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:
- Au Pair in America
- Culture Care
- Au Pair Care
- Easy Au Pair
- Au Pair International
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.
- They really are such a great agency and will always help you out when you need it.
- 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.
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