When you’re an au pair, it’s always hard to tell if it will be a good match with a potential host family, especially if it is a first-time experience for both of you. But there are a few simple ways to suss things out early on. Even if oceans separate you and your potential host family. With just these three simple tips, you will find that finding as awesome host family isn’t all that hard!
Do a personality test
This was the first thing my host family had me do when we first started talking. And I think it was a brilliant idea! It gives you a basic idea of the kind of people you could potentially be living with, and most personality tests are free online. They generally also give you an idea of which personalities gel well together and which ones clash. Of course, do not base all your decisions off of that, because nobody fits into a box! But it gives you a good starting point to begin figuring out if you and the family you are communicating with will be a good match. The one my first host family used, and now I always use as well, is the Colour Code. It’s simple and easy to understand. You have to pay for a full personality analysis, which is totally worth it but not essential, because you can find out your core colour for free. And all the information about the other three core colours is free as well.
Video call interviews
Whether you use Skype, FaceTime, Facebook messenger or another video chat option, I can’t stress the importance of this enough! It’s the next best thing to an interview in person. The first mistake I made when communicating with my second host family was not insisting on at least one video chat. When you video call, you see what your potential host family looks like. Their facial expressions, mannerisms and tones of voice all tell you so much more, rather than just a voice call. You also get to see, to a limited extent, how the family communicates with each other and how the children behave. It could save you some unpleasant surprises later on! And of course, it is the same in reverse. Families will also get a better idea about you, which can only be a good thing!
Ask, ask, ask!
Before you Skype, write down all the things you want to know about your host family. Even if you already touched on some things in email, sometimes when asked in person people’s responses are slightly different. Being prepared will stop you kicking yourself later on for not asking the important questions. And not all the questions just have to be about the household or the children. Ask about the parents’ work, their extended family, what their social life is like. What kinds of things do they eat? Will you have access to a car? Will they object to you having friends over or coming home late at night? Most of these things are things I failed to ask in the early communication stages with both my host families. And while I was extremely blessed with how wonderful my first experience was, it was a steep learning curve the second time around.
I hope this helps you find an awesome host family, and if you have any questions about my experience negotiating with host families, feel free to contact me here or post a comment below!
To find out how I found my amazing host family and how you can too, click here!