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!

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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!

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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 🙂

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

Great Selection of Au Pair Candidates Available

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At Smartaupairs, we work closely with a wide network of partner agencies both in Europe as well as in Canada & Australia.

We can therefore offer a great selection of au pairs to match your family requirements; whether the requirement is to have a native speaker to assist with homework, a French candidate to help your child in his/her language studies or perhaps a male au pair to join in your child’s sports practise.

To view a snapshot of candidates currently looking for a host family, please click here

As you may see, many of our au pairs have practical training experience with children as well as special talents ranging from sports to arts and music.