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 🙂

Where au pair?

So many au pairs like to be in a busy environment of a city or a town, as these places are generally easy to make friends with other au pairs, close to language classes and a social life. Some of the au pair favourites where we make regular placements are London & Greater London, Canterbury, Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, Brighton, Bournemouth, Colchester, Portsmouth, Southampton, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh, York and Harrogate.

Au pairs in the countryside or in a village usually settle very well if they have access to a car, also in their spare time, and are close to a town or city.

We also often have requests from au pairs to be in coastal towns, especially those known for good language schools such as Margate and Ramsgate. We also get requests for Hastings, Blackpool, Norfolk, trendy Brighton (again), but also the picture-postcard villages of Devon and Cornwall are popular with au pairs.

The location of the host family is often very important to an au pair, especially before arrival. We always try to explain that we try to match people, not places, but we do appreciate that the location plays a bit part, especially for some candidates.

Pictures this, a Spanish au pair, who at home can walk out of her house every evening and meet up with friends outside her front door, walk straight into town/city center and meet up with yet more young people, for example in places like our popular short break destination Barcelona, would find it hard to settle in the English countryside, where the car must be used for every journey and meetings are more likely to be planned in advance.

In general, the above applies to Spanish au pairs, Italian au pairs and Turkish au pairs the most. Also, if you have travelled to Turkey for example, you may have noticed what it would be like to live in the ‘Turkish countryside’. It is mostly empty, the main exceptions being elderly people, who continued to live in the countryside whilst the younger generation moved into town. So for a Turkish au pair, the countryside brings up pictures of old people growing vegetables, so not very appealing for an au pair experience!

In general our most flexible au pairs are our German au pairs and our Dutch au pairs. They are very open and often already speak good English. This means they are less daunted by the ‘task’ of making friends and also they tend to be confident drivers, so provided they can have use of the car, they are usually quite flexible about their location.

French au pairs from small towns, countryside or Alpine regions (!) are also usually fine with a less urban location.

We also often have au pairs who ask to be placed with a family with horses. ‘Horse au pair’ is getting more popular for girls who want to be like a live-in groom with the chance to do lots of horse riding but usually the au pairs are happiest placed in a family where they can look after children and help with the horses also. So far we placed Dutch au pairs and German au pairs with interest in horses and our Swedish au pair agency tells us that many of their candidates love riding too!

And then we have many male au pairs, also usually very flexible about the location and confident drivers. Au pair couples are mostly placed in rural locations, as these are the homes where often one au pair can help with the children and the other au pair can help in the garden and with the animals for example. They have each other for company and will be less concerned about meeting other au pairs.

Final note on location, no matter where you are placed, smartaupairs will help you to find au pair friends nearby. We share an online service www.aupair2aupair.com and every au pair who is placed though our service received a passport to register. This allows you to search by postcode which au pairs are close to you and contact them to arrange a meeting. This service is shared with all member agencies from the British Au Pair Agencies Association, so we have au pairs on this service from more than 25 agencies making it a safe place to meet other au pairs, first online and then in person!