Au Pairs Nominate Their Host Dads for our Father’s Day competition

We wish a HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all dads and host dads out there!

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As last year we asked our au pairs to nominate their host dads for our FATHER’S DAY COMPETITION. The au pairs had to tell us why their host dad is special for them and why they are so important in their actual experience as an au pair.  🙂

The winner of our competition is Cornelia, a German au pair 🙂

Hey there, I hope you are well.  Here is my little letter about my host dad Wes. I attached a photo, which I think describes really well what a great dad he is.
“Hey there, well I’d like to introduce my host dad Wes who’s doin‘ a fantastic job in my view.  He’s not only young at heart, but he is also a super reliable and supportive dad. Moreover, he’s always doing his best to make it for watching the boys‘ matches or school events even though he got loads of work to do. Honestly, I really admire this energetic enthusiasm after a long work day when he is still able to spend fun time with the boys, being patient with all of us, cooking fantastic dinners or entertaining us with the corniest jokes (no offense lol).
From the first moment on, when he picked me up from the airport, he did his best to make me feel as comfy as possible and  what shall I say? He succeeded in every way with his humorous warmth!
Well Wes, in case you read this I just want to say thank you! Thanks for these ritual cups of tea and the interesting never- ending and sometimes foolish conversations about everything and anything, thanks for helping me out with so many things I couldn’t manage on my own, thanks for all the trust and confidence you have in me, thanks for all this good advice and encouraging words and thanks for being such a good host dad! Yep u are truly awesome and definitely deserve biggest recognition! Have a happy Father’s Day ! “

What a great way to express her feelings!

However, we had lovely letters from other participants as well. It seems like your host dads are amazing fathers.

Runners up below!

We thank all of you for participating.

From Alexia – German`

There is no better host dad than mine: Jas!

After I had a very bad experience in my old host family I felt lost. It was hard for me to keep open minded but than I met the Manns. Jas promised me to look after me and to make sure that I’ll have the best experience ever. The most important thing for him is that everyone is happy.

He is always kind and cheerful. Jas is the best possible dad even if he had a long day and the children are a bit naughty he stays calm and fair. It doesn’t matter what time it is: if it is night and I am scared to walk home from the train station or if it is day and I need help with anything. Jas is 24/7 supportive.

Although he is very busy he is always thoughtful. That is one of his most impressive characteristics.

Jas is my superhero host dad and I can never thank him enough for what he did for me. He kept his promise and made the au pair experience the best of my life. It makes me very sad to leave them in July but I know that they will always be a part of me.

Thank you Jas (and Lynda of course)

Happy father‘s day!

Alexa xx

From Johanna – German

My host dad is the best, because he kills all the spiders in my rooms at any time. Last week he drove 20 minutes to help me unpark my car, because I got boxed in. He got up, although he had a sore head from drinking the night before.

He shows a lot of dry humour towards his kids, what makes me laugh a lot. He is a loving and kind dad! Thank you Jason!
So many good words for their host dads!
Long or short, all letters show how important a father can be for us!
The Smartaupairs Team wishes all host dads a very HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. ❤
Enjoy your day! 🙂
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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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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 🙂

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.

Photo Competition Winners Announced!

The annual Smartaupairs photo competition was opened earlier on in the month, when many au pairs joined us for the BAPAA Boat Trip.

Since then, we have received a number of lovely photos and have had a tough time deciding on our winners! Finally, we have selected Britt from the Netherlands and Monique from Germany, and both will receive a £20 Amazon voucher.

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

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My first two weeks as an au pair

Mia, 19, is from Denmark and on 27th August 2013, she joined her host family in London.

She wanted to share with us the experience of her first two weeks with her host family as she has had such a great time and found them to be particularly welcoming.

Here’s what she had to say:

“On the 27th of August I went on the plain to London, it was my first time alone on a plane, so I was quit nervous. My mom drove me to the airport, where she said goodbye,  we hugged and I cried a little. It was a weird feeling to say goodbye, but at the same time I new that my stay in London would be a really good adventure!

My host mom and her child, Aiden who is almost 5 years old,  were waiting for me at Heathrow Airport in London, they had brought me flowers and Aiden had made me a ‘’welcome card’’ with glitter for me. Really sweet of him. When we got to the car I went to the right side, but then my host mom asked me if I wanted to drive, and then I looked into the car and saw that I was standing at the drivers side. I laughed and said no! I quickly went to the left side instead. It is so weird that everything is opposite when it comes to the traffic, but you get used to it very quickly.

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When we got to the house in Brixton, we got some champagne, Aiden got children´s champagne, to celebrate me coming to London. We sat down at the kitchen table and got something to eat, we talked and it was really nice. It was a bit late and Aiden had to go to sleep, so I gave them my presents, I had brought from Denmark, before he went to bed. My host mom got Medusa cupcakes (danish design) and Aiden got playmobile pirates. They loved their presents and we had so much fun playing with it, Aiden almost started crying that is how much he laughed.

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The next day My host mom and Aiden took me around Brixton, so I could see how it was. I saw all the nice stores, the Brixton Village with a lot of really nice food and and restaurants. We also sat down to get a bite of food and later we got Italian ice cream. I also got to see the cinema and the library, where we went to read some books. Aiden really likes the library and he didn’t want to leave, so his mom allowed him to take out some books. Later when Aiden was at his dad’s house, the girls from across the street knocked on our door and they gave us some birthday cake. Really nice of them! Me and my host mom then went to make coffee and hot chocolate. Afterwards I went to unpack my stuff.

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Thursday was my first day alone with Aiden, it was really fun, we played a lot of board games, read a lot of books and played with his new pirates. He is so easy, and I’m so glad that I don’t have big problems with him. We also read a Planes magazine, because at 14.00 we were going to the cinema to see Planes. My host mom met us there, and it was a really nice activity to do together and I love going to the cinema.

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On my first Friday my host mom had a party for me, where she invited the neighbours and some of her friends. It was really nice to meet all these new people, I also got to meet one of my host mom’s friend’s au pair, which was really nice. Me and Aiden had made cupcakes for the party, it was really fun, and he loves to help in the kitchen. We had a really good time decorating them.

Saturday Aiden was at his dad’s house, so me and my host mom went to the Brockwell Park to play rounders with some of her friends (The park is also the perfect place to go for a run). It was so much fun, everybody  was so sweet. It was so lovely to get out and see the park, and to play around with a group of grown-ups! We made two teams, Team Lohan and Team Britney. I was on Team Lohan and we won! After the game we went home to the people who planned it all, we got something to drink, eat and I got to taste Pimm’s, which is a popular drink in the UK. Afterwards me and my host mom went to see Siro-A, which is a group of six performers, who dance and mime with a lot of really cool video, light and sound effects.  After that my host mom showed me China Town and The Ritz.

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 Tuesday was Aiden’s first day at school. He looks so cute in his uniform. His school is only 5 min. away, so it is really easy to follow him to it. Tuesday was a really hot day, so when Aiden got home, we had a water fight, everyone got really wet, but it was so much fun.

Wednesday I joined the gym, it is a really good gym and it has a swimming pool! At the evening we went to a Portuguese restaurant with my host mom’s parents, they are really sweet, and her father is so funny.

Thursday we went to a park after school with a really nice playground. My host mom invited a mom and her three kids back to our house for a playdate. (Her middle child is in the same class as Aiden). The two girls from across the street came over as well. While Aiden had been at school I had filled up his swimming pool, so all the kids just went in it.

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All the kids splashed water at me, it was so much fun and a really good day. In the evening I went to football practice for the first time, I had been searching online for a club I could play in, so I could keep playing football. I met some really nice girls from the area, they were all very welcoming and friendly. Sometimes after practice they go to a bar for a drink, so I think it is a really good way to meet people and to get out and experience new stuff.

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On my second weekend  me and my host mom went to Bray near Maidenhead to visit a friend of hers. We went out for dinner at the Heston Blumenthal’s place, where we got some really delicious food, a couple of good drinks and afterwards I went clubbing with his daughter and her friend. We had such a good time, and it was fun to see how they do it in the UK. It’s a little bit annoying that the clubs close earlier than what I’m used to in Denmark, but luckily we had a blast anyway.

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I have no problems with my host-family, the kid is so easy and it is very rare he gets mad or starts crying. For the most it’s when he has lost a game against his mom! I’m already starting to feel like a part of the family, and I’m so glad that I haven’t felt homesick yet. Of course I miss them all back in Denmark and sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on stuff, but I already know that this year will be so special and I will get so many new experiences, which I wouldn’t get back home. I have already made a lot of plans with other au pairs, and I can’t wait to see more of London and go on new adventures with them.

Mia

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