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.

Continue reading

Chloe’s visit to Smartaupairs Australia

Our Communications Manager, Chloe, has just returned from a visit to the Smartaupairs Australia office in Sydney.

Hi! It’s Chloe here, the Communications Manager at Smartaupairs UK.

I have just returned from a trip to Sydney to visit Smartaupairs Australia. It was great to get a real insight into how things work in our Sydney office and I had a fabulous time meeting the team members, many for the first time! 

Chloe and the Smartaupairs Australia team

The excellent news is that our Australian team now consists of a department which is fully dedicated to placing Australian au pairs in the UK, Europe and the USA. For this reason, we expect the number of native English speaking au pairs on our books to significantly increase in 2014. Native English speakers are incredibly popular amongst our host families so we are delighted that we are able to meet the ever-increasing demand!

During my visit, I had the opportunity to see how the Australian candidates are interviewed, vetted and prepared for the au pair programme by our dedicated team in Sydney. It was a great chance for me to see how the whole process works, as usually our UK team is first introduced to the candidates once their application is completed and they are ready to begin their host family search.

As soon as a candidate has completed their application forms and chosen the country they would like to be placed in, they receive a country guide (which covers cultural differences, typical family life and general attitudes), safety guide and cook book.

The next step of the process is the interview which is carried out by a member of the Smartaupairs Australia team. Candidates are asked numerous questions, including their reasons for applying and their expectations of the programme. Our team then prepares a comprehensive interview report for the candidate’s profile, references are checked and medical and police checks are applied for.

Only once all documentation has been gathered and the candidate is fully vetted does our UK team begin introducing them to our host families.

The majority of Australian applicants are looking for a placement for their gap year between finishing school and starting university. When applying for the programme, the motivation of Australian candidates is of course different to that of the European candidates, as they do not have the benefit of learning a foreign language. My visit to our Sydney office has taught me that the Australian applicants have a wide variety of opportunities available to them in terms of gap year programmes. Those who chose to become an au pair do so because they genuinely wish to work with children and become part of a family in the UK. Therefore, they often have excellent childcare experience and plans to work with children in later life.

Many families are already interviewing Australian applicants for 2014 placements. If you would like to join them, please get in touch… there has not been a better time to find an Australian au pair for your family!

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info@smartaupairs.com

0800 917 8166

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.

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“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.”

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