Monthly Archives: October 2017

Managing Expectations








Expectations are what we hope will happen in the future based on our past experiences, what we’ve heard from other people or even what we thought we heard from others. It’s important to communicate your expectations so that you can make them realistic.

Reality vs. Expectations – Expectations and reality are two separate entities. Reflecting on what you want out of your placement and how to achieve that can help narrow the gap between the two. Understanding the differences between them will save you from disappointment.

What are your expectations? – Take some time to write out what your expectations are. Be specific and try to come up with a plan or strategies for meeting those expectations. Remember to include expectations for yourself as well as your Host Family/Au Pair.

Communicate – Sit down with your Au Pair/Host Family at the beginning of your placement and talk about what both parties are hoping to accomplish. Be as honest and open as possible, encouraging the other party to contribute. We recommend having sit-down meetings regularly throughout your placement and making expectations a topic to discuss each time.

Be open-minded – Realize that not all of your expectations will be met, that you will have to make compromises here and there, and that’s okay! Life has the habit of turning out differently than we anticipate or imagined. Be flexible and understanding, take everyone’s expectations into account, and roll with it. Even if your placement is not meeting your dream expectations, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure or a bad match. It just requires a different perspective to enjoy the journey and experience as it is.

For example: if you believe the way things should be done is 4+4 and instead your Au Pair/Host Family does things 2+6, you could focus on the fact that it is not how you know/want it to be, or you could realize that the outcome is still 8.

Often times the only difference between a mediocre placement and a fantastic placement is a good attitude.

How to Say “Common Sense” in 5 Languages






English: common sense

German: gesunder menschenverstand

French: bon sens

Spanish: sentido común

Italian: buon senso

Your common sense is your natural ability to make good judgments and to behave in a practical and sensible way. Common sense is a big part of what makes a match successful. It’s often the little things that make the difference between a happy placement and a rocky one, and taking those small things into consideration will make you a better Au Pair and/or Host Family.

Some helpful tips for good common sense are:

  • Think Before You Act/Speak

Consider all the possible outcomes and make your decision with everyone’s best interests in mind. If you’re expectations are not being met, think about how to find a solution and move forward instead of venting your frustrations.

  • Communication

Often times common sense is inhibited by ignorance. For example: cheese is much cheaper in Germany than in Canada, but if you’ve never purchased cheese in Canada you wouldn’t necessarily know that, and if nobody tells you – you’re unlikely to make the discovery on your own. Au Pairs are here to learn about Canada; host families, this is your opportunity to teach them. If you notice small tidbits are putting strain on your placement, open a dialogue and discuss them. If your Au Pair is putting all of the cheese you got as a special treat on their sandwich, speak up! In contrast, if you’re an Au Pair and you don’t understand why your host family is unhappy that you’re making a cheese sandwich, ask them why! It’s the best way to learn.

  • Understanding

Take the time to look at the situation from the other person’s point of view. If you are able to consider where they are coming from or why they like to do things a certain way, you will be better prepared to make good decisions.

A Closer Look at the Northwest Territories from Lisa O.


My name is Lisa and I am an Au Pair in Canada for ten months.

Since the beginning of my plans I decided that the right family is more important to me than the “right” place. When a family from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, contacted me, of course I wasn’t sure if this was the right place for me. The town is far away from the next town and with its 3000 citizens it is very small. But the impression of the family I got by their letter and by skyping with them gave me the right feeling and I became aware of the chances which I’ve got here: amazing northern lights and my coldest winter ever (-30/-40) are waiting for as well as dog sledding and a whole month without sunlight!

Because of the small population in this town it isn’t anonymous and the people welcome everybody. It’s an experience for a lifetime ‘cause I don’t know if I would ever get the chance to live to see that again. I am here now for about 5 weeks and I feel very good here.

Even though here is no big shopping center or cinema, the town offers many nice things and the community has a very good infrastructure. You can try lots of different sports and the nature and the Dempster Highway are just amazing!

My family consists of Mom Lisa, Dad Abe, Malakai (9), River (7), and Quinn (1). They are all very warm-hearted and open-minded and from the very first day I have felt like a welcomed and valued member of the family. While the boys are in school Quinn and I can visit the library and make crafts there, go swimming, in a music class or in the daycare gym to play soccer, etc. At home I prepare something to eat for him, we bake muffins together and of course we play, draw and sing together. While Quinn takes his nap, I can tidy up, wash laundry, etc.

No chance for boredom! But it’s much fun and I love to see how he makes progress every day. When the older boys come home, I assist them with their homework and with the preparation of their sandwiches for the next school day. The weekends are really relaxing and often friends come around. Or we make a trip to the cabin at the lake. After work I can meet my friends for sports or just a hot chocolate.

Living here as an AU Pair is definitely different but totally cool, it’s a unique chance and I am very happy to be here!

Where to Au Pair – Winnipeg

Located in Central Canada, Winnipeg is known as “The Gateway to the west” and has a rich history as a Canadian trading post. Also known for its chilly winters, this city will give you a taste of the Canadian cold! But don’t be deterred – the warm community makes up for the tumultuous amounts of snow. Winnipeg’s vision is “To be a vibrant and healthy city which places its highest priority on quality of life for all its citizens.” and it doesn’t disappoint – offering up diverse activities and opportunities for everyone to experience and banding together to make a strong and loving community!

Check out Winnipeg’s number one tourist destination: The Forks

The Forks is an exquisite riverside attraction in the heart of downtown Winnipeg known as “The Meeting Place.” It’s one of the loveliest public spaces in the city and has been a meeting place for over 6,000 years: Early Aboriginal peoples traded at The Forks, followed by European fur traders, Métis buffalo hunters, Scottish settlers, riverboat workers, railway pioneers and tens of thousands of immigrants. Today it is a must see during every season and boasts four million visitors annually – the perfect place to make friends as an Au Pair! Winter, spring, summer or fall, The Forks offers a stunning array of dining experiences, incomparable shopping, a constantly changing slate of entertainment and events, and many unique attractions that encompass the site’s natural, historic and man-made features.

Experience the history with a visit to Le Musee de Saint-Boniface and The Pavilion

If you’re hoping to learn about Canada’s beginnings, this is a museum you won’t want to miss! The St. Boniface Museum is located in the original Grey Nuns Convent and is the oldest building in Winnipeg; it is also the largest oak log structure in North America. The museum showcases objects related to the heritage of French-Canadian and Métis peoples, offering a closer look and a better understanding of two beautiful cultures that highly influenced early Canada. You can also learn about the Canadian martyr: Louis Riel – a founder of Manitoba and political leader of the Métis peoples, as the museum boasts the largest collection of Louis Riel artifacts in the country. But if you’re looking for something a little lighter that you can do with your host kids, pay a visit to The Pavilion Gallery Museum! The entire second floor of this Art Gallery is dedicated to a permanent collection of  Winnie the Pooh artifacts and memorabilia including pop-up books, toys and figurines as well as the famous painting ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Pot’ by Ernest H. Shepard, the original illustrator of A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books.

Celebrate Autumn with a day at A Maze in Corn

Just minutes from Winnipeg, on a family owned farm, you’ll find Manitoba’s leading corn maze – experience a true north Halloween as you traverse your way through the maze, pick the perfect pumpkin, take a hayride in a horse drawn wagon, and get spooked in “The Haunted Forest!” A Maze in Corn is a bale of fun and a great opportunity to spend some family time with your Host Family or to get a group of Au Pairs in your area together! The farm has a variety of animals for you to visit at their petting zoo, including goats, sheep, bunnies, horses, kittens, pigs, chickens, and a calf. Check them out early in the season and you can help bottle feed the new additions to the farm! A Maze in Corn also offers pony rides for both kids and adults – this is a fantastic opportunity to share your love of horses with your host kids! And last but not least – Zipline Tours! This farm has it all and will be a highlight of your Au Pair experience.

Join in Western Canada’s largest winter festival: Festival du Voyageur

The Festival du Voyageur is the perfect venue to embrace a Manitoba winter! Bonding the traditions of the past with the vitality of the franco-manitoban community of today, Festival du Voyageur is a kitchen party not to be missed. Immerse yourself in the Manitoban culture as you meet Fort Gibraltar’s historical characters, admire snow sculptures created by artists from around the world, sing and dance to lively music, and taste delicious French-Canadian food. Hoping to learn more about the Canadian culture as an Au Pair? The Festival du Voyageur will teach you everything you need to know!

If you’re looking for a home-away-from-home in Canada where people smile as you pass them on the street and there are celebrations in every season, Winnipeg is the place to Au Pair. You will become part of this beautiful city and it will stay with you even after your year is done.