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One of the hardest parts of leaving your home country is not only saying goodbye to your family and friends, but preparing for your au pair year. You may have your luggage, passport, and big plans to explore a whole new country well prepared but have you thought about the logistics? Have you thought about getting a bank account that works in your host country? Have you brought enough money to last you before you set up a bank account? Do you have a new phone/sim that works in your host country?
These questions can be overwhelming and stressful but it’s important to think about how you’re going to survive for the first few months. Adjusting to your new host country will be hard enough, never mind trying to grasp a different language. We’ve created a guide to help you launch a fantastic au pair year!
- Prepare for your departure. Whether you’re flying off to Australia or America, make sure you have all legal documentation at hand. You’ll have to go through Customs and they will question your intentions in your host country. Bear in mind, you may have to fill out a Customs form on the plane before you land – the air hostess should hand this out to you.
- “Got my mind on my money and my money on my mind.” Don’t forget to have your currency exchanged so you have some cash before you land. This is a great idea to bear in mind, especially in case of an emergency or if you don’t have access to a bank card.
- Get a bank account. If you’re going to be an au pair for 3 months, 6 months, one year or more, you’ll need a bank account to shop around and travel across the country. Ask your host family’s former au pair or your local representative on how to get a bank account. This will come in handy when your host parents pay you your weekly stipend.
- Buy a travel guide book. Being a tourist in a different country is exciting but can also be nerve-racking if you can’t speak their native language fluently. Learn about your host country’s culture, history, and language by purchasing a travel guide book or a phrasebook.
- There’s no place like home. Many au pairs experience homesickness during their year and you can’t let that ruin your experience. You’ll feel many emotions as an au pair and homesickness should definitely not be one of them so I recommend you pack a comfort item on your travels. It could be a blanket, photo album, or teddy bear. Anything that will make you feel better and reminds you of home when you’re feeling blue will be extremely useful.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on preparing for your au pair year. Feel free to share your tips in the comment section.
I am an ambitious and dedicated writer. I have completed my BA in English Literature and Education Studies. Upon completing my degree, I traveled to New Jersey as an au pair where I met my fiance. Currently, I reside in England and work as a Copywriter whilst inspiring au pairs to experience a life-changing adventure!