Many people who want to have an experience in other countries consider babysitting abroad. Usually known as Au Pair programs, this type of arrangement offers free accommodation and meals in a house family in exchange for minding children and doing some light housework.However, among other challenges, choosing the right host family can be a big deal for many people interested in becoming an au pair abroad. You will be living in their house for a while, far away from your family and friends, so it is understandable to feel insecure. So let’s see what you should be considering while you are checking profiles and deciding if you will apply for that job or not.
# Compare what they are offering with what is legal in their countryBefore you start applying for any au pair position, you should become familiar with what is considered legal when it comes to au pair positions in that particular country. Many of them have a specific program which has to be followed by the dot by both parts. Others leave decisions up to the families and au pairs.In any case, you should be aware of your duties and rights so that you won’t be getting into any unfair situation, neither dreaming that you will get more than you are entitled. There are several things to be concerned about, from your visa (if required) to your pocket money, so check everything beforehand.
# Check their photos carefullyOne of the best ways to spot scammers is by the photos they upload in their profiles. Overly professional photos are usually suspicious. You should also be careful when there is just one photo, and it is not very clear.On the other hand, many families are concerned about their own privacy, and you should respect that. Don’t rule them out just because they have no photos in their online profiles. But make sure that you ask them to send you pictures to you privately if they are happy to discuss the job with you.
# Check the work conditions (ask a contract!)It is very likely that there will be a formal contract to be signed before you leave your own country or as soon as you get to their country. If there isn’t, and it isn’t legally required, ask the host family to send you an e-mail outlining all your duties and rights so that you can have something written down.And if they ask you to write it yourself, don’t panic. Just look for a list of the best sites for help with writing and start from there. This way you will be covered in case of any future disagreement with the family.And this type of document or letter can also be used in your favor in case of any immigration issues. Plus, if you don’t have the same mother tongue as the host family, having everything on paper helps to avoid misunderstandings.
# Ask photos of your accommodation and surroundingsAnother thing that you should see before getting on a plane is where you will live. Ask for photos of your accommodation and surroundings. Ask for as many as possible, so you can have an idea of how and where they live, and decide if it meets your expectations and what they have told you.Also look for websites with pictures of the city or village. Check the news to get to know if it is safe and what you can do over there during your free time. You can also search for online groups of expats where you can ask a bit about what to expect.
# Talk to them over a video callBut don’t rely on photos only. With all the high-advanced features of photo editors nowadays, you just can’t trust them 100% sure. So make sure that you book a video call with your host family over Skype, Line, Google Hangout or any other online tool that might suit you both.During the conversation, pay attention not only to what they say but to their body language and their home. Ask to see the children, and maybe for a turn of the house if you feel like they would do it for you. You might not get all of it in just one call, but nothing is stopping you from chatting to them more than once before saying yes.
# Ask about the family habitsTry to find out as much as possible about the family habits as well. Cultural differences can be a big deal, and even if they try to make you feel comfortable, you are still supposed to follow their rules. Plus, one of the most exciting points of living abroad is getting immersed in the local culture anyway, so you can’t avoid it altogether.So ask away all that you need to know about their eating and sleeping habits, what they do for fun, and how their children play. And don’t be afraid of questioning too much. Of course, it is not a criminal investigation, but any responsible family will understand your concerns and will be happy to clarify things for you. They also don’t want that you go all the way over there only to find out that you aren’t a good fit.
The bottom line: trust in your gutThere you got essential information regarding what you need to know before choosing this or that host family to babysit abroad. These tips will help you to remain safe and to make the most of your experience.However, it is important to bear in mind that it is your gut that will make the final decision. It is how you feel about a family that will make you choose it or not, and nothing else. So listen to your heart and make the best decision you can. It will hopefully be the best one.
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