Sarah’s Au Pair Story

My name is Sarah, I am 18 from Australia.

My adventure started when I received my results at the end of year 11 and I decided that I wanted to have a gap year. I had no idea as to what I wanted to do, but I knew one thing, I wanted to do whatever it was, in England, specifically London. To be honest I have had a fascination with London and England/ Europe for quite a while so this was my chance to live my dream!

Forms and information was all sent in and my parents believed that I was actually serious on wanting to move across the world to London. So when I received a profile from a family in Leeds I was a bit divided, where they seemed to be a lovely family, I wasn’t sure I wanted to live so far from London.

How I was wrong.

I have been so lucky to have been blessed with the most amazing host family. The children are wonderful and my host parents are amazing and have made me feel at home, a month in and I feel like I am part of the family, which I felt from day one!

February 2nd came by way too quick for mine and my families liking, the day I was leaving. I am very close with all my family so saying goodbye to everyone at the airport was really hard. I remember walking down to the gate at the airport and saying to one of my friends that had come to see me, ‘I can’t do this; I can’t get on that plane.’ But I managed to say goodbye to everyone and my adventure began. Thirty hours later I arrived at Manchester airport to be greeted by my host Dad, and we drove back to Leeds, and after meeting my host Mum we walked to the kid’s school to pick them up. When Hannah (Host Mum) and I walked into Lucy’s (5) classroom everyone, even the teacher, was excited to see me, apparently that is all they had been hearing about all day!

To begin with, jetlag and getting lost were the biggest things on my mind. I was so worried I would get lost, or not be able to sleep for two weeks.  Having moved across the world, I was now eleven hours behind the time I was used to, so at about 4-5pm I would started getting really tired and explaining this to a 5 year old was a bit difficult but Oliver (9), completely understood, he would work out what time it was in Australia, so we could explain to Lucy that my body is thinking that it should be asleep right now or just waking up.

I have only gotten lost on one occasion in the city which is fabulous! Google maps and widespread free WIFI helps with this a lot!!

One of the hardest things for me so far has been trying to make new friends. I have a few friends but I mainly do a lot on my own. Being a part of an agency that has so few people placed up north is a bit difficult but I am learning to open myself up a bit more.

To be honest I haven’t missed home all that much so far. I have had a few days where I have shed a few tears and said I wanted to go home after the skype has not worked or my parents haven’t answered my calls. But I think that I am extremely lucky to be travelling in a world that I can sit on a computer in a café or at home and be able to talk to my parents through the internet. I use apps such as viber and skype which are both fabulous!

I love to travel around and explore, which I am now starting to do a lot more of! I love the history of all the places and I love London, especially as I have some close friends who live there!

There isn’t much I would change about my experience so far. I would love to make more friends and be able to travel around the UK more, but I have heaps of time left to do that! I love my job, the people and the kids! My host family are very relaxed and easy going which makes it heaps easier for me!

Bring on the rest of my adventure, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me!

Sarah :)


Teegan’s Au Pair Story

When I first thought of moving to England after school I didn’t know how it would have been possible. It is so far away from Australia, I had no family and no friends and I would have to save up all my pennies to attempt to get over, let alone to live. Somehow after some research and chatting to friends I stumbled across the smart au pair website! I was amazed at how perfect the chance to au pair whilst living in a foreign country would be! So obviously I signed up straight away. I was so nervous for my over the phone interview it was crazy. But Camilla was so nice! She made me feel right at home, asked me to voice and ask any questions I might have about the job or the living situations, absolutely anything. It’s far to say over the next couple of months I certainly asked her what I thought was WAY to many questions, however she was always happy to help. Eventually I got all of the paper work sorted and all my questions answered and I was matched up to a family! It all happened so quickly and efficiently. One week I was excited because I had just given in all my forms and two weeks later I have an interview with my first family! It was so exciting and nerve racking I couldn’t contain myself!
I’ve been in England for a month now and I have to say it has been a great month! I’ve bonded with the family and kids really well! The smart au pair agency has constantly checked in on me to make sure there are no problems, offering their hand in any matter if needed. I’ve even been able to meet some great people through a meet up in London! It was great and the best part was I now know people around my area doing the same thing as me. It’s comforting to know I’m not in this alone but that I have a large support network from smart au pairs helping and guiding me through my journey! I’m glad I made this decision as it was one of the best I’ve ever made! I can’t thank the smart au pair agency enough both in Australia and in London as they have been such a help to get me to my dream!

Au Pair Feedback

What do you enjoy about being an au pair in the UK?

I love it! This has been the best experience of my life and I wouldn¹t change anything of this year. Being an au pair in the UK was a great decision as England has all the history and sites to keep you busy in you spare time whilst also being so close to so many other countries, making travelling more accessible and cheaper. For me, this was a great move as I wasn¹t looking to learn a new language and England can be quite similar and an easier move from Australia. (A was au pair in the UK)

Now that we’re coming into spring the weather has been absolutely beautiful and all the big parks in London are really lovely to just go and have a picnic in the sunshine with your friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Also the exciting London night life is very fun. (Jessica was au pair in the UK)
I like coming as an aupair because you don’t have to worry about finding a place to live and instantly have a family. My favourite thing about the UK is that it’s close to everything. It’s easy to get around and there are so many other countries near by to visit. I got a long weekend not long after I arrived so I took off to Ireland for three days. It’s easy to do weekend getaways here. (Kelly was au pair in the UK)

What is so special about being au pair?

For me, the best part has been being welcomed so sincerely by my host family. They have really taken on the role as a Œhost family¹ and treat me as if I¹m part of their family, which has really helped me to settle in. (A was au pair in the UK)
The strong bond and attachment that you form with the children is really meaningful to me and I feel allows you to provide a better quality care that in a nursery or childcare centre because you can get to know that children and their individual needs better and build a strong secure attachment so the children and their parents feel confident and secure with you as a carer and an extended member of the family unit. (Jessica was au pair in the UK)
I’m working with a mum to care for her toddler and twin babies. I particularly enjoy watching and being a part of the growth that takes place at this age. In my experience with older children I enjoy helping them learn new things, exploring with them and just having fun. I’m helping to shape lives! (Kelly was au pair in the UK)

Would you recommend au pairing to your friends?

Definitely! I have been trying to convince all my friends and their younger siblings to do it for their Gap Year after finishing school. It is the perfect opportunity to see the world and experience different cultures while you¹re young in such a supportive environment. I love it! (A was au pair in the UK)

I would most definitely recommend the experience. It’s a great way to see another part of the world and experience another culture…or more if you travel. My advice to those considering the experienc would be to describe yourself well in the application and think about matches carefully asking the parents lots of questions about routine and how they raise their children so you can get the best family possible and make your UK au pair experience a delightful adventure. (Kelly was au pair in the UK)

Yes and I already have in the form of recommending the experience to a friend who I studied diploma of children’s services with however she is planning to go to Holland not the UK. (Jessica was au pair in the UK)

Does this sound like the gap year experience for you?

Get in touch with Smartgapyear today to book your ticket to a year of discovering new cultures, new places, new experiences and new friends!