Claire, a young traveller who has spent the last three months in Australia, tells us about her experience as an Au Pair for an Aussie family in Sydney.
Being an au pair consists in living with a family, taking care of the children and doing some household chores in exchange for accommodation and some pocket money. So if you want to have an overview of a typical au pair life in Sydney, here is my experience!
Being an Au Pair in Australia
You’re asking yourself what kind of job you want to get here in Australia? I can tell you one thing for sure, you can find a bunch of little jobs here in Down Under, but being an Au Pair is the only possibility that allows you to experience and live with an Aussie family. So, to me being an Au Pair in Australia is: living with locals while earning a bit of money.
Being an Au Pair is simply an exchange of services: taking care of the children, helping with chores at home for weekly accommodation, food and pocket money. Having spent the last three months in Sydney, I will try to explain what it means to be an Au Pair in this city.
6 months of work, then 6 months of travel
Most Au Pair contracts are 6 months long, which is the longest time you are allowed to stay with one single employer in Australia, if you’re on a Working Holiday Visa. According to this, most positions will not permit you to stay longer than that. Nevertheless, a period of 6 months is the perfect amount of time to save up for the traveling part of your stay in Australia. Also, it is rather difficult to find positions for shorter periods, as the families and children usually prefer someone who can stay as long as possible, for practical reasons.
My personal experience as an Au Pair
What did I do to fulfil my dream? I had been imagining and wanting it from a young age onwards without ever having the guts to make a decision, but after finishing my 2-years at the University, I started looking for the perfect family!
I simply contacted an agency in order to find a family that was ready to welcome me (keep the agency fees in mind). There are, of course, also other ways like free specialized websites, which are obviously very popular, and Facebook groups, which aren’t always too safe.
A typical day as an Au Pair Sydney
Getting up at 6:30am (beware late risers, this job isn’t perfect for you!), on weekends, during the week, holidays; the kids always get up at 7:30am, so remember to take your earplugs!
After that, you will be expected to prepare breakfast and leave to school. In my case, this was followed by walking the dogs, which gave me the opportunity to work out, big advantage!
Returning at about 9am, I started with simple chores, such as washing clothes, vacuum cleaning…
I was off between 10am and 3pm, when my little munchkins finished school. I picked them up and we went back home for a big snack before they had to go to their after-school activities.
At around 6pm I started preparing their lunch boxes for the upcoming day and their dinner. And at 8pm, lights off! Australians generally go to bed very early.
I was off on the weekends and I was paid $300 per week.
GOOD TO KNOW:
The average salary for full time Au Pairs is around $240, it goes from $180 to $320. Please also note that some families pay phone contracts, bus tickets or get you other treats… So negotiate girls! You can also work part time. In this case you will only get accommodation and food (no extra money).
What I have learned from this experience
Long live freedom, long live youth! And yes…it’s not easy to be a “taught Mom”, who sometimes doesn’t even understand herself. But as the old expression says, I am now “good to marry”! Emotionally challenging and exhausting, but I can say one thing for sure, you will learn about the Australian culture, improve your English and increase your housekeeping skills every single day, but you will also grow as a person.
I truly recommend this experience, if only to get to know yourself better without spending all your savings. If you are social, generous and you are not scared of adventures, start looking for a family. In January, when the school year starts, everyone will be looking for a new nanny…
Written by Claire Coffin