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What is an au pair?

What types of families want an au pair?

Do I qualify to become an Au Pair?

How do I Register?

How am I matched to a family?

How Truthful should I be?

How do I find out information about the family?

Can I speak to the family?

Can I turn down a family at this time?

What part does 1st Choice play in the process?

What about travel home during the year?

Who pays for language classes?

What happens if I have any problems when I arrive?

What happens if I have any problems during my stay in the UK?

How will 1st Choice help me when I am there?

What is an Au Pair?

Au Pair is a French word meaning at the same level. Au Pairs are committed, adventurous and educated young people from around the world who travel to another country for learning and improving a language and experiencing new cultures.

In exchange for receiving accommodation, meals and weekly pocket money, you will provide the family with help towards child care and/or light housework. If you are a male au pair, sometimes you may help with gardening or other heavier tasks around the home.

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What types of families want an Au Pair?

All of our families who have successfully registered are: -

Are able to provide a private bedroom for the au pair

Speak English in their home as their native language

Are committed in enabling the au Pair to attend language classes and speak English in their home as their first language.

Are usually the parent(s) of children requiring 25 hours of child care per week or who have a need for additional help around the home.

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Do I qualify to become an Au Pair?

If you are unmarried, aged between 17 and 27, an EU citizen or come from a country that is part of the au pair programme then you may work as an au pair. Now that Slovakia is part of the EU, you can travel and work for a family as an ‘au pair plus’ which means you can work up to 40 hours per week for a higher sum of weekly pocket money.

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How Do I Register?

If you get to hear of 1st Choice Au Pairs at one of our Slovakian, or Romanian presentations, then you will have the opportunity to speak with a member of our staff to determine if being an au pair is suitable for you and to complete the necessary registration forms.

You will be interviewed by a member of staff, where you will be asked questions relating to your family background, experience, interests, personality and leisure activities. It is important you are honest with all your answers as it will greatly improve the matching process.

You will also be asked to provide references, a health check sheet and a certificate of good character. These documents can be provided at the time of interview or later through our Free Post service.

Your passport or ID will be checked and a photocopy will be required.

This facility is also very useful once you are registered for receiving instant updates on progress.

Remember that even with an on-line registration, we will still need references and other documents that you can scan and email to us, or send using our Free Post service.

If you have any question write us on info@1stchoiceaupairs.co.uk

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How am I matched to a family?

1st Choice Au Pairs prides itself on helping you find a family that most closely matches your own personality and lifestyle. We spend far longer on the interviewing and screening process of both family and au pair to make sure as much information is considered when matching is being done. It is better to spend time performing this well than run into problems in the first month because the match isn’t ideal.

We can take special requests from you about the type of family you are looking for, or maybe that you want to be matched with families along with one or two friends.

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How Truthful should I be?

It is of no use trying to build what you think is the ‘perfect picture’ if it isn’t really you. There is no such thing as the ‘perfect au pair’ and claiming to be something you aren’t will only cause problems later. If you are a very neat and tidy person, it is something you should state in your application because you may feel very uncomfortable if you are placed in a family who live in a very untidy house. Likewise if you are naturally untidy but don’t let us know, you may be placed in a very tidy house and have a very annoyed family who continually seeing your socks lying all over the place. If you smoke then say so, there are still many families who smoke themselves without upsetting the families who may be upset if you withheld this from them at the time of selection.

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How do I find out information about the family?

We will provide you with information about a number of families that most closely match you. You can review this list and reject any outright, and inform us of the ranking of families you wish to progress to the next stage. Remember at this stage the families are doing the same. From this we should have a preferred family that also sees you as a preferred au pair.

We will then provide you with even more information about the family via email. This will include details about the family (children, ages, and hobbies), their location and proximity to amenities, the family personality (typical weekends, typical mealtimes, values and beliefs), photographs of the house and your accommodation, details of the duties and hours and the pocket money offered.

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Can I speak to the family?

In all cases we strongly recommend that you speak with the family and we will organise these telephone calls. We can also facilitate a 3-way call to ensure that both you and the families have covered key areas that need to be discussed and/or ask questions on your behalf if you prefer.

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Can I turn down a family at this time?

If you are unsure at this stage we can always set up another telephone call to check a concern out, but if you decide to reject this family then we will review the reasons and adjust your requirements sheet as necessary and provide you with details of another family on your preferred list.

Remember the families can also reject you at this stage.

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What part does 1st Choice play in the process?

We help by highlighting to the families if they seem to be asking too much of their au pair, we can also help by negotiating your pocket money and any other benefits if this is something you are uncomfortable in doing.

We can offer information on all the language schools in the UK and what the fees cost. We can also help you to find information about travel arrangements to the UK and can advise on the different alternatives and costs.

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What about travel home during the year?

This is something to be discussed at the time of the telephone calls with the family and we can help to prompt these questions. Sometimes the family will offer to pay for a flight home after the au pair has been with the family for a certain period; this may be at Christmas, Easter or when the au pair wishes to return home to see their family.

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Who pays for language classes?

You are expected to pay for your own language classes but it is often normal for the family to offer up to 50% towards the class fees up to 6 hours per week. This depends on class times and duration and can be negotiated on your behalf.

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What happens if I have any problems when I arrive?

You should first try to resolve things with your family. Most issues can be resolved by sitting and listening to each others point of view and trying to adapt accordingly. If the issue is major then you or the family can contact us and we can facilitate a resolution to the issue.

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What happens if I have any problems during my stay in the UK ?

If at any time the situation is completely unbearable and nothing more can be done to resolve matters then we can make arrangements for you to move out. In very extreme cases we would ensure that you were accommodated in a local hotel or guest house prior to other arrangements being made.

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How will 1st Choice help me when I am there?

We will check on how you are getting on in the first few weeks that you arrive. After this we will generally check how things are going every month unless we know there are issues and we will be in touch more often as appropriate.

It helps to develop a good network of friends in your area that you can see regularly and apart from people you will meet at language classes and through your own social life, we will let you know when someone starts working as an au pair in the same region so you can pass on your own advice.

We will arrange events and trips for you and other au pairs in your region and these will be a great way of meeting new friends and seeing more of the country.

We produce a news letter that is distributed every two months that contains tips and advice for the UK , tips about child care, first aid, travel offers, places to go, articles written by au pairs, a message and for sale board and other useful information.

If you are interested in developing a career in the UK and have appropriate skills and qualifications, then we can support you by helping you to prepare your CV and advising and passing on your details to a choice of reliable and trustworthy work agencies that are available to you.

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