Having decided to become an Au Pair during 2014, I was placed with a family in The Netherlands. It wasn’t an easy decision since I knew that I would be terribly homesick and would miss my family and friends enormously. The benefits outweighed the negatives and I was soon relishing living in a new country, learning a new language and experiencing other cultures and languages too, since The Netherlands is so diverse. We all have different goals when we become an Au Pair, but there must be a common thread behind your decision, that is that you MUST like spending most of your time with children. You will be tested every day that you are with them and you must have patience and empathy when being an Au Pair too.
There are so many things that one could cover about this intense experience, but I have decided to provide a practical checklist for those that are thinking of becoming an Au Pair. Since I’m Brazilian my process was obviously different for those from the EU. You can find the terms and conditions of becoming an Au Pair in The Netherlands here https://ind.nl/en/other/eu-eea)
Where to start
You are able to apply to work as an Au Pair if you are between 18 and 30 years old (30 is the age limit). Sign up with a reputable Au Pair agency, they will be able to help you find your host family and arrange your visa and other necessary documentation. It is very important that you discuss EVERYTHING with your future host family and the agency, this includes your exact working hours, days off, what you are expected to do each day etc. You don’t want any surprises when you start work!
How does the programme work?
The family must provide accommodation and meals, in addition to paying a pocket money of 300 to 340 euros per month (it is not considered salary). These rules are specific to the Netherlands. Several countries offer the Au Pair program and each one has its own rules.
Working hours and free time
In the Netherlands, the weekly working schedule of an au pair must not exceed a total of 30 hours. You must never work more than 8 hours a day or more than 5 days a week. You only perform light domestic work for the host family. You are entitled to a minimum of two days off a per week; however, these days do not have to be consecutive. You are entitled to a minimum of 2 weeks paid annual leave every 12 months. You and your host family must agree when you will take your leave in advance.
Language course/cultural exchange
As an Au pair, you are permitted to attend a language course. Your host family will help you find the most suitable course and must pay 320 euros per year for your course. Since the Au Pair programme is designed to support cultural exchange, your host family will help you experience Dutch culture through various cultural activities.
Medical insurance is mandatory in The Netherlands. You must be covered throughout the duration of your time in The Netherlands. This required health insurance is called basisverzekering. Dutch health insurance is accessible to all residents and provides general medical care including hospital care, medication, etc. Your host family must pay all of your insurance fees.
Life in The Netherlands
Once you’ve arrived and settled into your new home. There are a few more details that need to be dealt with. You need to open a bank account, register with the town hall etc. Your host family should advise and help you with all of these matters. You then need to get used to your new routine, the weather in The Netherlands is probably wetter and colder to what you are used to, so make sure you have the right clothing. The easiest way to move around town, picking up the children from school, going to the supermarket etc. is by bike, your host family will most probably provide you with one, or help you find a second hand one. Following a Dutch language course will help you adapt to your life in The Netherlands, and will help you communicate with the children better.
Do you have any questions about being an Au Pair in The Netherlands? Leave a message here… and we will answer you as soon as we can.
For more information on becoming or working as an Au Pair, visit this page https://ind.nl/en/other/Pages/Au-pair.aspx
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