Au Pair Conversations with Ida

This is a post from one of the followers on our Instagram page. Ida is an Au Pair for a special needs child much like me. She wrote about her experience and everything else.

Ida choosing a special needs kid to au pair with

I remember the day so vividly. I just felt that this would be the day where the first family would contact me, and I was right. Oh my gosh how was my heart pounding! When I scrolled through the pictures and it felt so right.

I remember seeing the first pictures of the little boy in some kind of machine which helps him standing and the next one in a wheelchair. I was thinking about whether I ticked the little box where the organization asks you about being willing to take care of special needs kids or not.

A few days later I talked to the dad via skype. After talking about general stuff, I asked him about how limited the boy was in his movement and just how he is general. He just told me like it’s the most natural thing which gave me so much confidence to take on this adventure and so I did.

Leaving Austria to Au Pair

Oh gosh, thinking about this now makes me realize how not ready I was! I barely knew anything about the family but here I was leaving Austria for the year which ended up lasting 19 months. I wouldn’t trade it in for anything in the world, cause throughout all the ups and downs that were included in this time I learned so much about kids and foreign cultures and myself and life and made friendships which were closer than I could have ever imagined.

Anyways, one very big part of my au pair time, except the other kids I took care of and the amazing family I extended with and all the adventures and whatsoever was little J. He had CP and therefore couldn’t talk, walk, crawl, use the toilet or feel himself. J was five years old by the time I arrived, but he was basically like a tall baby considering his abilities.

Arriving and working with J

The first few weeks I was so confused by the squeaks he made I came running anytime I heard something haha! I figured out his preferences and his dislikes as fast as with any other kid I ever took care of.

After a few days, I already liked hanging out with him so much. He was just such a happy kid and his beautiful giggle seriously could end wars! He loved everything including chocolate, in the pool, he just smiled for hours nonstop cause he liked it so much, in therapies he gave his all so he crashed on the car ride back home, and he thought my silly voice was hilarious even after the 100th time.

The only thing that annoyed me was the pity looks people gave me, whether it was some other au pairs we met in the park or strangers in the mall. I couldn’t help it, but it bothered me. What’s the difference between changing a 5-year old’s diaper or a baby’s? I actually think it smells less bad.

I would have done anything to give him the ability to walk and express himself with words. Life doesn’t always work that way though, and he was given the best possibilities possible. He had the most caring family around him, awesome au pairs also before and after me and therapies and medical treatment. Not to mention the best school I think I have ever seen, and he melted his teachers’ heart with his goofy cricket smile. He was having the most out of life.

Another thing I have to mention is that the whole entire community involving special needs kids is amazing. People are more grounded I guess and start valuing things others might not even realize. In case anyone thinks it’s filled with a bunch of pity talks and feeling sorry. You’re so wrong. Uplifting.

special thanks giving

Ida’s Experience overall.

I really loved the whole experience. It didn’t even feel so different from the other kids I took care of or my extension family. I loved it and I am so proud of myself for having the courage that I took the step. That is seriously the hardest part, simply cause you to have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. I loved it. I love J with every bit of my heart. He was my ray of sunshine on the days I needed it. If I could have, I would have brought him home with me.

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Read More:

Being Homesick

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Fourth of July 2019 | Weird Life Of An Aupair

When you hear ‘Fourth of July’ you immediately think:

Pool Party
Drunk American’s


This is all stereotypical but all true! There are always fireworks. There’s always BBQ’s and there most likely is a pool party and you’re most likely going to drink.

Yesterday was just that. Normally people go all out but my friends and I decided not to do that. We decided to instead, just chill by the pool and have a relaxed day because looking after children can be really hard, and in all honesty, who doesn’t like to chill by the pool? We threw on our bathing suits, ate too much food, and chilled in the pool for the majority of the day which is exactly what we needed. No screaming children, no socializing with people you don’t know and being referred to as ‘the Au Pair’ just a quiet time with friends talking about how different our culture is, about the types of things we like to do and just about life itself and it was honestly the best.

There isn’t much else to say about my Fourth but it was good! What did you get up to? Did you have to work? I have had to work most holidays so this was really relaxing for once!


READ MORE: Aupair Conversations with Charlie

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Dealing With Conflict With Your Host Family

Today we are talking about conflict and how different people respond to conflict. It is easy to be caught up in the moment and to just want to pack up your stuff and leave but remember to try think about it logically and through someone else’s eyes and see that you are a stranger living in their house which can be pretty scary if you ask me. This is a story time of one Au Pair that I know. She’s amazing and dealt with this in a very mature fashion. Let us know your thoughts below.

Au Pair In America

I have been an Au Pair in America for almost 5 months. I live with and work for a family in New York and since I arrived last year in November I have really enjoyed working for my host family. They have been super welcoming and really accepting. They have done everything they can to make me feel at home and even before I came to America I knew that I would fit in perfectly with their family. We spoke for about 2-3 months before my arrival and we got along from the start. We always had so much in common. The day my host dad picked me up at the orientation and I came to their house they decorated my room with pictures of me and my family; my cat and a book from my favorite author. The kids made “Welcome to the USA” signs for my door and I just immediately felt at home. I was an Au Pair in The Netherlands in 2011 and I never received such a warm welcome when I arrived there. So this was just so heart-warming and an amazing feeling.

My host dad and I immediately got along as I see him much more than my host mom. Although I have an amazing relationship with her too. I feel like I can always speak about anything with her. She is very understanding.

Different Cultures:

Unfortunately, we sometimes get caught up in the idea of going to a new and exciting country and we are so excited about the adventure that we forget about some important factors and one of them is that we live where we work. This means that we are in each other’s company 24/7 and this can (as with your own family) sometimes get a bit much. Arguments are bound to happen and we need to remind ourselves that we live in another person/family home. It can sometimes feel like culture change doesn’t really exist seeing that we are all so excited in the beginning and still getting to know each other. And then when conflict steps in culture change can really become a big factor seeing that we all grew up different from each other, in different countries and situations and we all handle conflict and certain situations differently. Just like with everyone you encounter in your life – everyone has a story and a past. And every person has his/her reason for being the way they are.

I have had to deal with conflict with my host dad a few weeks ago. He and I had an argument. It started with something very small but escalated pretty quickly. It ended where he and I were screaming at each other and I ended up in tears and just walking away. I felt that he approached the situation completely wrong and it could’ve been so much different. Now, don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t doing the right thing by screaming back at him either. But I guess that is what happens when you feel like you are being attacked and you just try to defend yourself.

Two days later my host mom, host dad, and I had a meeting and we spoke about the incident and we all said how we felt. We then buried the hatchet. I am very happy and thankful that thereafter our relationship has been the same as before the argument and we get along just fine. Conversations with him were always enjoyable because I feel that we can speak very easily. I have also in the meantime sat and reminded myself that he has a reason for dealing with certain situations the way that he does and I am the type of person that doesn’t hold a grudge but instead look at the reasons for why things happen.

To be honest, when this happened I was extremely upset and for the first time in 4 months, I felt so homesick. At that point, I really wanted to contact my family back home because I felt that I need their support but I knew if I contact them it would only make me more homesick and it would make things much worse for me. Instead, I phoned one of my best friends back home. The moment I saw his face and heard his voice I just burst out in tears. But after speaking to him for a while and getting his advice I felt much better. He reassured me and reminded me why I came to America in the first place and that was extremely helpful.

I also went to my friend (she is from my home country and lives very close to me) for the weekend. And if it wasn’t for her I would’ve probably packed my bags and went home. She made everything so much better just by being there and understanding. She really showed me what true friendship is.

After my host family and I had the meeting I called my family back home and I felt like I could tell them what happened without feeling like I wouldn’t want to be here anymore. My parents also reassured me and made me feel so much better.

Good Days As An Au Pair:

I think the most important thing to remember is that you will have a lot of good days as an Aupair but you will also have bad days. It is just so important to have a support system not only back home but in the country, you are living. If it wasn’t for my friends here in America I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed my time here this much and I wouldn’t have known what to do in that situation.

If I can give you any advice – always put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to understand why they react the way they do and also try to always stay professional. No matter how hard it can be. Also, try to make as many friends as possible. You are not going to be an Au Pair forever and believe me it goes by so fast. It is in this time of your life that you make friends you will have for the rest of your life. I still have best friends that I met in The Netherlands. And I know the friends I have met (and will still meet) in America I will have for the rest of my .

Read More:

Au Pair Conversations: Encourage Your Au Pair To Speak!

AU Pair Conversations With Courtney 2019 | Weirdlifeofanaupair

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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.

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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!


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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!


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