For sure, the one year I spent in Ireland as an Au pair was the best of my life! I made so many friends and I’m still in frequent contact with most of them. The agency, Au pair Service Europe, was always there and looked after us very well. We could always turn to Joachim without hesitation if we needed him. We had some great trips which allowed us to really get to know Ireland.
The weekly get-togethers gave us the opportunity to meet up and discuss our daily experiences. They were always a great laugh!
But being an Au pair is so much more than just having fun – you learn so much about your own personality, your attitude to life and the values you hold dear. I got to know very much about the Irish mentality and way of life this year and I absolutely loved it!
During my stay in Ireland my host family became my family and our lives were a mutual giving and taking. We treated each other with tolerance, respect and, above all, love. I know that we will stay friends for a lifetime!
This question is a difficult one to answer. No two households operate in the same way. One Au pair might, for example, be in charge of an eight-year-old boy when he returns from school, give him his lunch and supervise him doing his homework. Another Au pair might have to drive two children to playschool in the morning, and look after a third child of 9 after school. Some Au pairs do vacuuming, ironing and cooking. Others might do less. Still other Au pairs might occasionally change nappies for babies and help put them to bed in the early evening. All of the duties mentioned here would fall under the category of light housework around the home. But remember, it is up to you to discuss your duties with your host parents. You should expect to help out a reasonable amount of hours per week. On the other hand, though, if you feel that what you are expected to do is unreasonable, you must discuss it with your host family before things turn sour. The best strategy is to be honest and to say what is on your mind if something is bothering you.
Remember that being an Au pair is not the same as having a salaried job. Rather, it is an opportunity to spend time in another country as part of a cultural exchange. It will provide you with an opportunity of becoming fluent in English and sharing family life with people who will become lifelong friends. As part of that family, you will play the role of a responsible “older sister”. Consequently, the payment you receive will be like substantial pocket money, rather than a salary. Our host families are required to pay their Au pair a minimum pocket money of €100 – €120 per week. How much pocket money a host family pays and what other additional perks they would give their Au pair can vary widely. Some Au pairs come to individual arrangements with their host families, occasionally receiving extra payment for extra hours worked (if, for example, both parents must work late) or whatever. Some host families pay for the gym membership of their Au pair, others take out car insurance for their Au pair, or give them credit for their Irish mobile phone.
In most cases the Au pair books her own flight from her home country to Ireland, choosing the nearest destination Airport to the family’s home.