Smartaupairs Au Pair Survey Results & Testimonials 2017

We recently asked our au pairs to complete a survey to give us some feedback – here’s an overview of the results and some of the lovely testimonials we received:

So far I am more than happy with smartaupairs. Doesn’t matter what problems or questions there, they always try to find a solution or answer and you really feel the support! It’s good to know that you have someone to talk to.” – Leah B

I am really pleased with smartaupairs as my agency! Some of the aupairs I met have – even if they came with an agency – problems with their families and no one to talk to for help. I think, smartaupairs is doing a really good job here because in the three month since my arrival, I got several mails from you, checking if I am okay or have any questions. That gives a good feeling of having some backup – just in case! 🙂” – Melanie W

This experience will change my life, I mean is already changing!! I have new friends of different parts of the world, I have an other family that love me, I have now 2 little brothers and one little sister, I live in a wonderful house and I am feeling good! I would recommend this experience to anyone!!!!!” – Giulia Z

You have a very lovely and caring team and I always knew that I can contact you with my questions and problems.” – Vanessa D

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97% of au pairs were happy with Smartaupairs as their UK agency.

98% of au pairs felt that they could contact Smartaupairs or their sending agency in their home country if they had a question or problem. We are really pleased to hear this as it’s very important to us that au pairs speak up if they are in need of some extra support during their placement.

94% of au pairs felt that they received sufficient communication from Smartaupairs. After the au pair’s arrival, our communication includes follow up phone calls and emails, invitations to our regular au pair events and interaction via our social media channels.

100% of au pairs felt mostly or full prepared for their au pair placement. We work with top partner agencies overseas who play a huge role in preparing their candidates for life as an au pair. We have also worked hard to develop our Au Pair Guide over the years which is sent to au pairs before their arrival as a source of information to guide them through their placement.

The most popular resources for finding friends were Facebook and our Whatsapp groups, followed by our au pair area lists and BAPAA resources (website & app).

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We also received some lovely feedback on our team:

Gianna, thank you for supporting me! Very kind and I always felt like she really cares 🙂” – Judith B

I talked to a few persons from the agency. Everyone was friendly and I felt like they really want to help me.” – Jonas P

There were several members of the agency, who I was in contact with, be it over email or at meetups, and they were all always very kind and supportive.” – Marie V

I was in contact with Simge quite often and I’m very happy about that, she is a great help!” – Anna S

Simge: she is super helpful, very friendly and no matter how often I called the agency she was always very patient and supporting 🙂” – Nadine P

Thank you to all au pairs who took part in our survey, we have found your feedback extremely helpful. We continue to develop our service to ensure that our au pairs have the best possible experience in the UK!

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BAPAA Welcome Event Photos

Wow, 500 au pairs! That is how many au pairs attended the Sunday gone in the London BAPAA Au Pair Welcome Event. The event brought together au pairs from many different BAPAA agencies for some fun activities, socialising and above all finding new friends.

Tuuli, Smartaupairs Director was the host for the day, joined by Simge and Gianna from Smartaupairs team and other helpers from seven other BAPAA agencies.

Here are some of our snaps from the day 🙂

Saturday 24th June 2017- Urban Food Fest

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Thank you to all the au pairs who got together at Urban food fest in Shoreditch! !  One of the many events organized by smartaupairs ❤ They were all so nice!

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We all gathered at Allen Gardens at 3.30 pm. We had different activities in the park to get to know one another. After spending an hour in the park we decided to go to the Urban food fest which is located in Shoreditch. The au pair had different nationalities: Dutch, German, Spanish and French. We even met someone that travelled to 5 different continents. 🙂

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When we arrived at the Food Fest, we had so many choices that we didn’t know what to eat: pizza, falafel wrap, fried chicken wrap, bubble waffle, burritos, organic food… Some cocktails were even served in jars.

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We talked all afternoon seated around a wood table,  talking about the different problems au pairs can go through during their stay, what they like about their placement, but also about cultural differences… So many different topics. Some au pairs are going back home soon – in less then one month and they were quite sad to finish their placement as becoming an au pair is such a beautiful experience.

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The good part is, all the au pairs made new friends. They discovered some common points and shared their life with each other.

We did not leave the Urban food fest until 8.00 pm showing how much fun we had just talking together.

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It was a beautiful experience to meet new people but also a beautiful culinary experience. If you have the time you should definitely go with your au pair friends, it is open every Saturday! – Or you can just join us for our next event. 🙂

Smartaupairs is always trying to get it right for families and au pairs!

Hope to see you at our next event so we can all have fun together 😀

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Blog article by Isabelle (Left) and Aurelie (Right)

Smartaupairs

Sunday 14th May 2017 : The BAPAA Au Pair River Cruise Event

Last Sunday, the annual BAPAA River Cruise event was THE place to be (for an au pair at least)  😉

Starting at 11 am, approximately 300 au pairs were present ( Thank you so much for coming!). It was a great opportunity for au pairs to meet new friends who are going through the same experience as they are. So many different nationalities were present: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Australian …

Furthermore we had the chance to see historic landmarks throughout our journey : The House of Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, the London Bridge, … As one of the crew member was giving us crucial details about popular places around the river.

Waving at by-passers on boats and on bridges, we finally arrived at Greenwich where a lot of au pairs visited the market, went to pubs, …

We sat on the grass, talking to each other, discovering each others culture and experience. It was really nice, some exchanged their best tips on how to be a good au pair (even if their is no guide for that).

After spending the afternoon in the park, we finally went back to the boat and returned to where our journey begun. 

It was such a special day for us, we are grateful that so many au pairs came and had a great experience.

If you couldn’t come it’s okay there will always be other events!!

I hope you had a great experience during the event and hope to see you at the next BAPAA event , or simply at the next Smartaupairs event!

Smartaupairs is always trying to get it right for families and au pairs! 🙂

Best Wishes

Isabelle (left) & Aurelie (right)

Smartaupairs

Smartaupair of the Year 2016-7- Kirby from AUSTRALIA!!

Each year, we select one of our au pairs (based on host family nominations) to win the lovely Smartaupairs of the Year title. With a little bit of a drum roll, we would like to announce that…

Smartaupair of the Year 2016-7 winner is KIRBY FROM AUSTRALIA 🙂 

A MASSIVE WELL DONE TO KIRBY!!

Kirby has been living with her host family in Kent for over a year now (and will continue for another). She will receive a £200 gift card to Boots (her chosen retailer) 🙂

Of course, in our eyes, there are SO so many equally amazing au pairs out there, doing a fantastic job – and being a great “big sister/brother” to their host children so we also wanted to take this chance to also say a big thank you to ALL au pairs (whether nominated or not) for their effort and motivation, you are all great!!!

Below you may find both the host family nomination & Kirby’s own response along with some lovely photographs of Kirby & the host family. 

AuPair of the year award nomination: Kirby 

I first met our AuPair Kirby over Skype in February.  Being a single mum with twin 4 year old boys – we have a very busy household with a lot of energy and sometimes noise! I work full time – mainly from home, but need space and quiet.  I had a clear view on the things we needed as a family – along with being one of our family, loving, caring, organised, full of energy, the ability to be a great cook and have a touch of craziness (in a good way) was a must.  Kirby’s second interview with the boys on skype wow-ed us all – she was dressed as a pirate and kept the twins captivated for over 45 minutes – which is a miracle!

We immediately felt determined that she was “the one!” and flights were booked and she arrived from Sydney in March. For someone who has had to apply for a passport for the first time, she settled with ease and started her morning “walkabout” to gain her bearings, walking more than 5 miles each morning before breakfast. The boys fell in love with her, fighting to be her best friend.  The fact that she is so much fun, full of enthusiasm for everything – even the mundane – has led them to adore her and being an expert on Super Heros has added to their delight in our new AuPair.

Life with twin boys is very difficult to imagine, but Kirby has risen to the challenge with ease.  She copes easily with any conflict: able to distract them with other things. We both work on manners and school work together and Kirby brings exciting and interesting ways of looking at things.

Kirby is full of boundless energy – which is perfect for two very spirited twin boys, she designs boot camp exercises and sports in the park, has taught them how to bake the most scrumptious cakes and biscuits, built wands to make giant bubbles in the garden and helped teach them how to swim:  no day is ever the same.  There are treasure hunts, train track building, domino trails and interesting games to play to improve the boys’ reading, writing and numeracy.  In the background, she ensures the house is running smoothly, the laundry is done and the children’s meals are delicious and highly nutritious.  She has never been anything other than happy and full of joy, a pleasure for all the family. She is caring, loving and kind: often I overhear her reading to the boys and the little discussions they have – precious memories.

The children started school in September and Kirby has seen them easily through this transition and walks to school with them daily.  They always burst through the door after home time, often delighting in telling me what they found in the hedgerows from their walk home, as much as what they did at school! Kirby has developed a great rapport with the teachers and handles dropping each twin into their own class with the right books, gloves, hats, and so on – with ease. She never needs asking, floors get mopped, laundry gets done and the salads are chopped and in the fridge – it is as though she reads my mind.

Meanwhile, I have made a dear friend; she is like an older daughter to me.  Kirby and I will cook together – both with a love of cooking and healthy food, we have the same tastes in movies too and when the children are sleeping, we have made our way through quite a few films.  Kirby has joined us on our summer holiday and spent time in the French countryside with my parents and the boys.

Christmas this year saw a bout of tummy bug for the family including grandparents, and Kirby maintained her happy and energetic self, amongst the washing and Dettol, she ensured the boys had a fabulous Christmas despite it all and helped us all enjoy the break between Christmas and New Year. Santa even delivered her a special sack of presents – as she was on the good list too!

This year – both Kirby and I have signed up for the London Marathon to run for a charity; the long run training will doubtless require friends to step in and help with childcare, but we are working around each other to fit in our training plans.  It will be an amazing experience and one we both will never forget.  Her mother and Aunt have already visited this year – so this time – her brother and father shall be visiting, which will make our day all the more wonderful.

Kirby is truly one of the family here, the boys adore her and I don’t know what we will do when it is her time to return to Australia.  She has been such a positive influence on all of us, including me – we really hit the jackpot when we interviewed that pirate on Skype all those months ago.

Kind Regards

Claire

Kirby’s response – bound to make you smile!!  

We love her down to earth honest approach – let’s face it, there are days which are harder than others, all part of life!

Honestly, where do I even BEGIN..

I guess from the first night I talked to Claire and the boys over Skype – my initial thought being ‘Man, what have I gotten myself into! I hope I can match their awesome level of crazy…’

Ha! That thought was immediately wiped away when I met them in person…these were definitely my people.

I touched down in Jolly old England. Ahhh, I remember it well – my main thought being ‘Damn! 9 degrees! That’s nearly snow temperature! HA! Wasn’t I an idiot. Skip past a short car trip back to my new home of two years…and as soon as I stepped through the door and laid spread eagled on the sofa, I knew this wouldn’t be JUST a house to live in, but a mighty fine home.

As the weeks passed, what I first thought were going to be two, little, golden-haired gremlins, turned out to be two of the coolest little guys I’ve ever looked after, and it has been my pleasure to look after them. Of course we have the odd ‘GAH, YOU’RE DRIVING ME ABSOLUTELY NUTS!’ moments, but come on, what family doesn’t. And that’s what they have become to me. I’ve seen William and Alex go through the transition from ‘little school’ to primary school and it has been AMAZING seeing how much they’ve matured into top little gentlemen. I’ll ask them about their day, what they had for lunch, that seems to be their favourite part, and mostly the big question of ‘Ooooo, who’s your girlfriiiiend?’. I feel that not only will any future girlfriends have to go through Claire, but they will definitely have to pass the ‘Kirby test of awesomeness’, because there is no doubt, that in 20 years time, i’ll STILL be in constant contact with my England family.

Ahhhh, and Claire, what can I say about Claire, she is an absolute stunning human being, with a deadset pistol of a personality. She can make me laugh, fire me up when I’m feeling sluggish and always has a good story for me. The amount of times it’s felt like we have been on the same brainwave is insane, it’s as if she can tell what I’m thinking and I can tell what she’s thinking, whether it’s about what to have for dinner, what TV show to watch, what activity to do with the boys and even the occasional ‘ahhh, does your butt hurt from running today, as well?’

This year was my first year away during the Christmas period, and yes, my mother in Australia made very sure that I was at least a little bit homesick…BUT, that was short lived after waking up to my own personalised Santa sack filled with everything screaming Tangerine (inside joke) and watching the boys excitement as they opened their own presents…of course the real kicker was drinking Buck’s Fizz in the kitchen with Claire and laughing about anything and everything, while preparing my first ever British Christmas lunch. It was an amazing memory I’ll never forget, with a family I’ll never forget, Claire really is MUCH more than just a host, she has been my family while I’ve been here, and I’m sure I’ve been like family to her.

Now up to date in the household, we’ve just welcomed a puppy called Narla, she is REALLY testing all of us at the moment, but I have no doubts that we can handle anything now. I am very keen to see what this last year brings, but I’m also very sad that I only have one year left with this absolute goldmine of a family, I’m so glad I picked this family and would do it again a million times over 🙂

 

Smartaupairs Au Pair Survey Results & Testimonials 2017

We recently did a survey with our au pairs – here is some of their
feedback 🙂 

LeonieSmartaupairs gave me the best match of family you could have! I’m so happy with my family and the support from Smartaupairs!”
Leonie from Germany
 

I‘m glad Smartaupairs was my agency in the UK. I felt fully informed, the guide was very eliza1helpful! I spent the best summer in London with an amazing host family. Thank you! x”
Eliza from Poland

“I am really happy with mariella1the way Smartaupairs is looking after me. I feel like I could email or call them anytime if I were not getting along with my host family. Luckily I am very happy with the family I work for and live with”
Mariella from Germany

“Keep up the good work and giving us all the informajenny1tion we need. I’m really glad that my year will be a good one because of Smartaupairs.”
Jenny from Germany

Great team! Really helping with problems etc! Such a good experience that I went for a second time 🙂
Britt from the Netherlands

“It was really easy to find the perfect larissa1host family with Smartaupairs. You had great matches.  Thank you very much!”
Larissa from Germany

 

Comments on our team: 

“Robyn Smith – She always got back to me , very helpful and great at being in touch”

Tuuli – when I had to leave the family because they were awful. Tuuli was very helpful and caring”

“I was in contact with Sandra, she is really nice and she did her job pretty well.” 

“I have been in contact with Gladys Ngadao. She has been really nice and helpful, when i needed some help.”

“I’ve had a lot of contact with Veerle (which was nice because I’m Dutch as well) :)”

“Salla contacted me several times making sure I am feeling good and everything is working out right. She helped me looking for a language school as well. She is a really kind and friendly person! Thanks so much for all your support!!”“I was in contact with different people and they were all super nice and helpful! :)”

“I have been in contact with Tuuli most of the time. She has been an amazing help!”

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The below questions asked whether the au pairs felt they could easily contact us for help during their placement, whether overall they were happy with their choice of agency (Smartaupairs or sending agency abroad), and whether they felt the overall communication was sufficient.

It is important for us to ensure we are approachable for our au pairs and tailor our support based on our au pair feedback.
support
We work with top agencies abroad who supply au pairs excellent support material already at the very early stages of their application, In addition, Smartaupairs provides the au pairs an extensive au pair guide & au pair listings and lots of other tips for connecting with other au pairs
The above question addresses how prepared the au pairs felt ahead/during their au pair experience.
preparation
Other interesting stats:

studying

This statistic is perhaps a little surprising – there seems to be a near 50-50 division between those who do/do not attend a language course.

friends

Other means of finding friends which were mentioned were: meetup.com, family & previous au pair recommendations, language classes, excuses to meet app, smartaupairs own meetups & local au pair pub evenings for example.

We did also gather a list of recommended language classes which is issued directly to all confirmed au pairs along with our other support material 🙂

Our Top 5 Tips for Finding Au Pair Friends in the UK

Welcome to all au pairs who joined their host family in January! 🙂

An important part of settling in is finding friends in your area. Here are our top 5 tips on how to find friends in the UK.

  1. Join the Smartaupairs Facebook group

Our Facebook group is the perfect place to meet other au pairs in the UK. Au pairs often post here when they first arrive to say ‘hello’ and to find out who is living close to them. Plenty of au pairs are looking for friends here, whether they would like some company on a weekend trip overseas or are looking for someone to meet for coffee. Only au pairs placed through Smartaupairs are accepted into the group, so you can be sure of who you are speaking with.

  1. Use our ‘County Lists’ to find the au pairs who live closest to you

We email the relevant list(s) to au pairs upon confirmation of their placement. You can always access them through the Facebook group too, where they are regularly updated. You will be able to see the au pairs who live closest to you and make contact with them via email.

  1. Join aupairfriends.com

This is a great website, which all au pairs placed through a BAPAA agency have access to. Therefore, if you are living in a slightly more rural location with fewer au pairs around, this could be a valuable resource for you. Register using our agency password.

  1. Download the Excuses to Meet app

Excuses to Meet have recently launched this app, designed to make finding au pair friends much more convenient for you.

Again, you will need our agency password to register with the BAPAA au pairs group (please request this from our team – it does change from time to time due to security). There is also a wider au pair community which is available for all au pairs!

  1. Attend a Smartaupairs event

We regularly hold events for au pairs and you are invited to every one! These range from the big events such as an Introduction Day in September and Boat Trip on the Thames in May with other BAPAA agencies, to the smaller events, e.g. coffee mornings, a day trip to Canterbury, a picnic in one of the big London parks. Below you can see some photos from our recent events!

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