The search of a host family for an Au-Pair, as well as the search of an Au-Pair for the first one, is almost the most crucial moment for both parties in the entire Au-Pair program. After all, both the program participant and the host family choose their partner not for a week, but for a year or two.
But why does someone find a host family within a week, as the profile was prepared, and someone expects a month, or even more? Who is to blame and what to do? Is it a situational coincidence, or are there objective reasons that affect the speed of finding your host Au-Pair? Let’s try to figure it out.
Among the more or less specific explanations, first of all, one can single out a certain seasonality. The end of spring – the beginning of summer is sometimes considered as “hot”. This is explained by a simple fact, most kindergartens and schools are closed for the holidays, and parents will need to continue to work. Therefore, those families who do not have an Au-Pair or nanny will need more help in caring for their children. In addition, most host families are looking for a future Au-Pair in the summer also to give the participant the opportunity to get to know them and the children better, because the start of the new school year is just around the corner.
The above does not mean at all that finding a host family in autumn or winter, for example, is a completely unrealistic task. Of course not. This means that there will be fewer applications from host families during this period, so searches will not be as fast as hoped or expected.
The next important point in the matter of finding a host family is the personal requirements of the Au-Pair. And here it becomes clear that we cannot influence this in any way. If, for example, I am an ardent vegetarian and I have a strict principle not to cook meat, and 99% of host families are meat-eaters, what can I do – I cannot go against the principles, then I will wait. It’s quite another matter, of course, if the principle is not so strict, I don’t eat meat, but cook it – no problem!
It also happens that host families prefer participants from specific countries. As a rule, this is explained by the pragmatic desire not to wait a month while the visa is being processed, and to accept the Au-Pair according to the formula “we talked today, we met tomorrow at home”.
Recently, the citizens of Ukraine are separated from the EU countries only by distance, because with the introduction of a visa-free regime, the need for a Schengen visa has disappeared. This means that Ukrainian participants of the Au-Pair program in Austria or Belgium, for example, do not have to wait any longer for a visa in Ukraine. As soon as they find a host family, they have the right to enter the country with biometric passports and wait for a ready visa, already being directly in the country. Of course, this greatly reduces the time for all sorts of expectations that most host families do not want so much. However, at the moment, the list of such countries is not yet extensive enough.
But not everything depends only on the host family. Quite often, future Au-Pairs, without noticing it, personally narrow the circle of applicants for the role of their future host family. For example, absolutely all questionnaires of host agencies contain questions regarding the personal wishes of the Au-Pair in caring for children – “What age children would you like to look after?”, “How many children would you like to look after?”.
As a rule, the participant of the program believes that he is going to study language, culture, traditions and travel. Yes, it is right. It is part of the inalienable rights of an Au-Pair program participant. But the Au-Pair also has responsibilities – this is helping a family with children.
It should be understood that most European host families who plan to host an Au Pair have more than two children and usually under the age of 5. Yes, of course, they can have older children, but the main help will be needed with the little ones.
Here we should immediately point out that this does not mean that they are all of preschool age and that you will need to take care of all of them at the same time. The situation is quite real when there are four children, and only two younger ones will need to help in caring for.
But for some reason, the second part, in the form of responsibilities, is considered by some program participants to be insignificant and unimportant. And in this case, the participant of the program always indicates in the Au-Pair questionnaire that they are ready to learn the language, live for free in a separate room, eat at the expense of the host family, relax and travel with them, but it is desirable that there be no more than one child and already an adult.
It is obvious that the more you narrow the search for a host family, the more you overestimate your needs, the less you understand the essence of the Au-Pair program – the longer it takes to search for a host family.
Why was all this described so long and meticulously? In order to understand, firstly, the specifics of a typical host family that invites an Au-Pair, that is, what you need to be prepared for. Secondly, if you have specific requirements, the family that suits you cannot be found as quickly as you would like.
It should be understood that we are not encouraging prospective Au-Pair participants to agree to anything that is not offered. No, of course it is not. However, you should understand that if you indicate in the questionnaire that the host families described above are not interesting for you, your profile for them will not be offered. Thus, the search will be slowed down. You need to fill out this or that item of the questionnaire with a full understanding of the situation and the consequences that will follow. And no one will ever force you to do what you do not like.
And finally. So there was a host family who invited you for an interview. It passed and, in your opinion, everything was great. However, days go by, and there is no news from the host family. Failure at the interview, you were misunderstood, or the stars did not match so well?
First of all, leave the thought that you definitely need to go to this particular host family. Where is such confidence? In fact, not only you are chosen, but you are also choose. Therefore, remember that your task is not only to make a favorable impression, but also to understand if this option suits you. It remains to be seen which is worse: to wait for a certain time, to be not invited by the first host family, or to go quickly, to any one that agreed to invite you and in which, perhaps, in a week you will realize that your choice was unsuccessful. It’s probably not in vain that they say that the one who knows how to wait gets the best.