Aupair Conversations With Charlie

Aupair Conversations!! Today we have my best friend Charlie talking about her second Aupair experience. Charlie and I first met in 2015/2016 via a Facebook group (yes, they do work 😉 ) and have been friends ever since. Her love for Harry Potter and weird stuff has to lead me to keep her around! 😉

Tell us a little about the reason why you decided to Aupair

I absolutely love working with kids. I love spending time with them and caring for them. Getting to experience a year or two in another country is incredible. You learn and grow so much. You meet new people and learn about different cultures too.

What agency did you go through?

Au Pair in America

How did the process go for you? Was it easy and did you enjoy your process?

The process was a bit difficult. I did not have a lot of time to get my documentation in order and there was a lot of pressure since the family wanted me at a specific time but I managed to do it and it was so worth it!

How long did it take to get a family?

It took about a month.

What did you learn at orientation? (A lot of people think it is not worth it)

Honestly, I don’t think it is worth it either if you have done the program before. If not, you definitely learn a lot. They teach you child safety, give you tips on how to work with the kids and host parents. They also talk about traveling and saving money.

What do you regret packing and what do you wish you packed?

I regret packing for all seasons. You should only pack for the season you are arriving in!
I wish I packed more snacks from home!

Do you think that getting $195,75 is enough money per week?

Considering that we don’t have to pay for food or rent, yes it is enough if you manage it wisely.

When did you Aupair? And where?

Highland Falls, NY
North Salem

What has been the highlight of being an Aupair?

Being placed with the most incredible host family ever. They treat me like family and I have never been happier.

What was one negative thing about being an Aupair?

My schedule is a bit weird at times but we work around it.

Do you recommend being an Aupair?


Can you give a small summary of your week? When you worked etc

My schedule is usually Tuesday through Saturday but it all depends on the parent’s work schedule when they travel.

Final thoughts on AuPairing in America

If you liked Charlie’s story and want to talk about your experience, please let me know! I would love to talk to you about it!
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Financial Obligations Your Host Family Have


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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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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.

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Dealing with conflict with your host family

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