Finding the Right Family for You

Finding the right family for you and what you would like to experience when you Aupair is so, so important. If you speak to any Aupair that had a bad experience, most of the time you will see that it was not the kids that were the problem but the family or living situation. For some Aupair’s, having every weekend off is important to them or using the car; having their own space and bathroom. You get the point.

What is important is that you need to know what you want but also need to be willing to compromise on it. Do you research on the area before you say yes. If you are a party girl and the family live in the middle of nowhere where you can’t party or dance, that may be a deal-breaker for you. At the end of the day, know what you want and what you are able to compromise on.

Here are some questions that you should consider asking the family to make sure that this will be a good match for you and them.


  1. What do mom and dad do for a living?
  2. Where do you work and what are your work hours?
  3. Would you say that you are a close family?
  4. What do you  like to do together as a family?
  5. How do you spend your weekends/off time?
  6. What are your interests & hobbies?
  7. Do you like to travel?
  8. Do you want me to travel with your family?
  9. What is the families like in your town?
  10. How would you describe your surrounding environment in your home?
  11. Do you want your au pair to be included in family events for example holidays?
  12. What’s your daily schedule like?
  13. am I required to pay for my own gas when I am not using the car for the kids?


  1. Do I need to cook for the kids/family?
  2. What are your expectations during mealtime?
  3. Will I have a curfew?
  4. Can I spend free time away from your home?
  5. Will I have access to the internet in the house and in my room?
  6. What are the rules for using the internet?
  7. How is my room furnished?
  8. Do I need to bring my own bedding and/or towels?
  9. What transportation will I be using?
  10. Will I be using public transportation?
  11. How will I take the kids to school/daycare etc?
  12. How far away from your house is the grocery store/ school/ bus stations/ train stations?
  13. What activities are available in your area?
  14. Are there parks/ playgrounds etc. in your area?
  15. What types of household chores does everyone do?

I hope this list of questions help you find a family that is perfect for you. If you have any other questions, remember that you are able to contact me at any time on all my social media!

READ MORE: Host Family Interview: Work Edition 

Follow me on Instagram!

Tagged : /

Meeting Your Host Family

Meeting your family can be very nerve-wracking. I know when I was waiting for my family I was freaking out. I got picked up at the hotel and so did a lot of other girls. Every time someone came in, every girl would hold her breath to see if it was their host family. It’s very intimidating but also quite hilarious looking back at it.

Whether you are meeting them at the hotel or they are picking you up somewhere else. It is important that you don’t get too nervous. Obviously you will be nervous but don’t get Justin Bieber coming on stage, you throwing up nervous. Yes, that has happened to someone while I was at his concert. Quite hilarious if you ask me.

If you don’t know whether to hug or shake hands, always hug. I guess that is just my personal opinion. When you see close friends and family, they generally hug you and give you a kiss on the cheek. I know in different countries, you do different things. In South Africa, you tend just to hug. In The Netherlands it’s three kisses, France it’s two and in South America, it is one. I suggest, just don’t kiss ha.

Remember to always give the kids a big hug and show them that you care about them. It can be very intimidating meeting a new Au Pair and also, they might not want to talk to you or say hi because they are scared or nervous. That’s totally okay too. Just go with the flow.

Also, American’s like to talk. They will ask you a billion questions and it’s important that you talk and answer them. Also, ask them questions. How was the ride over? How was school? Just keep asking and answering questions. It helps with the awkwardness of “OMG I AM LIVING WITH STRANGERS” lol

I hope this helps, it’s short and sweet but honestly, you just need to breathe. It will all be okay. I know I say that and you’re like meh, easier said than done. I have done this three times now and I PROMISE it will be okay!

Read More:

Financial Obligations Your Host Family Have 2019

Tagged : / / /

Aupair in America Orientation

When I was here the first time in 2014, orientation was fairly different to what it is now. It was from Monday to Thursday and you did a whole lot more. I am very glad that that has changed because 4 days of sitting in a conference room, jet-lagged as hell, trying to understand 10 000 new things is a lot harder than you think.

Au Pair in America recently changed the way that they do orientation. They cut a day so you go to your family on a Wednesday instead of a Thursday but in order to make up for those hours, you have to now complete a whole bunch of online training before you depart for America. It is not difficult, though I did find it a waste of time. You do get taught a lot but at this point, it is my third time doing it so I was like mehwhatever.

So let’s talk a bit more about orientation. When you arrive at the airport, you get taken to a shuttle that brings you to the hotel. The hotel is very far from the airport so it’s a long ride! Once there, you go to one of the conference rooms where they will assign you a bedroom. You will be sharing with two other girls who are supposed to be living in an area close to you. It does not always work out but that’s the vibe. Depending on when you arrive. It may be dinner time already or late at night. If you are lucky and arrive early on Monday, I would suggest taking a train into the city. The train station is very close to the hotel and it takes you right into Grand Central Station. From there you are able to go pretty much anywhere. The Monday of orientation is really used to get all the Au Pairs to the hotel.

It is important to note that there is an AA course that takes place for some Aupairs. This is only if your family has booked it and from what I know, you aren’t able to book it yourself. It is a defensive driving course for Au Pairs who do not know how to drive defensively and so you do that on a Monday which means you will get to the hotel on a Sunday instead. I have never done this so I don’t know anything else about it.

Day 2: Tuesday.

You will get a wake-up call every morning at 6:30 am to wake you up for breakfast at 7:00. Most girls are so jet-lagged that they are up before that. I was very jet-lagged. I was up at like 5:30 every morning which sucked.

8:00 – 12:00 – You have your morning sessions. You talk about a whole lot of different things such as what you can and cannot be doing (drugs, alcohol etc) as well as what it is like in America in terms of culture and how you can adapt to it. You will also be given information on the NYC Tour (I will be doing a whole blog post dedicated to the tour)

13:00 – 17:00 -You have your second session which is all about smaller children and how to look after them as well as activities for different aged kids and finally all about social media with you as well as social media for the kids and how much they are allowed to have a day (that is up to the parents) but also what you can do instead of social media.

The day is done at 17:00 where, if you go on the tour, you will be going on the tour now and if you did not get a ticket for the tour, you have free time and dinner. My suggestion again would be for you to go to the city by yourself. I think it’s a fantastic idea. There is also a gym and a pool that you can use so if you feel like chilling, you can do that too.

Day 3: Wednesday

7:45 – 10:00 – American Red Cross Child safety workshop. This is a great workshop for you have taken. It is mandatory for you to do but it is interesting in itself. It’s all about child safety and what you are able to do in different situations such as burns, drowning, CPR, etc.

10:00 – 12:00 – More talking about children and different ways in which you are allowed to reprimand them as well as how to talk to your host family. Good communication is key.

You will then leave to go to your family. Some families pick you up at the hotel, some family’s need you to fly to their state. Whatever it is, this is the time that you get to do it. There are shuttles organized for the different ways as well as people that are there to help you through everything so you don’t have to feel scared.

I hope this gives you more of an insight into how orientation is run. It’s a lot of sitting and listening which can be really hard when you are jet-lagged but it’s actually really interesting and the instructors are fantastic!!

Let me know if you have been to orientation or are going and what are your thoughts on it.

READ MORE:  Financial Obligations your host family has 

Follow me on Instagram 

Gift Ideas for Your Host Family

It’s always recommended that you get a gift for your host family and the kids that you will be looking after. Generally, it’s something typical of your home country. Most people bring candy because it’s the easiest and children always love candy.

When I came the first time, I went to the local market on the beach in my city to get something that is locally made and typically South African. I ended up with a salad spoon set for the host parents and I got my little girl a necklace and bracelet set. For my host boy, I got him books from the Dr. Seuss collection that had wildlife and animals in. He really loved it because he loves books and that made him really happy.

You don’t have to bring anything big or expensive. Think about what you liked as a kid or what is typical of your country to help you have an idea as to what you should bring. I would recommend cookies or chocolate or even a game that is very typical to your country. If you know that your family is big into board games. It may be cool to get your local monopoly which seems to be everywhere. It might not be in English but everyone knows how to play a monopoly so there should not be too many problems!

I know a lot of German aupairs would bring candy and chocolate because that’s always a good thing to bring. When I visited my family in England I brought stroop waffels and they loved it.

I do stress that it is not obligated that you bring anything. If you feel like you do not want to or financially you can’t bring them anything, that is okay too!

READ MORE:  Aupair in America Orientation 

Follow me on Instagram

Tagged : / /

What to pack for a year of being an Aupair

When packing for a whole year abroad; your natural instinct is to pack EVERYTHING. My suggestion is to not actually do that!

First off; always pack for the season that you are going in. If you are going in Summer; only take summer clothes. Winter? take winter clothes. I would also suggest that if you come from a country where you actually have a proper winter, to bring your winter coat as well as snow boots if you are going to be in a colder climate like on the East Coast of America or anywhere else except Cali ha! It gets REALLY cold in most of America and winter coats can be quite pricey if you don’t look properly. I will be uploading a blog on tips and tricks that you can use to save money on winter clothes.

Here are some things that you should consider packing

  1. A stuffed animal or something that reminds you of home. I have a blanket my mom made me.
  2. Pack some snacks from your home country that you love and know that you can’t get in America. It helps with the transition as well as just feel better about being away from home.
  3. Pack a winter coat
  4. You should only pack for the season you are going in.

Here are some things you should not pack:

  1. Don’t overpack. Pack enough for 2 weeks or so!
  2. Don’t pack more than one hoodie and 3 sweaters. You can get everything so much cheaper here in America.
  3. Don’t pack too many shoes.
  4. Don’t pack your hairdryer/straightener or curler. The sockets are different and most of the time you can’t use it here.
  5. Don’t pack too many toiletries. You should look at what you are taking and if you can’t get certain products in America, bring those. Other than that, you should just buy everything in America as it will be cheaper and won’t weigh your bags down too much. 

You need to also remember to grab all your important documents and electronics as well as your chargers for all of them. I will be doing a blog post about what to take in your carry on as I feel like that is super important in itself. 

I hope this helps you and eases your stress when you are packing for this exciting year ahead!

Follow me on Instagram 


What to get your host family

Host Family Interview -Work edition

Waiting *patiently* for an email saying that a host family is looking at your profile and wanting to interview you is something even I had a hard time with! It is important to really have a chat with the family and have a list of questions that you don’t have to ask in a formal fashion but need to know.

You don’t have to do this:

Family: Hi, so nice to meet you!

You: Hi, nice to meet you too. I have a list of questions that I would like to talk about.

Do it super casual but there are some IMPORTANT things you should know before matching with a family. This will focus on the job aspect of being an Aupair and the more “culture” aspect will be in a different blog. 


  1. What precisely are your expectations of me?
  2. How do you see an au pair fitting into your family?
  3. Describe your perfect au pair?
  4. What type of au pair are you looking for?
  5. Do I need to drive? If so, how often?
  6. Will I have private access to the car?
  7. Have you had an au pair before and for how long?
  8. How did you find that experience?
  9. Is it possible to get in contact with your previous au pair?
  10. What part was your favorite part about hosting an au pair?
  11. What are you excited about more to host an au pair for the first time/again?

It is also very important to talk about kids and family dynamics. It shows that you care about the children and family and really, that you are not selfish and there for the wrong reasons. Some things that you can ask are:


  1. What are your kid’s personalities like?
  2. How do your kids get along with each other?
  3. How do your kids get along with you?
  4. How do your kids get along with other people/friends?
  5. What do they do in their free time?
  6. What are their favorite activities?
  7. How can I participate in their favorite activities?
  8. What are the kid’s schedules like?
  9. What is a typical day like for the kids?
  10. What languages do they speak?
  11. Can I teach them the language from my home country?
  12. Do you have any house chores set in place?
  13. Do you have any house rules set in place?
  14. What disciplinary styles do you implement?
  15. What do you want my role to be in your household?
  16. What would you say is the most challenging thing about your children?
  17. What would you like me to do more with your children?
  18. Are there any different activities you would want the kids to do?
  19. Are the kids potty trained?
  20. Do they have any allergies?
  21. Do they have special needs?
  22. Do I need to prepare meals for the kids or the rest of the family?
  23. Do you have any pets?
  24. Have you had an au pair before?
  25. How do the kids feel about having an au pair?

These are just some of the things that you should consider asking and finding out before matching with someone. Also- remember that there are a lot of families out there so don’t take the first one just because you are scared to wait. There’s a great family out there for you. (also- why does it sound like I am giving relationship advice?)

However, if you think the first family is good and what you want you really should match them. I matched with the first family and I don’t regret it! I am going back to them this year which tells you a lot about the relationship I have with them. 

Remember that the kids are your first priority so you need to ask questions about them, you need to be interested in them! Everything else can take a back seat and visited at a later stage. 

Do you follow me on Instagram?

READ MORE: What to pack for a year of Aupairing


Tagged :

Costs – Aupair in America

Today we talk about the costs involved in the WHOLE process. What got to me about the whole application process is that the agency did NOT tell me about it. They made it simple.

All you pay is program fee; admin fee and visa fee then everything is done. Right??



That’s the thing, they never tell you the nitty-gritty things and honestly, a lot of it was out of our budget because all those costs add up. Today I will share everything that I remember spending money on. I won’t give a value on how much I personally spent on it because of currently differences but in Rands, it was close to 10k.

1. Program Fee

The agency does actually tell you about it. This fee varies from agency to agency and from year to year. The agency always tells you this at the beginning of the application.

2. Application Fee/Admin fee:

This is a fee you pay to the agency for helping you do everything and the admin (DUH) that is involved in the process

3. Visa Application

This literally changes as the currency changes between your country and The US.

4. Dr visit

You need to get stuff signed off from your doctor so you need to see him and if you don’t have insurance (like most people in SA) you have to pay cash for it

5. TB Testing

Here again, if you don’t have insurance you have to pay for your TB test in cash. Sometimes your insurance does not cover it so again, cash

6. International License

You need to convert your license to an international one and guess what? That also costs money.

7. Photo’s

You need photos for your international license as well as your visa and they are different ones (yay) this is just an example of how the little things add up.

Upgraded Insurance: You are able to upgrade your insurance while you are in the States OR take out extra insurance for your travel month. This is worth taking out

8. Tour

You get the chance to go on a tour on Tuesday night when you are in training school which costs about $70. Personally, I do not think it is worth it but if you don’t live in New York or close to NYC then it probably is worth it.

9. Spending money

You generally do not get paid on your first week and you need money to do all the cool things that are in NYC. Everyone takes something different and it is totally up to you on how much you take.

10. Gifts for your host family

This is not something you HAVE to do, but it is fun and it costs money too.

I think that is it, you cannot forget toiletries and typical food you will miss as well as treats and money for coffee and food at the airport. It all adds up. You make the money up in your first month which is cool but you do have to lay out a lot in the beginning.

Follow me on Instagram 

Have you read my other blogs on The Application; Legal Agencies and some Facts about Au Pairing in America? Be sure to check them out!


Tagged : / /

Application Process – Aupair in America

Hey everyone and welcome back! Today we will be talking about the actual application process of being an Au Pair. I will just be discussing the application-specific to Au Pair in America as I have recently completed my second-time application. I will also be giving you some tips and tricks when it comes to specific things.

Your application is broken down into specific sections and each section is broken up again.


Application Form

So this is just the part where it gives you space to fill out basic information such as name; age; birth date. It also asks you about your hobbies; family life, etc. This is a large chunk of your application so my suggestion is to take it slow and answer the questions truthfully and in as much detail as you can.

Childcare Experience

This is when you suck up to everyone whose children you looked after. It says that you should have 2 references, but my suggestion is to have more than that. Your family does not count so what I did was have 3-5 references and one of them was family. You can add as many childcare hours as you want (as long as they are not made up) and add a reference where applicable. The more diverse your childcare hours are, the better the applications look when it comes to a family’s perspective.

Dear Host Family Letter

This was probably the hardest part of the application for me. In the beginning, it was because I didn’t like essays, now it’s like ugh, I have done this so many times, do I REALLY HAVE to do this?? The answer is simple: Yes. This gives the family a front seat into your head and to see what you expect from them and what your real reason is for going to America. Is it to travel? Is it to sit in bed and watch Netflix every day? Obviously you will not say that to them but they can judge you by the way your letter is written, which is why this is the scary part for me.

This is what the agency says when it comes to writing the essay

“This should be more than 600 words long. Things to include are:

  • Who you are (your family and friends)
  • What your hobbies and interests are
  • Discuss your childcare experience and the children you cared for. Explain why and how you enjoyed the experience and what you learned from it.
  • Tell them what you hope to gain from your experience in the program. What interests you about American families, children, and culture?

This is your chance to show off your personality. so make it something you can be proud of.”

If you want to read my various letters (I have a bunch) comment and I will do a separate blog post on them. I also think it is super important to always redo your letters once a year or whenever you apply because you change so much over the year, especially since you look after kids; your preferences might change and that is okay. Just be open and honest.

Fun Fact: The last letter I just did, I had to do TWICE because the first one did not save and my laptop crashed midway. I was in a cafe and I literally threw my phone down and gave up. That essay was 1000 words so yeah, I was not happy.


The agency always suggests loading about 4 photos. None of them should be posed. Action shots are the best shots when you are with kids and it shows that you are interactive with them and not actually just posing with them.

1- Family photo

2 + 3- You with some kids

4- You with friends.

This is an important one: Look at your social media. Does it have photos of you drinking? Wasted? Doing something that doesn’t seem too good? You should probably delete it. Before you get angry and tell me that ‘everyone drinks;’ ‘everyone has a crazy night sometimes.’

Yes, this is true. Look at it from the parents view though, would you be happy with someone who is drunk a lot and proudly shows it off on social media looking after your kids? Would you be okay with someone who smokes, look after your kid? It seems a bit judgemental but there have been cases where parents actually ask for a rematch because they saw their AuPairs getting completely wasted on social media.

At the end of the day, don’t friend your host family on social media when you are there and clean up your social media. People look at it and that is actually how my current family found me, by going on my social media and reading my blogs.


Yes, having a video is an actual thing and it is vital you ACTUALLY have one for a lot of agencies. I can’t say much more about it, but basically what I did was talk about the same points that I had in my “Dear Host Family Letter.” This is what APiA says about it:

“Your video clip should be 1-2 minutes long. IMPORTANT: Please DO NOT exceed 3 minutes. If your video is more than 3 minutes, it will be rejected. Use your video to tell host families something about yourself, such as details about your childcare experience, what you like doing in your free time, or why you can’t wait to be an Au Pair in America.”

Other Documents

There are some other things that you need that do not really fit into anything else.

1- Character Reference: You need someone to basically tell everyone that you are actually a decent person and would be good to look after their kids. You cannot have a family member do this so the best is probably a friend or someone at work/a teacher.

2- Criminal Record: This is fairly simple, you have to go to the police and take your fingerprints. They will then send you a certificate saying ‘yay, you are not a criminal’ and that will be that. If you have a criminal record for any reason, you will NOT be considered into the program.

3- Drivers License: You need a valid license to be able to Aupair as most of America runs on driving cars from A to B

4- Medical Report: You need to go to the Dr to be cleared and viewed as fit to AuPair. It is fairly simple and the Dr just has to sign some stuff and you will be on your way.

That is about it when it comes to your application. It seems like a lot and in all honesty, it is but fairly simple to get done quickly which is great!

If you have any questions about it or are currently doing your application, feel free to message me and I will be able to help where I can! Also, check out my last post here. It talks about all the LEGAL agencies!


Tagged : / /

Legal Agencies – Aupair in America

Today we talk about agencies. There are roughly 11 legal Au Pair agencies in the world. I will obviously only talk about the ones I have had experience with (yes, there were multiple) and whom I recommend. Here are some I know about:

  1. Au Pair in America
  2. Culture Care
  3. Au Pair Care
  4. Easy Au Pair
  5. Au Pair International
  6. Inter-exchange

In South Africa, you can go through YDP, OVC and Carla’s AuPair’s which all work through a partner agency. Basically they are the partners for Au Pair Care and Au Pair International.

As a point, a male can also be an Au Pair and they are often wanted when the family has all boys. Culture Care and Inter-exchange both take male Au pairs.

Personally I would highly recommend Au Pair in America for a number of reasons.

  1. They really are such a great agency and will always help you out when you need it.
  2. They are very proactive and always make sure the Au Pairs are okay and happy in their families. Obviously there are different stories and not everyone will agree with me, but that really just is the experience I personally had.

Another agency I will recommend is Carla’s AuPair’s. I have actually never worked with them but I recently reached out to Carla specifically about an issue I had in Holland (she sends Au Pairs out all over the world) and was so helpful and amazing even though I personally am not under her.

With regards to agencies in South Africa- I do not recommend OVC at all. They were so unhelpful and just rude to me the entire process. I applied with them as they were the cheapest at the time and were at my career day BUT they were not so nice once I handed over my money.

Basically OVC goes through two au pair agencies in America. One is Au Pair Care and the other is Au Pair International. I was not allowed to sign up with Au Pair Care because at the time I had recently been put on medication for high insulin and they said they cannot accept me so OVC went with the other agency.

Now, if you are on chronic medication, you are actually allowed to be signed up to an agency as long as the medication does not affect you. I could have fought them on this point but at the time I had not done my research or anything, I instead believed these people because they were ‘adults’.

I was with this agency for about 7 months with not a single-family interested in me. They always gave me the excuse that I was either too young, not experienced enough, or that I had not had my license for that long. Let’s just have some facts for a second. At 18 I had about 5 000 hours worth of childcare. Yes, 5 000 hours. That’s a lot, I know. The minimum is 200 hours so that was an obvious excuse on their part.

Most American’s have Au pairs that are around 18/19 years old, so again, another excuse. The only thing they could put on me was the fact that I just had my license. I eventually signed up with Au pair in America while I was still with this agency and when I emailed them stating I had found another family, they did not even have the decency to say good luck or anything. So rude.

That leaves YDP. I never did approach them when I went through the American program, but I did go through them with my Holland program. It was honestly the WORST experience I have ever had. The agent I went through was incompetent and caused more trouble for me than I needed. She mad errors on her part and blamed me. It got so bad that their partner agency here in Holland called her up and told me to treat me like a person (yes, it was that bad!) I will get more into that when I talk about my Holland experience.

That’s basically my experience with the different agencies in South Africa! I have had friends that went with the above-mentioned agencies and had great experiences. I think it all comes down to your interviewer and how they treat you.

In my next post I will talk about the application as a whole. From start to finish. Although it is a very long application, it is a relatively easy application.

Until then.

Follow me on Instagram


Dealing with conflict with your host family

Tagged : /

Introduction & Facts

Hi and welcome to Weirdlife of an Aupair. Today I will introduce you to being an Aupair and some facts about being an Aupair in America. Many people know that I was an Aupair in America. I left South Africa when I was 19 to pursue this amazing adventure which has changed my life in so many different ways. I’ve always recommended people who don’t know what to do, to do this program. You get paid and have no overheads (such as paying rent and buy food etc). You get to travel and you get to flipping go to America. What more do you want?

I am always being asked questions about the whole process of being an Au Pair, so I thought I would do a blog on it. That way anyone looking for information can get it and I don’t have to repeat myself and forget very important information like I often do. It’s a problem! 

Here are some facts about the American program:

  1. There are around 11 different official agencies that you can go through
  2. It is a government-regulated program meaning the government sets the rules for your year or 2 in the States
  3. There is a 3-day orientation that happens close to Manhattan. 
  4. You are only allowed to work up to 45 hours a week and allowed 1,5 days off a week as a regular Aupair and 30 hours as an Educare Au Pair, 
  5. You typically only get $195,75 a week which isn’t a lot but it can get you far if you save
  6. There are plenty of Aupairs around you from other countries that you can meet.
  7. You can get some really bad families, but you can also get really good families
  8. If you are not happy, speak to someone!

Most of all, being an Au Pair can be fun! There are ups and downs which I will speak about, but I loved it so much!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or leave a comment! Be sure to follow me on my journey on Instagram

Follow me on Instagram


What to pack for a year of Aupairing

Tagged : /