10 Tips For Finding a Foreign Au Pair
Having a foreign au pair can be a wonderful cultural experience for kids, and open their eyes to life outside of the United States. Although there are many positive aspects of having a foreign au pair, actually finding one can be difficult. Below are ten tips to keep in mind when looking for a foreign au pair.
- Make sure an au pair agency is legitimate. U.S. au pair agencies are required to be run by the U.S. State Department. If an agency claims to not be connected with the government, the agency is probably a scam.
- Mention living space. Au pairs looking for work will be much more interested in living with a family who has plenty of space. Having a separate bedroom for an au pair is important.
- Find an au pair who wants a cultural experience. Foreign au pairs are often motivated by a desire to travel to the United States, and as a result are not as concerned with making much money. Many foreign au pairs are satisfied with working for room and board and a minimal monthly stipend.
- Decide what level English fluency is preferred. Most au pair agencies guarantee their au pairs are competent in English. Families who are willing to help a candidate learn English may be able to pay the au pair less by offering English lessons as one benefit.
- Decide if a particular native language is desired. Families who would like their children to learn a specific language, such as Spanish, may want to find an au pair who speaks that language so children can learn from a native speaker.
- Get to know a prospective au pair over email and Skype. Speaking with a potential au pair before they arrive and finding out more information about them is a good way to make sure an au pair is quality, and get a feel for his or her personality.
- Be open minded. Families who do not have very stringent requirements in mind may be more successful in finding a quality au pair. While having certain standards is important, small personality or lifestyle differences could provide learning experiences.
- Be patient. Sometimes finding a good au pair can be a long process. Au pairs from foreign countries will need visas before traveling. While waiting can be frustrating, it is part of the process and well worth it for a good au pair.
- Create a family profile that is an honest representation. Most au pair sites require families to make profiles. Be honest about things like smoking preferences, religion, and neatness. Honest answers will lead to a better match.
- Determine length of stay. Some au pairs plan to stay only half a year, while others want to stay longer than a year. Families should determine in advance what length of time they desire an au pair for so this can be taken into consideration.