Bring on the rest of my adventure!

My name is Sarah, I am 18 from Australia.

My adventure started when I received my results at the end of year 11 and I decided that I wanted to have a gap year.  I have had a fascination with London and England/ Europe for quite a while so this was my chance to live my dream!

Forms and information was all sent in and my parents believed that I was actually serious on wanting to move across the world to London. So when I received a profile from a family in Leeds I was a bit divided, where they seemed to be a lovely family, I wasn’t sure I wanted to live so far from London.

How I was wrong.

1

I have been so lucky to have been blessed with the most amazing host family. The children are wonderful and my host parents are amazing and have made me feel at home, a month in and I feel like I am part of the family, which I felt from day one!

The day I was leaving came by way too quick for mine and my families liking. I am very close with all my family so saying goodbye to everyone at the airport was really hard. Thirty hours later I arrived at Manchester airport to be greeted by my host Dad, and we drove back to Leeds, and after meeting my host Mum we walked to the kid’s school to pick them up. When Hannah (Host Mum) and I walked into Lucy’s (5) classroom everyone, even the teacher, was excited to see me, apparently that is all they had been hearing about all day!

2

To begin with, jetlag and getting lost were the biggest things on my mind. I was so worried I would get lost, or not be able to sleep for two weeks.  Having moved across the world, I was now eleven hours behind the time I was used to, so at about 4-5pm I would started getting really tired and explaining this to a 5 year old was a bit difficult but Oliver (9), completely understood, he would work out what time it was in Australia, so we could explain to Lucy that my body is thinking that it should be asleep right now or just waking up.

I have only gotten lost on one occasion in the city which is fabulous! Google maps and widespread free WIFI helps with this a lot!!

To be honest I haven’t missed home all that much so far. I have had a few days where I have shed a few tears and said I wanted to go home after the Skype has not worked or my parents haven’t answered my calls. But I think that I am extremely lucky to be travelling in a world that I can sit on a computer in a café or at home and be able to talk to my parents through the internet. I use apps such as Viber and Skype which are both fabulous!

I love to travel around and explore, which I am now starting to do a lot more of! I love the history of all the places and I love London, especially as I have some close friends who live there!

3

There isn’t much I would change about my experience so far. I would love to make more friends and be able to travel around the UK more, but I have heaps of time left to do that! I love my job, the people and the kids! My host family are very relaxed and easy going which makes it heaps easier for me!
Bring on the rest of my adventure, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

Sarah 🙂

Advertisements

Results from our Au Pair Survey are in!

A member of the Smartaupairs team contacts every au pair in the very early stages of their placement to see how they are settling in. As the majority of our au pairs begin their placements in August/September, we also sent out a survey to all of them this year. The survey had some additional questions for the au pairs and allowed them to give us more specific feedback. We wanted to share the results with you…

1

Firstly, a huge 94% of au pairs said that they are getting along either fantastically or very well with their new host family.

We asked our au pairs how they felt about the location of their host family and accommodation in their home. 86% of au pairs were happy with the location and 99% with their accommodation.

2

Improving English is an incredibly important factor for the majority of our European au pairs. 88% said that they had already seen an improvement in their English level in the first two weeks of their placement.

As an agency, one of the most common questions we receive from au pairs already placed with their host family is how they can find friends in the area. This is something we are able to offer plenty of assistance with. In our survey, 86% of au pairs said that they had already found friends locally during their first two weeks in the UK. The other 14% were given lots of guidance as to how they can meet other people in their area!

3

Finally, we asked the au pairs if they are satisfied with Smartaupairs. We are very proud that 99% of them replied that yes, they are very satisfied.

We are glad to hear that our au pairs are so happy with the program and remind them that we are here to offer support/answer questions whenever they need us!

Au Pair Feedback

It’s that lovely time of year again when we hear from au pairs and families about how their placements have started off. Here are the stories from two au pairs who have recently started their placements in the UK.

Firstly, we wanted to share with you the full PowerPoint presentation created by Dutch au pair Maartje, one of the winners of our recent competition.

The following slides cover the first month of her placement in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey.

1

2

 

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

Alex from France is currently placed in Penn, Buckinghamshire. Here is what she has to say about her placement so far:

All is perfect!!!!! I am really happy here. I have a lovely hostfamily, I found a news friends, I take english courses and I improve my english: the paradise!!!! Thank you for all.

Alex also shared these lovely photos of her time in the UK to date:

1

2

3

4

5

After all of the hard work that goes into the search process and organisation for the au pair’s arrival, by our agency, the host family and the au pair herself, it is great to hear wonderful success stories like these.

Please continue to send us feedback on your placements 🙂

Competition Winners Announced!

We launched two competitions during our Au Pair Introduction Day in London earlier on this month. In order to enter, au pairs were asked to send a comment or photo to summarise or represent their placement with their UK host family so far. Two prizes of £50 in Amazon vouchers were on offer and our winners are as follows…

Comment competition winner: Maartje from the Netherlands, who is currently placed in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey.

Maartje sent us a PowerPoint presentation to describe her placement so far, but it was the following comment in particular that we felt summarised the au pair program as a whole:

This is the house where I first arrived on Friday the 23th of August. The family did everything they could to make me feel welcome. And boy, did I feel welcome! In these first few weeks, I have been visiting London and making lots of new friends to make my stay in the UK even better! The children: this is the best part of being an au pair. Getting to spend lots of time with in my case, two beautiful young boys. We are very good at being serious but we are even better at acting silly. All of us are. Even though, they sometimes drive me crazy… this family, puts a big smile on my face! So this house is no longer my host family’s house, it’s our house now. It’s a place I call my home’.

Maartje's host family gave her a very warm welcome!
Maartje’s host family gave her a very warm welcome!

Photo competition winner:  Lena from Germany, who is currently placed in Fleet, Hampshire.

Lena sent us quite a few photos of her day out in London but this one was our favourite. A photo with the iconic red telephone box is a ‘must have’ for all au pairs 🙂

The winning photo entry by German au pair Lena
The winning photo entry by German au pair Lena

Congratulations to both girls and thank you to everyone who entered the competition. Here are some further excellent entries that we received:

Picture2

Anhang 5

Picture1

Picture3

Anhang 1

3

Anhang 6

If you would like to share your experiences of the au pair program at any time, please contact us on aupairs@smartaupairs.com. We love to hear your stories!

My Au Pair Experience in the UK

Tabitha from Germany joined host family in Essex in September and has been reflecting on her placement as it comes to an end. She wanted to share with us the positive experiences, as well as the challenges she faced during her placement.

***

“All in one I find that, being an AuPair was the hardest and the greatest thing I have ever done in my life.

 

It was hard to leave my family, friends and boyfriend behind, to live in another country with another language. I came in this really nice family, who made me part of their family and now I have got a family in Great Britain. We had our bad days, but I really appreciate that they have always been there for me and that they taught me so much.

 

When I just came I looked only after one child. She wasn´t easy to manage in the first few weeks, but we got to know each other and now I´m really feeling sad to leave her.

 

I got to know my host mother. She was so nice to me and she became a really good friend of mine. I went with her to a lot of pregnancy courses and she also took me to some parties, what I found really great. Especially that one Indian party for Diwali. For that , my host mum put me in one of her old Indian costumes. I will never forget that day, there was Indian dance, Indian food and everyone had to take their shoes off, what I found was really strange. Also we had always our little, colourful lunches and our nice talks. Now I can talk about everything with her and I´m really going miss her so much.

 

When the baby was born I had to do so many things, that I had to grow up over night. My host mother gave me a lot of guidelines, which helped, but it was still exhausting to manage and organize everything. My host family let me go home to spend Christmas with my family as a treat. That was so great, but it was so hard to leave my family a second time and when I was back it was worse than in the beginning. In March it got easier, my host mum was recovered, the baby was sleeping and feeding went well and my family came to visit me in London. Also everyone got enough sleep.

 

The last two months were the best of the whole time. Finally it got warmer and the children grew more and more. I´m really looking forward to go home, but I can´t be really happy about that, because I will miss my family. I still don´t know how to say goodbye. The girls mean a lot to me, and also my host parents. All these times when we had nice evenings together, or when we just talked while we had dinner.

 

Also they taught me so much about healthy living and healthy food. I learned so many new recipes. We had a big variety of food. Nearly every day we had a different type of food. We had British, Indian, American, Thai, Italian and in the end eventually German. So I learned how to cook of all different types of food. And I couldn´t cook very well before, so my host mum had to be really patient with me, because I needed time to learn and there was once, that I let the garlic burn. Also I learned some Indian cooking from the childrens grandmother and from the cleaner.

 

With the different types of food I also learned much about the Indian, American and British culture. So I celebrated my first Diwali, the festival of lights, with them. We went to “Nanny´s” house and had lots of nice, fresh, Indian food. There were some more family celebrations, like birthdays, or for example when my host mum´s sister came from America. So they took me often to “Nanny´s” house, like I´m allowed to call her. That is another thing, I really appreciate, that I can call the children’s grandmother “Nanny”. One day she just came to me and said, she is Nanny, I can call her Nanny. I was so surprised, because I always had this thought in my head, that I´m just “the Au Pair”.

 

But I was more than just the Au Pair. For a long time, I thought it would be politeness, when my host mum introduced me as her friend instead of her Au Pair. Or when she made me tea, or all the times when we shared a drink and we had our “movie night” on Friday. Then when baby was born, I was just too exhausted to see, to realize how much I might mean for them. Now I can see. All that time, I was more than just the Au Pair. And to know that, is more than I ever thought would happen. I mean it is actually a part of the Au Pair program, but still, not everyone does this. Some families wouldn´t do that, and so I’m really grateful, that I could be part of a really nice family.

 

I´m very grateful for all, what my family taught me. I will never forget that important part of my life and I´m so glad, that I could shared it with my new British/American/Indian family. They will now always be a part of my life, because they taught me just so much, what will go along with me in my life.

 

I really hope, that we can stay in contact and can visit each other so I´m able to see, how the girls grow up.”

Image

 ***

If you would like to consider becoming/hosting an au pair, we can help! Contact us on 0800 917 8166 or info@smartaupairs.com.

Testimonials from Host Families

This is a lovely time of year for us, as we hear so many fantastic stories from families and au pairs who are parting ways after spending a year together. Many host families are also confirming their new au pairs in time for the summer or next academic year.

We would like to share with you some of the wonderful feedback we have received over the last few days.

The Clifton family is a long term client of Smartaupairs. They live in Kent and have had Spanish, German and Swiss au pairs through our agency:

“I have been using Smartaupairs for several years now and every year proved successful thanks to the Smartaupairs team’s diligence and kindness.


Thanks to them, the process of finding the “right” au-pair for my family has always been fool-proof: a quick phone-call with a very helpful and supportive person at the end of the line; a few emails exchanged to finalise details and there I was with a list of pre-selected candidates.


I really enjoyed using the Smartaupairs website for its easiness of use as well as finding all the information I needed with just a few very simple clicks.


Once, I have had an emergency where my German au-pair had to go home following a bereavement. It was a stressful time for everyone in the family but thanks to Smartaupairs, some of this stress has been removed within days.


I have recommended Smartaupairs to all my friends with young children and will continue to do so in the future for the quality of service provided is exemplary.


If you looking for reliability as well as outstanding service, you are in the right place!


(by the way, I am not related to anyone in Smartaupairs, I am just a really satisfied customer!)

 

We were delighted to place the Cummings family’s first au pair with them. We understand that the search process can sometimes be daunting for first time host families so do our very best to make things simple.

 

“A huge Thank you for connecting us with three wonderful candidates.

 

We were impressed by all of them but sadly only one can be successful.

 

I can’t tell you how much less stressful our trip will be made with an extra pair of hands and how excited we are to give such a lovely young woman an opportunity to improve her level of English and taste a little slice of English life. I may be married to a French Man but I was born in Yorkshire and a ‘Yorkshire’ household I run no matter where that may be 🙂

 

Thank you again”

 

It’s great to also hear how excited au pairs are about their upcoming placement when they receive their offer from a host family. When Amelie got her confirmation this week, her German agency passed on the news. They told us:

“She is over the moon. She was actually breathless :-)“

 

For more testimonials, please see our website.

We look forward to matching lots more families and au pairs in time for the new school year!

If you are interested in hosting an au pair, please call us on 0800 917 8166, email on info@smartaupairs.com, or register on our website for a call back

River Cruise Photo Competition – Winner Announced!

The Smartaupairs who joined us for the annual BAPAA River Cruise last month were invited to enter our photo competition.

The decision was tough as we received many lovely photos, however the winning entry was sent by Viola Gerl, a German au pair currently placed with one of our host families in London. Viola will receive a £20 Amazon voucher. You can see the winning photo below, along with some more of our favourite entries.

We were delighted to also receive highly positive feedback on the trip. Merel from the Netherlands sent the following:

“First off, I would like to say thank you for a lovely day!

I really enjoyed the boat trip and the break at Greenwich!

Together with my German friend Noemi, I was there for the day.

I also met some new au pairs which was, although I’m going to leave to go home in one month, really nice! :)”

 

The Smartaupairs team is already looking forward to next year’s boat trip!