Picture taken from an au pair tranvelling in England, Lodon
Au Pair

My Au Pair Experience Review with AuPairWorld

Laurie · 15/04/2022

I share my first experience, as an au pair abroad, with the agency AuPairWorld. How happened my stay? What did I wish had known? Find out my advice!

Former French au pair testimonial ✒️.

Why did I become an au pair?

I studied 📚 Business, everyone knows how essential languages, especially English, are for doing "business". In my course, I had to validate my English by getting 79 on the TOEFL*, but after several attempts my best score was 59. Looking at the exam, I was far from having it.

To be honest, it wasn't my choice to go abroad as an au pair 🛫 but I already had a tumultuous school career, so I couldn't afford to repeat a grade again.

I had to improve my English, and my family clearly left me no choice 😅. But in the end, I am very happy to have been an au pair.


How did I find my host family?

At that time, I was 20 years old and didn't know anything about the au pair programme. I vaguely knew what it was like that I was going to live with an English family and have to take care of the children in the house 🏠.

Like everyone else, I type "au pair" on the internet to click on the first result of my search, which is AuPairWorld. I have to admit when the platform is easy to use and the filters allow for a broad sorting through the families 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 available. However, the lack of "humanism" of the platform means that no one is there to help you, guide you, inform you, warn you, etc. In my opinion, it was a big mistake to go through this au pair agency.

Finally, I found an English family with whom I started to communicate by messages before having video calls. During our exchanges, I did not know how to explain clearly and precisely my expectations 🤷‍♀️ and for that matter, neither did they. I had no one to advise me and no au pair experience to know what I should say to my future host family and how to choose them.

Advice: Choosing a family that has the same values and vision as you, will make your life easier as an au pair. Also, don't hesitate to have many phone calls to get to know them well. You are going to spend several months or even a year under their roof! You need to feel comfortable and confident.


My departure for abroad

I left a few weeks later without ever signing my contract, without a clear understanding of my tasks, without having asked the right questions. That alone was a mistake. It was the red flag 🚩 I should have seen at the time, but again, nobody was there to answer my questions.

👉 Watch the video "7 Questions to Ask Your Host Family | Au Pair Oh Paris".

As soon as I arrived, there was a small hitch: it wasn't my family who picked me up from the airport, but a taxi 🚕 because neither the father nor the mother were available. An hour and a half drive later, I arrive in front of my new home. The mother welcomes me, gives me a quick tour of the ground floor of the house (it was after midnight and the little one was already sleeping).

The next day, Sunday, quick visit of the house, of the village and explanation of my missions, in short my brain is on fire 🔥, I understand almost nothing, no intermediary is there to help us communicate. 

Advice: Know that there are interesting questions to ask during your interviews and that you should always sign your contract before leaving and be insured. Fortunately, in my case, I had my European Health Insurance Card and in 2019 the UK was still part of the European Union.

Register to our next meet up

My new lifestyle

My first two weeks are going pretty well. It was hard, very hard for me who had never been away from home for very long, but at the same time, during my free time, I had this feeling of freedom 🍃 ! But I was lonely, I had a host family and my host kid, but I wanted to see the world. I didn't see any progress in English, and I missed having a social life. I knew that speaking would improve my skills. 

The thing is, my family had had au pairs before me, so naively I thought I was the only one around as my parents didn't tell me about other au pairs. However, I came across a group of au pairs purely by chance. I was thrilled, and my family seemed to be too, the mother offered to drop me off at the station to go to the pub 🍻 with the group.


I was having a great time, I was still struggling to speak, but being surrounded by young people like me, motivated myself to make more of an effort in terms of listening and speaking. Around 10pm, my family contacts me to say I had missed the last train 🚆 and come and get me. You can smell the shady stuff, right? At first, I didn't go out much, but three weeks after that great night, I wanted to go back.

From the moment I started seeing other au pairs regularly, my host family, on the other hand, started asking me more and more things to do, especially when it came to cleaning 🧹. Hence, the need to have a contract. With hindsight, I understand that the family was homely and wanted a big sister like them, so you have to find an au pair family with the same values as you!

I also have my share of responsibility. One day I got fed up with coming home at chicken time. I sent a rather bloody message about it to a friend of mine. Mistake. I sent it to my host family. I think they took it the wrong way, but I was saying, in a cruder way, that I was an adult and could go out longer. Anyway, the result of this message: my family became very dry with me, but at least I could go out until the time I wanted.


My stay between happiness and suffering

I had contacted a family that did not suit me, and this prevented me from fully enjoying my stay. As much as outside, it was a dream come true, at home, there was a big discomfort. I was not comfortable with my host parents. My stay got worse and worse 😨 two months after I arrived and until I left.

Seeing the group, I could see that my English was improving, it allowed me to flourish socially speaking, and I was doing many activities such as weekend road trips to explore the country. I even managed to find love with an Englishman. This is the solution to learn the language faster 😆.

⚠️ Without a contract, au pairs are not safe. My family lowered my pocket money from £80 to £30 a week, supposedly because of financial difficulties (but to afford a 2x5 metre mirror, there it's fine she found the money), they asked me to do things like clean the fridge, do the family's laundry, do all the rooms in the house in a week - no au pair is supposed to do that! - and every morning I had a list 📝 of assignments that got longer and longer. 

But in return, I had my friends and my boyfriend. I wanted to stay close to them, that's why I didn't say anything. I just endured. I was living my best life and at the same time my worst. After a while, I even started to spend all my weekends at my boyfriend's house because it was so unbearable. In this situation, Butrfly's mediation 🦋 would have been a good thing.


How did my stay end?

After 5 very psychologically complicated months for me - yes because in my opinion the first month was normal - my host mum let me know that a new au pair would be arriving to succeed me on the 25th of October.

Which means "employing" a new girl and as they say: you don't catch flies with vinegar, you catch them with honey 🍯, so I had a good picture that the pocket money was going to go back to £80 a week. It's amazing, isn't it 🤔?

My plane ticket 🛫 was already booked for the 1st of November, this was agreed at the beginning of my stay verbally and not in signed writing! So my host family offered me two solutions: to go and live with one of their friends or to have one of my friends put me up while I went back to France. Basically, they wanted to kick me out before my time 😅.

On the other hand, I chose the 3ᵉ option: leave a week before the date that suited them and live the rest of my stay with my boyfriend spending time with my friends 🧋 without feeling bad about having to return to my host family.

I don't think they are a bad host family, I think that just like me, they suffered my presence. The proof, they could have kicked me out 🚪 way before if they wanted to since no contract was signed, but they didn't. The only thing is that they took advantage of the situation, seeing that I didn't say anything, to add more and more housework to me. 


What would I have liked?

This may seem very insignificant to you, but the choice of the family and a good understanding of what they want is essential to have a serene and trouble-free stay.

  • I would have liked to have been accompanied in my approach to find out if this family really suited me. In this way, I would have understood that my values were far too different from those of my host family.
  • I would have liked to communicate more with my host family during my stay in order to find solutions to our problems and to have support to help me in the situation I was in.

That's why I think Butrfly is really the best platform to find your ideal family that suits you, thanks to their continuous support throughout the process.

Become an au pair

This does not prevent me from learning a lot about myself and about the world in general during my experience.

I don't regret my stay at all because thanks to this experience, I made international contacts, I became fluent in English, I lived abroad, and I also found love 🙈. But if I could go back to au pair, for sure, I would choose the services of Butrfly agency.


*A language test designed to assess the ability of non-native speakers to use and understand English in an academic setting.

Photo de

Laurie · 15/04/2022



Ces articles peuvent vous intéresser

Abonnez-vous à notre newsletter afin de suivre nos actualités et de recevoir des alertes lors de nouveautés