When my adoptive house family took me on holiday to the Swiss Alps, where I enjoyed a private chalet, meals by a personal chef, expensive French wines and free snowboarding lessons in return for part-time babysitting, I felt like I was living the good life.
On the other hand, when I found myself carefully scooping soggy poo out of the bath while trying to placate two screaming, dripping children, I wondered what on earth I was doing there.
As an au pair in Amsterdam, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
Providing childcare and light housework in return for room, board and a small stipend sounds like a simple arrangement, but with a job that requires you not only to live with foreign strangers in a foreign place but to essentially join their family, there is real potential for conflict and discomfort.
However, with an open mind and enough research, working as an au pair can be extremely rewarding and a great way to immerse yourself in another culture. Here are a few tips for securing a place with a family, and making sure it’s the best place for you.