I’ve fallen in love with Switzerland and now it’s time for me to go. I first laid eyes on the country three years ago and it was love at first sight. The snow-capped mountains, lush hills, and cities full of rich history captivated me. Though I only spent a few days in this beautiful land, I knew I had to return.
Years of babysitting and nannying have allowed me to spend a lot of time around children. Although I’ve changed my fair share of diapers, sat through many temper tantrums, and wiped away thousands of tears, I’m always left in awe of these little beings. Whenever I have a chance to really evaluate my interaction with children, I always come back to the same thought; adults can learn so much from children!
1. Explore websites
2. Determine personal stipulations
- What country/countries do you want to work in?
- What length of time do you want to be in Europe?
- Do you want to live in a city or the country?
- Is it important for you to have the weekends available?
- Are you willing to work weekends?
- Do you want to live-in or live-out?
- What is the minimum amount of money you are willing to accept per month?
- Are you willing to do (light) housework?
- How many hours are you willing to work per week?
- Will you work with single parents?
3. Make detailed online profiles
- Many pictures
- General letter to potential host families
- What sets you apart from other au pairs
- Ideal weekly schedule
- Ideal pay rate
- Other relevant qualifications
4. Reach out
- Mark profiles as “interests” or “favorites”
- Send families messages expressing your interest
- Create a blanket message to send out and cater it to each family
5. Skype with serious interests
- Discuss expectations
- Express concerns
- Clear up any confusion
- Meet the children
- Get a virtual tour of the home (specially, your bedroom)
- Figure out about the surroundings of the family’s home
- Decide on a length of stay
-After deciding which family you will be an au pair for, confirm that plans are in order
- Research visa options (if necessary, visit a consulate)
- Obviously, to get the best results, you need to actually make an online profile.
- Said profile contains descriptions, photos, and general qualifications, all meant to portray yourself as the ideal candidate. If you’re lacking detail in one of these facets, you become substantially less appealing and the same goes for the other party. You stare at your profile, trying imagine how viewers of it will perceive you. You also start wondering if you’ll ever find an ideal match.
- There’s an intricate balance between being fully authentic and showcasing your finer attributes (Obviously, you don’t want to mention that you can belch loudly, before you’ve even met them…). This all is occurring within both parties. Sometimes, you’re left wondering about the validity of certain profiles (e.g. “Is this host family really able to pay me €500 per week?” or “Can this au pair actually fluently speak/read nine languages, including ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics?”).
- You spend hours sifting through hundreds of profiles, marking “interests” or “favorites” along the way. These people get notified and there’s a moment of elation whenever they send back that they’re also interested in you. Unfortunately, you can’t help but feel a bit of rejection, whenever you get a notification that the party you were very interested does not reciprocate.
- If both parties are interested, one reaches out to the other and a message chain is started. Likes, dislikes, mutual interests, and what each party is looking for in the other are discussed.
- After realizing that the other party is everything you dreamed of, the excitement sets in. You find yourself talking about them to friends, many of whom will think it’s odd, seeing as you’ve yet to meet them. You have pictures of them on your cell phone. You have your friends sit with you and pour over their online profile. Overall, you’re just so thrilled that you found your ultimate match online, that you’re willing to tell anyone and everyone who will listen.
- There may a time when you haven’t heard from them in a week or so. You get very worried. You wonder if you’ve done something wrong and look back through old messages to see if you missed anything. The same people who you gushed about them to now get to hear how concerned you are. You realize you may have to accept that they’re not really “the one” and move on. Right when you’ve been about to give up, you get a message from them apologizing for the delay and explaining what had happened. You’re so relieved!
- Around this time is when you think it’s serious enough to tell your parents. You’re excited and nervous about what the future may hold. You gush about how great they are to your parents and show them an exorbitant amount of pictures.
- After much online communication, you decide upon a time to meet.
- Finally, you’ve realized they’re the one for you and decide to move in.
Hi, lovelies! A lot of people have been inquiring as to my current game plan for Europe. Here’s a quick update on my plans!
- During late July and early August a few girlfriends and I are trying to arrange it so we can travel around together! The biggest hinderance is finances! Any tips on ways to make/save money on the road? We’ll be using www.helpx.net, www.couchsurfing.com, and staying in hostels to travel as cheaply as possible.
- At the end of August, I will move to Lausanne, Switzerland to be an au pair for a spectacular Spanish family! This is a great opportunity, because I adore Switzerland and would love to brush up on my Spanish. Although I will be doing some traveling on the weekends, I will be saving a lot of the money I make to put it toward further travels. Additionally, I’ll have to be putting a portion of it toward student loans.
- The last week of November will mark the end of my Swiss living. That means I have December to travel around and hang out with friends…
- If you are around wherever I am, I’d love to meet up! There’s a small possibility that my parents will try and come over and visit during this time. That would be great, seeing as I have no idea if I’ll be spending Christmas alone in a hostel (I doubt that would happen, though, as I have a knack for randomly meeting new friends!)…
- In January, I will move to Torino, Italy to become an au pair for another beautiful family. I am thrilled! I will stay here for a least six months.
- After Italy, I will hopefully return to Switzerland for another three months.
- Then…who knows!