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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Photo Competition Winner Announced!

The annual Smartaupairs photo competition was opened at the end of May, when many au pairs joined us for the BAPAA Boat Trip.

Since then, we have received a number of lovely photos and it’s been really difficult to choose a winner! Finally, we selected Marlijn from the Netherlands who will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.

Marlijn Wibbelink

Here’s what Marlijn said about her photo:

We are 5 Dutch girls and on 27th April we celebrate ‘Koningsdag’ (Kingsday) in The Netherlands and this is a BIG event. This used to be ‘Koninginnedag’ (Queensday) but when our queen abdicated we changed it. We had to miss this huge event in the Netherlands but luckily the Dutch people weren’t forgotten in The UK so we had a great night ! We even went in the tube like this, a lot of English people were looking like : ‘what is this’ haha ! We had a lot of fun 🙂

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

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 🙂

 

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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.

Results from our Au Pair Survey are in!

A member of the Smartaupairs team contacts every au pair in the very early stages of their placement to see how they are settling in. As the majority of our au pairs begin their placements in August/September, we also sent out a survey to all of them this year. The survey had some additional questions for the au pairs and allowed them to give us more specific feedback. We wanted to share the results with you…

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Firstly, a huge 94% of au pairs said that they are getting along either fantastically or very well with their new host family.

We asked our au pairs how they felt about the location of their host family and accommodation in their home. 86% of au pairs were happy with the location and 99% with their accommodation.

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Improving English is an incredibly important factor for the majority of our European au pairs. 88% said that they had already seen an improvement in their English level in the first two weeks of their placement.

As an agency, one of the most common questions we receive from au pairs already placed with their host family is how they can find friends in the area. This is something we are able to offer plenty of assistance with. In our survey, 86% of au pairs said that they had already found friends locally during their first two weeks in the UK. The other 14% were given lots of guidance as to how they can meet other people in their area!

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Finally, we asked the au pairs if they are satisfied with Smartaupairs. We are very proud that 99% of them replied that yes, they are very satisfied.

We are glad to hear that our au pairs are so happy with the program and remind them that we are here to offer support/answer questions whenever they need us!

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!

BAPAA Au Pair Boat Trip 2013

Smartaupairs attended the annual BAPAA boat trip in London last Sunday, along with hundreds of au pairs placed all over the UK.

Despite the typical English weather, a great time was had by all!

The boat departed from Festival Pier at 11am and after a two hour trip past Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and other beautiful historical buildings and famous bridges, arrived in Greenwich.

We visited Greenwich Market and had some lunch next to the river.

We love attending this fabulous event and know that it is a great opportunity for au pairs to make lifelong friends.

Please see below some photos from the day!

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