The application process 2/4

So you’ve chosen an agency to sign up with? Awesome! I chose Cultural Care, which meant I didn’t have to pay anything until I actually chose my host family. You can read more about how I chose here. The application process can be quite drag if you’re not like me, really excited about boarding a plane to whatever country you want to be an au pair in. Since I signed with Cultural Care, it’s only their application process that I’m familiar with, but some or a majority of this information will be useful for other ways of applying for an au pair job.

First things first, you will have to go to an information meeting set up by Cultural Care. At this meeting they will tell you all about the program and it’s perks and you will most likely get the opportunity to do your interview. In this interview you get to talk with a Cultural Care contact person (the one holding the meeting) and you will be asked questions in both English and your native language. This is a way for Cultural Care to find out if you are able to communicate in English and get a feel of what type of person you are.

After the meeting you will get login information if you haven’tSkärmavbild 2015-07-01 kl. 16.38.26 already and you can begin filling out your application. Cultural Care advise it’s au pairs to start the process 6 months before they’d like to leave for the USA, since it can take from a month to a whole year to find the right family. I started writing my application in October of 2014, and submitted it to be evaluated the 11th of May 2015. The first week I wrote like crazy and got to a point where I was about 72% finished. I had answered all the questions and had only the pictures, my references and the letter to the host family left. Then I had a long pause and continued the 8th of May until the 11th, which was a period of four intense days of writing and contacting people I wanted as my references. The only reason I as stressed in the end, was because Cultural Care offered a discount on 50% if you submitted your application when I did.

But what will you need in your application? Here are the important stuff:

  • Professional references, personal references and childcare references.
  • Between 5 and 20 pictures of you, your life and the children you care for, if possible.
  • A profile photo.
  • A letter to the host family where you get to show them who you are.
  • Other random information like the answers to why you want to work as an au pair, if you would be willing to live with a single parent and what view you have on the upbringing of children.

While working on your application you will be able to see your progress on the top of your home page. The photo above is from my application before I submitted it.

Tips and tricks:

  • Remember to choose your profile photo wisely. It will be the first thing a host family sees when looking at your application so make sure you are smiling!
  • Me honest in your application! You will live with this family and they’ll find out if you are different.
  • Don’t use google translate. It WILL show and writing yourself will help you improve your English.
  • Try not to repeat yourself and write down the important things, which means do not talk about anything else other than the subject at hand.
  • Since you only get to upload a maximum of 20 photos, a tip is to create collages to fit in all of your photos. Making them is easy and there are many free websites that gives you plenty of options.

And then, when you’re done with the application, you get to submit it! The website will tell you to compare your personal information with you passport and this is VERY important. If there is anything spelled out wrong you have to change it or it will cause trouble for you in the future!

Skärmavbild 2015-07-01 kl. 17.16.01Anything I missed? More questions? Please comment below!

The research process 1/4

I decided that I wanted to go through the steps of becoming an au pair, since it can be a lengthy process.  Let’s call it “The process of becoming an au pair”! This will be a series in four parts where I will discuss all the stages, tell you how I did it and give you some tips and tricks.

THE RESEARCH PROCESS

So, first and foremost, what is the research process? Well, before you can start filing an application, you need to know a few tings.

  1. In what country do you want to be an au pair?
  2. Are there any agencies traveling to your dream country? If yes, which agency do you want to help you along the way?
  3. Do you have the qualifications needed for getting a job as an au pair? Skärmavbild 2015-07-01 kl. 13.44.20

Of course there is a lot more to think about, but let’s start with no 1, shall we? There are many countries in which you can work as an au pair. The most common choice is the USA, where I’ll be going. To work as an au pair in the U.S. you will have to go through an agency, since the American authorities regulates the program. This means that working as an au pair in the USA without being a member of an organisation is illegal. But the au pair program being regulated is a positive thing, it means that the organisations and agencies have to follow rules that the government agreed on, which protects both the au pair, the host family and the agency from any misunderstandings.

So, going to no 2, which agencies are available from your country and which one do you feel most comfortable with? Remember that this is the organisation that will help you through the application process and hopefully after being accepted as well. When I made my choice, I found about 4-5 different agencies working from Sweden. Some seemed a bit unprofessional, while others didn’t offer me the things I needed to feel comfortable. In the end, I chose between two agencies: Cultural Care Au Pair and STS-Education. I had never heard of Cultural Care before, while STS was a common organisation since they arrange exchange trips during the summer break in Sweden. I read through each organisations websites thoroughly and found that Cultural Care had two big upsides: They only worked with the au pair-program and you didn’t sign up for anything until you accepted a family. I feel, personally, that a smaller agency working with just one thing helps with the focus on the applicants. A big organisation like STS, have so many people to take care about, that I somehow didn’t feel comfortable with signing up with them.

Skärmavbild 2015-07-01 kl. 14.20.02

So I started to research what I needed to qualify as an au pair. Cultural Care demanded that you had at least 200 h of childcare experience, either caring for a sibling or working at a childcare facility. I never got the chance to work with children professionally, except for a few times that I left out of my application. I have over 4000 hours of childcare experience since I help out a lot when it comes to my younger siblings, so that wouldn’t be a problem. The only things I needed to do was getting my driver’s license and finish high school. And wait 2 years for me to actually be ready.

Tips and tricks:

  • Figure out what you need and find the agency that can give you just that.
  • Make sure to do your research, some programs demand that you study at a university, while some doesn’t.
  • Ask neighbors and family friends if you can help them out with their kids. It doesn’t have to be a paid job to count.
  • Try to get your driver’s license as soon as possible, since the more driving experience you have, the more comfortable you will be in front of the wheel in another country.

Did this help? Do you have any more questions or things I should add, then just leave a comment!

Did this help? Do you have any more questions or things I should add, then just leave a comment!