New Office & New Team Member – Sandra!

Smartaupairs has Moved!

We are now based in the lovely Springfield House in Kent! Our new telephone number is as follows: 0330 111 9266. Our e-mail address remains the same! With the primary e-mail being info@smartaupairs.com

Springfield House (photo credit)Springfield House

Sandra – Our New Team Member

Another bit of exciting news is that Sandra has just joined us for a half a year internship! She’ll be supporting our au pairs before and after arrival.

Sandra Smartaupairs

Here is a little introduction from her:

Hi everybody, I’m Sandra and I’ve started my internship at Smartaupairs last week and I am really looking forward to the job as the new Au Pair Supporter.

Currently I’m studying Sociology in Germany Dresden. I really enjoy going to University and read all the stuff which is necessary. It makes me think about me, my family/friends and the whole society. It’s very interesting to learn about connections in people’s life and see them in my own environment.

When I’m not studying and reading I love spending my time with other people and cook with them. That’s why I live together with five other people =) I enjoy spending my time outside while training myself on a slackline, go hiking or just relaxing in the sun.

A few years ago I worked as an Au Pair in Ireland. So I’m sure I can be good help for others sharing my experiences and give some useful advices. As well I am a trainer for volunteers in the social sector so I already know how to help young people with their first steps in an independent life.

Again, welcome Sandra :)

(photo credit: Springfield House)

Noemi – Smartaupair of the Year 2014-5

A HUGE congratulations to Noemi – Smartaupair of the year 2014-5 winner! Noemi is from Germany (born in Spain) and she joined her family Raad in September 2014.

Smartaupair of the Year
Noemi & Her Host family 

What is the Smartaupair of the Year Award?

We wanted to give our host families the chance to say “thank you” and to formally recognize the hard work, dedication and love we know the au pairs put in their au pair time.

In the end we received SO many lovely nominations and all runners up also received little thank you notes from our team. In addition to the certificate, Noemi also received a £200 gift card for Topshop.

Finally, a word for all our au pairs – whether you were nominated or not, we just want to say that your hard work does not go unnoticed – We speak with so many happy host families every day to know that each of you make a real difference to the lives of your host families, so thank you!

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Nomination Letter from the Raad Family:

Our au pair, Noemi Litten Rubio, is far more than an au pair.  She is absolutely a member of our family that we all love.  I think our 4 year-old son, Ethan, sums it up best when he says, “Noemi is not my au pair; she is my best friend, and I hope she is always my best friend.” 

Noemi joined our family in September a few months after we located from New York to London.  We were all still struggling to adjust to life in London, and prior to our relocation we had never had an au pair or any kind of live-in support.  As a result, we were not the best at articulating our needs and expectations.  New herself to London, Noemi set out to help us adjust.  Most importantly, she took it upon herself to make sure she sought out opportunities for Ethan.  She made an effort to engage with children and parents at Ethan’s school, arranging play dates.  She thought up creative ideas designed around the school curriculum and Ethan’s interests to entertain Ethan, including designing a flower project given Ethan’s loves of the garden, teaching Ethan Spanish, arts and crafts, baking, and so much more.  (See attached photos).

She has helped Ethan’s confidence grow day by day by encouraging him to keep practicing.   When Ethan first arrived in London, he was reluctant to engage with other children, especially children he did not know.  He would wait in line at the park for all of the children to clear from the slide before he tried.  Just today, he proudly walked into a summer camp, which Noemi helped find, without knowing any other child and turned to Noemi and said, “I love you; you can go now.”  Noemi has done all of this for Ethan while still looking after us in so many ways.  She knows that I am a terrible cook, and often surprises me with dinner, especially if my husband is working late.  She shops for my favorite things, always making sure that things are refilled before I even notice.  She walks the dog (and treats her like a queen), because she knows we can use the help – not because we ever had to ask.  Really, everything Noemi does that makes her so special, is just because she is Noemi. 

We are going to miss her terribly when she heads off to school in the Fall, but she will always be our best friend as Ethan says. 

Thank you for considering Noemi for this much deserved award.

Amanda

Letter from Noemi:

My life with the Raads

It’s funny how people that were completely strangers to you, can turn into your second family in such a short time. That’s what happened to me with Ethan, Amanda, Shaun and Wrigley Raad.

I’ve been living with the Raads for less than 10 months and we went through a lot together: I cried and laughed with them, I learned a lot about their traditions, about their country, about childcare and even about myself. The amazing thing about the Raads is that they don’t treat you like staff. They let you your space and invite you to join them on days out or on special occasions. They include you in conversations that are not about Ethan, they don’t treat you like a child, they ask for your opinion about things and listen, they care about you and know when you need time alone. The Raads are funny, caring and full of love. In all this months the Raads not only helped me with my English, but also  taking hard desicions, and realising what I want and what I don’t want. They have supported me in every little thing and they never judged me. I’ve grown up so much and that’s all thank to the Raads. If there was an award for the best host family of the year, the Raads would win it every single time.

Ethan Jaxson is the cutest kid on the planet. He’s funny, sweet and adorable. When I arrived here, Ines (the previous Aupair) just left and Ethan liked her so much, that I was really worried that he would have a hard time and he would hate me, but that’s not Ethan. He played with me from day 1, was always asking me questions and loved to try new things with me. We enjoyed exploring Fulham together, going on picnics, reading books in the library, baking new recipes, trying different kinds of food, fingerpainting, having our own inside jokes that nobody else understands… It’s true that it wasn’t always easy and that we had our ups and downs, but, through it all, he’s my favorite 4-years-old boy.

When I first arrived to their home last September, I was terrified. The driver that had brough me from the airport left me in front of the door with my suitcases and I was so nervous that I thought I was going to throw up. Now the throw up feeling comes back everytime I think that in a few weeks I’ll be going home and leaving the Raads.

Noemi Litten Rubio

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It’s been a rocky start – Ups and downs of au pairing

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smartaupairs:

A REAL au pair experience – Great Read!

Originally posted on Au London:

Sophie was 21 when she first left Australia to search for excitement and adventure in London.

But being slightly older than the average au pair she admits that she struggled in the first few months with homesickness and bonding with the family.

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What’s been the hardest thing about leaving home?

I made a crucial mistake. In all my research I read about au pairs being home sick and struggling with being so far from home and I dismissed it.

I had already lived away from for a few years while I was a university student so I thought I was immune but I really struggled for the first 2 months of my placement

Were you prepared for life as an au pair?

I thought I’d been prepared and I asked all about my host families parenting styles in the interview process, how they usually disciplined the kids, the kids’ hobbies…

View original 549 more words

Annual Au Pair River Cruise – Book NOW!

Britt Boat Trip

The date for the annual Au Pair River Cruise has been announced! Every year, Smartaupairs invites all au pairs who are placed with one of our host families to join us for the event. It’s extremely popular so we recommend booking your place as soon as possible!

Thames River Cruise

Sunday 17th May 2015

All day excursion from just £10 per person

Come and join hundreds of other BAPAA au pairs on a private boat trip to Greenwich. You will travel past famous bridges and historic buildings along the river from Central London, with many exciting views of Westminster including the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye, and then head downstream through the city to the Thames Barrier, Greenwich and back again. At Greenwich you will have time to have a look around – there are lively markets, historic buildings, the famous Royal Observatory and Meridian Line, the Maritime Museum and a beautiful park with wonderful views over London. Bring a picnic or buy lunch in Greenwich.

  • 11am – boat leaves Festival Pier
  • 1pm – boat arrives at Greenwich
  • 4pm – boat leaves Greenwich
  • 5pm – boat arrives back at Festival Pier

The trip costs £10 per person or £12 for friends (non-BAPAA)

You must arrive by 10.45am as the boat leaves promptly at 11am from Festival Pier, in front of The Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank. (Opposite side of the river to Embankment tube.)

Nearest tube station: Waterloo or Embankment. Nearest mainline train station: Waterloo.

If you wish to stay in London for the night of Saturday 16th May, hostel accommodation is available through International Students House, 229 Great Portland Street, London W1. (www.ish.org.uk) Telephone 020 7631 8310, quoting BAPAA.

Britt Boat Trip
Au Pair Britt won our photo competition in 2014. This is her entry taken in Greenwich Park.

Payment details: You can pay via PayPal (even if you don’t have a PayPal account) – go to www.paypal.co.uk and make the payment to finance@bapaa.org.uk. You must include your FULL name, the name of your agency in the UK (Smartaupairs) and your host family, plus the names of any friends going on the trip with you (stating BAPAA or non-BAPAA). You must print off the PayPal receipt or ticket and bring it with you on the day, as you will need to show it when you board the boat (tickets displayed on smartphones will not be accepted)! You must pay in advance for your ticket and refunds are not given.

Smartaupairs will be running a photo competition so REMEMBER TO BRING YOUR CAMERA!

Entries are to be emailed to aupairs@smartaupairs.com by 29th May 2015 and the winner will receive a £20 Amazon voucher. Click here to see some of last year’s entries.

Smartaupairs reserves the right to use any images from the boat trip for the purpose of future promotions.

Any questions? Please e-mail aupairs@smartaupairs.com

Birkbeck Research Report – BAPAA’s Response 

 #aupairproject and the official Au Pair Scheme in the UK and Au Pairing after the Au Pair Scheme

On 16th October 2014, BAPAA were invited to attend a breakfast briefing at Birkbeck University where Dr Rosie Cox and Dr Nicole Busch presented their findings of a recently completed research project on Au Pairing, migration and childcare in the UK.

Following this launch of findings, Au Pairing in the UK has come under the public spotlight with negative articles in National Newspapers and radio show discussions.

The #aupairproject research has especially highlighted the dangers for both Au Pairs and host families using ”Internet only platforms” where there is no self-regulation at all. Using an Internet matching site there is no agency to mediate and oversee an Au Pair placement ensuring the rules of the Cultural Exchange are followed. There is no support on offer to the Au Pair or to the host family, no benefits for the Au Pair or for the host family, no emergency helpline or agency number to call if the Au Pair or host family are having problems and in need of assistance.
We are grateful to both Dr Cox & Dr Busch for exposing these findings as it really does reinforce BAPAA’s ongoing concerns relating to the internet recruitment of Au Pairs.

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