Hello everyone, I still have to explain how it works once you decide to become an au pair. It’s a long process…long but not impossible.
( Before starting..what I’m gonna say is related to my agency and my country. I am not sure about how things work in other agencies and countries. Please let me know and I can add more information)
First of all you need to find an au pair agency. Without an agency you won’t be able to get a visa to come into the US. ( I’m not sure but I remember that the Mexican au pairs don’t need a visa, am I right?). If you want to be an au pair in Europe, you don’t need any kind of visa and you can just look online for a host family. There are many agencies that work in the States and all of them offer the same service. The only big difference is the price. This is the first big decision, what agency should I choose? If you decide to choose a big and renowned agency, you pay more but they can offer you numerous host families. If you want to pay less, you can choose a smaller one that will offer you the same service, but they won’t have a lot of host families.
These are the au pair requirements in my agency:
- Is between the ages of 18 and 26 years old
- Loves kids and has at least 200 hours of experience caring for them
- Has completed (or is about to complete) secondary school (grade 12)
- Has a driver’s licence or is able to obtain it before travel
- Does not have a criminal background
- Is in good physical and mental health
- Is flexible, motivated, mature and positive
- Is ready to commit to a minimum of one year abroad, with the opportunity to extend for an extra 6, 9 or 12 months after the first year
In Italy, you first have to sign up online and then attend a meeting. During the meeting they explain you about the program and there is usually an old au pair telling her\his experience. They also want to test your English because, you know, some families look for someone who can already speak the language, but lucky for us, not all of them care about that.
If they convince you and you still want to leave, the adventure begins. From the day you decide to leave to the day you will actually come in the US, many days can pass. I went to meeting in November and I left in August..I know, I’m lazy. But I have a valid excuse: I had to graduate. What to do now is filling in your application. There are several sections: family, school, work, medical history, hobbies. You can write as many details you wish, I spent 3 months to write everything..ahahah
Do you want to be a full time nanny? Well, you have to prove that you have some kind of experience. That’s the section that they call references. You need to have at least 3 references that summed up give 200 hours of work. They don’t accept babysitting siblings or cousins.
Once you’re done with the application, your profile is online!! That means that the host families can read it and they can contact you if they are interested. Remember, THEY have the power ahhah The families can see our profiles but we can’t see theirs. We only have to wait until someone wants to talk to us. They usually send you an email asking to schedule a Skype call. I know, no one likes talking on Skype with strangers and in a foreign language but you’ll have to spend a year with them, are you sure you don’t want to see their faces? You can take your time, speaking to as many families you want. This is the most important decision. The worst thing you can do is choosing a family JUST BECAUSE you want to leave as soon as it’s possible. I remember that I have been contacted from more than 20 families but I only skyped with 4 of them. Even now, the family is the one who can ask ” do you want to be our au pair?” but we can say NO if we feel that it’s not the right match.
After you matched with a family, it’s time to think about all the documents. Living in the States is not that easy and Trump is not helping us. We need a passport and visa. The agency will give you all the instructions to apply for a J-1 visa. You apply online and then you need to schedule an appointment at an American embassy and hope they’ll accept your request ahahahah. The last thing I did was the international driving license.
Now you can start the countdown…
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