There are many challenges that may come your way as an au pair. These top 5 are the most common, and here are some helpful tips for you to overcome them in order for you to have the best experience possible.
1. Culture Shock
Undoubtedly, you are stepping completely out of your comfort zone into a new country with new ways of life, including a different language, different foods and general day to day activities. The key is to keep an open mind and treat everything that is new to you as an education. If the host family asks you to go on day trips or dinners with them, always be open to saying yes. Part of being an au pair is immersing yourself into the culture as much as you can, and what better way to do that than by spending your time bonding with the host family?
2. Language Barrier
This is a common and possibly the most difficult challenge, especially if you go to a new country with no understanding of their language at all. When looking after children, it can be tricky to connect with them and warm up to them if you sound unfamiliar to them. The best way to overcome this is to invest in a handy phrasebook and/or dictionary, as you will pick up important phrases needed for every possible situation. Challenge yourself to speak to everybody you meet in the language if you are somewhat proficient already.
3. Adapting to a different age group
Au pairing is all about being the right carer for the children. When you have to spend most of your day with children, it is essential to adapt to their needs in terms of activities. Depending on their age, it is best to get creative and do some research into what they might like doing. If your job is to teach them English, there are plenty of resources and games online to keep them entertained but also educate them. It is important to note that you are not only a teacher but somebody for the children to look up to. Join in on their activities and show as much interest in them as possible.
It can be particularly important for au pairs to budget, and you will already be saving a lot by getting accommodation and food from your host family. If you are in need of some extra spending money or want to do some travelling on weekends, spend less on weekdays and prioritise your needs. You could even get a part-time retail job outside of your au pair work for some extra income.
A host family may not always be as you had imagined, and you may encounter some differences either with the children or the host parents at any given point. If the problems are minor, especially in terms of clashing with children, it is best to express your worries to the parents and resolve issues early on.
If you want to immerse yourself into a new culture, learn a language and make new friends, becoming an au pair is the perfect opportunity for you.
Register here and begin your adventure as an au pair with Oaktree Au Pair Agency, today.