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.

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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 🙂

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Annual Au Pair River Cruise – Book NOW!

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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Welcome to our new interns, Jasmin and Frederike!

It’s been a very busy time of year at the Smartaupairs office lately – we welcomed two new interns to our team earlier on this month, and also said goodbye to Cristina, who was our intern from March.

Interns play a very important role in our team, ensuring that au pairs are well supported during their search and subsequent placement. Our two new team members are both students from Germany; Frederike studies English at the University of Oldenburg and is in the first year of her Master’s degree. Jasmin studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz and is currently in the second year of her Business Law degree.

Jasmin actually was an au pair herself for 18 months in America and Frederike’s family always used to have au pairs when she was younger. They are therefore already familiar with the au pair programme and can relate well to our au pairs.

Both of our new interns like learning about new cultures and travelling. Whilst Jasmin spent 18 months in America, Frederike travelled to Australia and New Zealand.

Jasmin and Frederike are enjoying their time in England and want to see as much of the country as possible during their time here. They already have a trip to Brighton planned for this weekend 🙂

 

JandF

 

We’ve unfortunately had to say our goodbyes to Cristina this month, too. She had been our intern since March and was a great support to our au pairs. Here’s what Cristina had to say about her internship with us:

“I always tried to help the au pairs as much as I could. And every email I got from my Au pairs saying thank you, made me feel that I was doing my job well. I really enjoyed having my own space and department in this small office. This independent work and responsibility made me feel part of the team. During my studies over the last few years I had to do a lot of internships, but I have never developed myself as much as I have done with Smartaupairs. One of the reasons is that I had to prioritise my work. Although I grew up in two totally different cultures (my parents are Spanish but I was born in Germany and have always lived there), I became more cosmopolitan in the last six months. I was dealing with people from all over the world, so I could learn a lot about the behavior from different nationalities.

Beside my personal development, I also learnt a lot about a great programme, which gives the chance for young people to discover a new culture and country. And in addition gives the chance to improve the language skills, which could be a big help for the future. I had the possibility to discover a new field of work. I also learned that in Germany there is a big demand for this programme. I am sure that this internship will open lots of doors in the future for me.

I am very grateful that I got the chance to become a part of Smartaupairs and that I could learn so much about myself and other people. My great thanks go to Chloe who was always very patient with me. She took her time to explain things and she always believed in me that I could make it. She was not only my supervisor, she was also a friend.”

If Smartaupairs can help you to find your next au pair, please drop us an email (info@smartaupairs.com), give us a call (08009178166) or register here.

Photo Competition Winners Announced!

The annual Smartaupairs photo competition was opened earlier on in the month, when many au pairs joined us for the BAPAA Boat Trip.

Since then, we have received a number of lovely photos and have had a tough time deciding on our winners! Finally, we have selected Britt from the Netherlands and Monique from Germany, and both will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.

Thank you to everyone who sent a photo to us – here are the winners and some of our favourites!

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Smartaupairs Introduction Day 2013

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Every September, the Smartaupairs UK team organises an Introduction Day for au pairs who have recently started their placements.

This year, we were joined by just over 100 au pairs! The purpose of the Introduction Day is to recap on some of the basic information about being an au pair and to help the au pairs to meet friends and make the most of their time in the UK.

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As an example, the topics we covered included:

  • advice on practicalities, such as registering with GP/opening a bank account
  • how to deal with homesickness
  • the importance of good communication with the host family
  • ideas for entertaining the children
  • how to find friends

We were also joined by Tom from International Friends who spoke about the day trips and weekend tours that they offer at a discounted price for our au pairs!

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Afterwards we were joined by many au pairs at a local bar. This proved to be a great opportunity for them to get to know each other in a less formal setting.

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The Smartaupairs team thoroughly enjoyed meeting the au pairs at our Introduction Day and we hope that all those who attended found it useful!

Welcome Mareike – Our New Intern at Smartaupairs UK!

Mareike joined the Smartaupairs team last week and will be supporting us as an intern until the end of January 2014.

Mareike

Mareike is currently in the third year of her Leisure and Tourism Management degree in Stralsund, Germany and is looking forward to being part of our committed team.

During her placement at Smartaupairs, Mareike seeks to gain considerable practical experience in a business environment and hopes to make a meaningful contribution to our agency.

Mareike’s native language is German and she has studied English for more than 12 years. Additionally she is eager to improve her Spanish skills.

In her free time, Mareike enjoys travelling around Europe and learning about new cultures, playing volleyball and spending time with her family and friends.

After finishing her Bachelor’s degree and before continuing with a Master’s degree in Service Management, Mareike would like to return to Cape Town in South Africa where she spent her exchange year in 2007/08.