Apart from finding work as an au pair with the help of au pair agencies, most people search for an au pair or search for a host family on the internet .
On special online forums for au pairs you can create your own au pair profile and through a detailed search find the right host family for you. In your au pair profile you mention the countries where you want to go and work as an au pair , the languages you would like to learn, your wishes about the children you will take care of (age, number etc.) and also for how long you want to work as an au pair.
You can upload pictures and also write more about yourself. The more detailed and personal your profile is, the better your chances of finding the right host family.
As an au pair, you can usually sign up for free on this type of au pair websites and you can look for your host family by browsing through database of thousands of families world-wide. This way, you can contact your future host family quickly and directly. If a host family accepts you as an au pair, you can contact them via the website. Have you found a match? That’s when you start sending each other emails, pictures or videos and you can call each other as well to get to know each other. Ideally, your host family also gives you the contact information of their former au pairs. An au pair website also offers a lot of information about different countries
where you can work as an au pair, about how much you will earn, your au pair contract and everything else you need to know. All you have left to do now is plan the details.
It is also possible to organize an au pair stay using personal contacts. Many times, friends or parents know a family abroad that is looking for an au pair. But watch out!
With this type of au pair stay , there are no set rules. It is likely that your ideas about your work, the payment or other important issues are very different from your host family’s.
Also, as an au pair you might be more careful or hold back critique – since you don’t want to upset your host family or your friends back home.
Although, generally, even au pair stays that you have organized through personal contacts should follow the general European agreement for au pairs, if you talk to your host family in advance about your stay, you can avoid later disappointments.
Using personal contacts, you might have to organize everything yourself (for example your international health insurance ) but this might not be a bad thing either.
If you have gained your experiences in child care by taking care of your little brothers and sisters, it won’t be enough. The requirements of au pair agencies are higher.
Another reason for organizing an au pair stay yourself: it will help you become more independent. Finding work as an au pair on your own is not magic and you will gain new skills in planning and organizing. If you don’t use an au pair agency , it will be an important step in becoming more independent.
Before the trip I asked myself: ´How can I find a host family? Should I hire an agency or search on my own, using the internet?’ Of course, I wanted it to be fast and safe, so I tried both. In my opinion, agencies are pretty expensive and the service is bad. Yet, if I was to fly to the US, I would use an agency.
For my au pair stay in Europe I used a website. I signed up for free and could already look at host families and send them messages. It was so easy! It is very important to have all the information you can get about a family. I called the families on their cell phones and we talked over facebook and Skype. The families even showed me their houses over Skype. That was awesome!