We know what it’s like… one night your child vaguely mentions an idea about becoming an Au Pair in Australia…and right now that sounds like a fun but crazy idea. We know that as a parent, you will have many questions and concerns and your trust in us is very important. We understand that this is a big step for both child AND parent and AIFS want this to be an amazing life experience for all involved.
To answer your questions here is a summary of our program, costs and insurance details will help address your concerns, help you to give your child your blessing and more importantly, allow you to start planning what you as a parent are going to do with all that new free time!
Au Pair means en par or equal to in French. Therefore Au Pairs are considered equal members of their Australian families! An Au Pair is an international visitor who travels to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa and lives with an Australian family for six months. Au Pairs receive rom and board with their host family as well as weekly pocket money. In return they provide 45 hours of childcare per week.
An Au Pair is much more than a nanny. By the time AIFS Au Pairs’ return home they have gained an amazing life experience, a better understanding of other cultures and have developed as individuals. It is also a wonderful addition to any resume/CV!
The American Institute for Foreign Study ("AIFS") was founded in 1964 by Sir Cyril Taylor GBE. AIFS has offices in Australia, Germany, Poland, the UK and the US and study centres around the globe. Globally, AIFS provides opportunities to close to 50,000 young people every year.
Taking part in a cultural exchange program has many benefits. It allows young people to better understand and embrace another culture, its people and its country. It helps improve the confidence, responsibility and communication skills of young people as well as encourage and develop their independence and life skills. Travel always helps broaden horizons and introduce a better understanding of other cultures.
Applying to Au Pair in Australia will involve completing an online application, paying a deposit and attending an interview with a trained AIFS Interviewer. As part of the application process our Interviewers assess that an Applicant possesses the skills, experience, maturity and ability to participate on the program. Interviewers generally conduct interviews in their own time with most interviews taking place local to the Interviewer’s area or via Skype.
After the initial online registration and interview, Applicants are required to submit two references (which need to adhere to our reference requirements) fingerprinting and a medical check. We are committed to child protection and the safeguarding of children so throughout the application and placement process we apply this policy. We also apply this strict screening to all Host Families on our program.
Once an application is complete our placement team will begin a matching process to identify potential families that are looking for an Au Pair with similar requirements. The matching process takes into consideration the applicant's childcare experience, the number and ages of the children they have cared for, their preferred placement location (city, regional or country) and other criteria such as allergies, religious preferences, and interests.
Once a potential match is identified the Applicant and the Host Family receive the profile of the other party and are asked if they wish to arrange an interview. Both parties are freely able to decline in which case further profiles are then forwarded. When both parties agree to an interview AIFS will confirm a mutually agreed time for the two parties to speak. Sometimes more than one call takes place before an applicant and family confirm they wish to proceed with a placement.
Once placed with their Host Family, Applicants are required to pay their final payment and then apply for a Work & Holiday Visa. The visa application is an online process and their local AIFS Coordinator will assist them complete this step. Our Coordinator will also assist them in making flight arrangements if requested.
Every Au Pair arrives in Sydney and is met at the airport by a representative who will be wearing an AIFS shirt. They will then be transferred by shuttle bus to a hostel near AIFS where they will spend their first two nights, prior to relocating to their host family. AIFS' preferred hostel is WakeUp. WakeUp has won numerous global and Australian awards.
Upon arrival in Sydney, all Au Pairs complete a two day orientation at AIFS HQ. During orientation our Au Pairs have the opportunity to make friends, meet the AIFS team and importantly begin the adjustment process. Once Au Pairs relocate to their Host Family AIFS keeps in regular contact with every Au Pair and also provides them with a community counsellor who can be contacted at any time in addition to our emergency phone line. If an Au Pair experiences any issues or simply need someone to talk to about their placement, AIFS are only a call away.
We require that all applicants hold full medical and liability insurance throughout the duration of their program. AIFS can provide a quote for insurance if requested.
All payments are non-refundable if the cancellation is made by the Applicant due to a change of mind or circumstances. However, if cancellation is a result of a bona fide medical reason, that is supported with a Doctor's medical certificate, all payments will be refunded.
AIFS charges a fee both to the Applicant and to the Host Family.
Our fees cover the costs of running a fully-supportive program, accommodation, airport transfer, staffing, provision of orientations and the work incurred in searching for and securing a placement with a host family.
We are not driven by shareholders. Fees are set to cover our costs and ensure we maintain a high level of service throughout the application process and during the program.
Most Au Pairs are placed with a Host Family for a minimum of 6 months unless a longer period is requested at the time of application. All families who participate on our program are required to complete a detailed application, provide references (which are checked by our team) and provide police checks for any person over the age of 18 who will be residing in the home during the placement.