’. After 2,5 months here I went with two friends on our first trip to Vancouver. We stayed there for 3 days and had a lot of fun. The moment I was coming back home the kids were getting totally crazy because they were so happy that I’m back again. I got a lot of hugs and Sedona made some ‘Welcome Back Cards’. They missed me and the moment I realized this these two little kids made me almost cry.

 

I didn’t only fall in love with my family, I fell in love with Whistler, too. It’s breathtaking every day.

Where else is everybody totally excited about the ski opening and just talking about it all day long since beginning of October? Where else is one of the first questions ‘are you a skier or Julia Familyboarder’? Where else you could get out of the bus with two kids and stay totally calm if you see a bear on the other side of the road?  – just here in Whistler.

This was the perfect choice for me and I never rued or will rue it. I found a new family, new friends and a second home. I’m glad that I got this possibility and I will never forget this fabulous time. I’m looking forward spending the next 7 months here and I’m so excited what time will bring.

Thanks to my family and my Canadian family, my great German agency AIFS  and the Canadian agency International Nannies for supporting me, giving me this chance and answering all my questions every time.

If you’re interested in becoming an Au Pair, take your chance, register and spend the best year of your life abroad. Don’t miss this chance!

Cheers, Jule