Living with an Australian family will undoubtedly be an incredible and enriching experience! Also perfect for improving your English, you will live with locals who will share their tips with you and help you discover the city and the region. Claire tells us here about her experience as an Au Pair in a family in Sydney during her Working Holiday visa in Australia.
The principle is simple, live with a family, take care of the children in exchange for a roof and pocket money. So for all those who are still hesitating to take the plunge, this testimony should undoubtedly help you.
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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 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.
How to find a host family?
To find an Au Pair family, you will have several options. You can contact a specialized agency to find the family who will be ready to welcome you (agency fees to be expected). There are of course other means such as free but very popular specialized websites. There are also Facebook groups, which you should still be wary of.
For specialized agencies, you will need to provide some documents for your file. For example a police certificate, proof of your health insurance etc. You will need to provide information about yourself, your past experiences, what you are looking for in your future family. Beyond that, you will be put in touch with families who meet your expectations.
In any case, we advise you to have several ‘interviews’ with several families to find the one that suits you best and where you can live a great experience.
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 (or earlier), 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.
The average salary of Au pairs met in 3 months is $280. It can vary between $200 and $400 depending on the number of children, the hours and household chores requested. You should know that some families pay for telephone subscriptions, bus tickets, or give reductions… It is therefore to be negotiated according to your experience and your feelings with the family!
Best option to work 6 months, then travel 6 months
Most au pair contracts last 6 months. However, you are free to stay longer. In my opinion, a period of 6 months is still perfect, enough to save for travel later. However, it will be difficult for you to find a shorter stay, the family and children generally prefer someone who stays longer. This allows the family and children to become familiar with you and to have a certain routine, stability.
Note: You can stay more than 6 months with the same family, and up to 1 year. However, it is necessary to seek authorization from Australian immigration.
My personal experience as an Au Pair
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