logo

What origin should your au pair have? Where should the au pair come from? What are the cultural differences that you have to be aware of?

 

Read more about "Origin of the au pair" here!

 

Information at a glance

  • If you live in a EU country and the au pair is also from the EU, the au pair won't need a visa
  • Applying for a visa can take several weeks
  • Au pairs from exotic countries need more time to adjust
  • It is cheaper to look for an au pair online
  • On web-communities for au pairs you can choose between many au pairs
  • It is only worth hiring an au pair agency if they really follow up

 

What country should the au pair come from?

herkunft aupairWhere should your au pair come from? What country should the au pair be from? The origin of the au pair can play an important part in your life together. Keep in mind the possible cultural differences between the au pair and the host family. Obviously, the au pair program is about cultural exchange, but you shouldn't forget while choosing an au pair  that dealing with cultural differences will affect your entire family.

 

If both parents work in the host family, it might make sense to take some time off while the au pair gets settled in, especially if the au pair comes from an exotic country. Most young people who apply for an au pair job abroad don't come from the classic au pair countries like France, England or the US anymore. Nowadays, au pair applicants are from South America, Africa, China, Thailand, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Georgia, the Czech Republic, Kenya or Mongolia. Many young people from these countries come from poor families, and they see an au pair job abroad as a chance to make a better future for themselves. Often, they want to stay and live in the au pair country.

 

Advantages of an au pair from the EU

An au pair from the European Union (or the European Economic Area) doesn't need a visa to travel to other European countries.  If you are looking for an au pair online and haven't hired an agency, choosing an au pair from the EU (or EEA) involves less paperwork. Also, the au pair doesn't need a passport to travel and could come on short notice, if necessary.

 

For an au pair from Europe it would also be easier to adapt to the culture of another European country than it would be for an au pair from South America for instance. Another advantage is that should it turn out that the au pair and the host family were a bad match, it would be easier for the au pair to change families . If the au pair came on a visa, this might be harder, since some visas are tied to a specific family.

 

An au pair that needs a visa

If you want an au pair from an exotic country, things are a little bit more complicated. In this case, your au pair will need a visa for European countries, Australia or the US. For you as a future host family, this means that you have to start looking for an au pair at least three or four months in advance. Keep in mind that it might take longer for an au pair from an exotic country to get used to your family and your country. This involves cultural differences regarding table manners, eating habits, playing with the children or the general work spirit. One example: you ask your au pair to prepare a meal for you and your children. It then turns out that your children can't eat the food because it is too spicy for them – while your au pair thinks that the prepared meal isn't spicy at all.

 

Clearly, every person is different, with different strengths and weaknesses and it is quite possible that an au pair from Thailand to have less problems adapting than an au pair from Spain.

 

In the end, whether or not living together with an au pair from an exotic country works also depends on the commitment and help from the host family during the first months. So take your time! If you are patient, you will be rewarded with a year of unforgettable memories and new cultural experiences with the au pair. Keep in mind: if both parents work, think about how to organize the first period  of the au pair's stay to help them adjust to their new environment .

 

Au pair from the city or from the countryside?

Should the au pair be from a city or from a rural area? This also might be a crucial decision in terms of getting along with the au pair. Our advice: read the au pair's application very carefully. Has the au pair been living in a big city or in a small town? If your au pair gets the wrong idea about her new environment, it will cause problems. If the host family lives in a rural area, it is recommended to pick an au pair that also comes from a small town and knows what to expect.

 

Make sure the au pair has a driver's license! This makes it easier for the au pair to go and see friends and be more independent in general, especially if the public transportation is not good. An au pair that has only lived in big cities might be used to a different infrastructure and feel out of place in a small town, just as an au pair that grew up in the countryside might feel lost with a host family from a big, hectic city. Some au pairs could be scared of living in a big city, and they won't feel comfortable leaving the house. They are overwhelmed with the big city life and thus won't meet any new people. We recommend talking about these issues when you first contact the au pair.

 

 

More information for host family:

Finding an Au Pair online Hire an Au Pair Agency
How to find an Au Pair Entry Regulations