Hey Au Pairs,
It’s that time of year when au pairs and host families are saying au revoir for good and not for amicable reasons. We’re talking REMATCH time. If you’re an au pair who is going through a rough patch with your host family, we feel for you. Edwina has had her fair share of shitty host families (apparently we can’t call it a horror story according to the latest comment though, haha!)
If you’re in a similar situation, don’t worry, it happens. It doesn’t matter whether you were the one who decided to leave or whether they kicked you out - it’s time to move on.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Firstly, the rematch process can be very stressful. Trying to find a new family on a time crunch is hard. Add onto that the worry of where you’ll live in the interim between your old job and the new one means things will completely slip your mind.
In the video below, we’ve offered a few pieces of advice for how to get through this tough experience. In this blog post, we thought we’d look at just three of those all important things which you may completely forget about when you’re dealing with this overwhelmingly emotional rollercoaster.
This list doesn’t cover everything and if you have something to add, please leave a comment below or join our OPEN FORUM on Facebook to discuss the topic further.
1. Health insurance is KEY
One aspect of the au pair experience that often gets brushed under the rug in your search for a new family is health insurance. Especially if you are on an au pair working visa.
If your first family sponsored you to come into France as an au pair, they had to go through a lengthy process of registering you with the French government and signing paperwork promising to pay for your “Sécurité Sociale” or your health insurance. Unless your second family has gone through the process of sponsoring an au pair visa before, they will probably not know the responsibilities that come along with it.
Firstly, we recommend that you SPEAK to your new host family about health insurance and make sure they have some idea of how they’re going to make sure you’re insured. If they’re clueless and seem to be ignoring your health insurance, this is likely a red flag. But, you may also want to simply ignore the whole thing and just settle with not being registered by your family. We don’t really recommend this but Edwina went with this option in the rush to find a new family. At least know that you are making that decision to be uninsured.
However, much more advisably if your host family aren’t going to insure you is to find insurance elsewhere. Options include being insured by your home insurance or finding cheap travel insurance. Check out the many comparison websites online but make sure to read the terms and conditions before you pay to ensure you’re not breaching your contract by working.
2. Choose a BETTER host family
Make a list of what you liked about your first family and what you didn't like. You are going into rematch for a reason. Don’t get yourself caught up in the same situation just because you feel desperate to find a new family! Learn from your previous experience.
Here are a few NEW questions to ask:
What are your kids like?
Are you (or your kids) evil?
Will you make me work 1,000 hours a week?
We jest, but really, figure out exactly what went wrong with your last host family dynamic and ask questions to suss out how it will be different this time.
Remember, you don’t HAVE to tell your host family what happened with your old family. But if you do, let them know why the match failed and ask them how they intend on being a better fit for you. Don't go into details of the "wrong" things you did, just be brief and then ask them questions.
3. The Au Pair Community is Strong
Don’t be afraid to lean on the support of the greater au pair community. There are other au pairs out there who have gone through this process or who are currently in a similar situation to you. Keep in mind that you have a community in the city and that au pairs are a helpful, welcoming bunch. See if you can make friends who will let you sleep on their chambre de bonne floor for a few days (or weeks) while you try to get your life back on track.
If you’re not part of our Facebook groups already, we have the Au Pair, Oh Paris Open Forum which is exclusively for au pairs all over the world. Or, become an APOP Member and we can help you out further in Paris.