Being an Au Pair is not easy: you live a period away from home, in another country with a new family with different habits, lifestyle and language. There are many difficulties an Au Pair has to deal with (like cultural, environment, language etc.), but once you pass the tests, you will become stronger and you will have the right attitude to deal with the problems.
1. Get ready. Prepare all necessary documents in advance and leave nothing for the last time. Above all, be psychologically ready. Start getting information about your new country and city, study culture, language and habits.
2. A new family. Evaluate different families before choosing the one which fits you better. Get as much information as possible about them, look for the family that seems closer to you and your lifestyle. Consider the free time that you are offered and family’s availability: it’s important to know each other better and appreciate their culture.
3. Be active. Try to make you useful in any situation and be always polite. If you do not understand well what is happening around you, don’t be afraid to ask your family: they will appreciate your efforts. Remember that you are here to break down language and cultural barriers.
4. Kids. Sometimes children are very demanding. So do not just look at them from a distance reading on the sofa: kids want you to participate in their games as a friend or a older brother. They will immediately grow fond of you.
5. Spare time. You will
have free time to explore your new country. So, do not be lazy, go out, discover the new world you are living in, make new friends! Join a language school, in the gym, go to pubs and cafes, meet people. And remind the host family is the perfect guide!
6. Don’t look for another job. Working during your free time can make you exhausted, at you won’t be able to appreciate your experience as an Au Pair in China or other countries.
7. You are not an employee. If you think that the family is exploiting you, evaluate pros and cons, and you will discover that they are actually offering you a lot: their experiences, their habits, their life! Nevertheless, it has to be clear that you are a member of the family, and you don’t have to be exploited.
8. Deal with misunderstandings. Be mature in incomprehension between you and the family. If the situation is unbearable, try politely to make them understand your point of view. If, at the end you decide to leave the family, communicate your decision in advance so that they can have time to look for another Au pair or another solution to their problems.
9. The end of your trip. You have certainly learned many things. You know enough about the culture of the host country, the lifestyle and eating habits. You have learnt how to live in another city and the detachment from that will be tough, what at first was difficult now it is familiar. Promise to get back to the host family, to keep in touch and to go visit them.
Au Pair programs are a great opportunity to live in and discover another country as a citizen – and not as a tourist.