Hey loves! Every wonder what it’s like to work as a au pair in Germany? Well today we are hearing from Sara, a Canadian au pair who is currently working in Germany. Take it away Sara!
Where do you live? Suburb, town, etc.
I live in Bendorf, Germany. It is a very small city of about 20,000 people.
How did you find your family? Through a website, friends, etc.
I found my host family through the website AupairWorld. They were the first family I spoke with and I had a really good feeling right away that we would be a good fit. After a few messages back and forth and a Skype date, they offered me the position and I gladly accepted!
What is your salary?
What kind of visa do you have?
I have what is called an Aufenthaltstitel, which is a German residence permit issued to non-EU members. There is a clause stating that my permit is specific to my employment with my au pair family. I was able to apply for the permit upon arrival in Germany rather than having to go to a Consulate in Canada.
Do you go to German school?
Shortly after I arrived in Germany, I began taking a German language class at a Volkshochschule in Koblenz. Volkshochschules are the German equivalent to an adult learning centre or a kind of adult high school, where all kinds of courses are taught (not just languages).
I took the class for a few months but ended up quitting about halfway through because I didn’t feel I was getting much out of it anymore. I opted for self-study instead. I’ve since heard that the Volkshochschule can be quite hit and miss since there is no required structure for the teachers to follow. The specific class and teaching style I experienced just wasn’t for me.
How long have you been there/will you stay?
I’ve been in Germany for six months, and will be au pairing for another five. I’ll be travelling Europe when my au pair contract is completed before heading home.
What you love about au pairing in small-town Germany:
I love living in Bendorf because I truly feel like I’m getting an authentic German experience. I love that the neighbours all know each other and that they drop by unannounced for visits. I love that the forest is literally in our backyard, that our neighbourhood has its own dialect, and I love how safe I always feel no matter the time of day.
What you au pairing about working in small-town Germany:
Small-town Germany can get pretty boring, as there just isn’t a whole lot to do. Thankfully I live close to a larger city! Additionally, meeting people can be a challenge.
Do you have your own room or own apartment?
I have my own room in the house which includes a powder room. The house I’m living in is quite large and my host family refers to my space as “the au pair apartment.”
What duties do you have? Do you cook for the family?
I take care of one of the children in the morning, bring him to daycare, and then clean the house for a few hours. I do quite a bit of housework, but it was optional and I’m paid extra for it. This involves laundry, tidying up, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, and washing floors.
I then usually heat up lunch, which is prepared the night before by my host mom. After lunch I take care of the other child for an hour or so and my day is over around 2:00pm. I’m also required to babysit on the weekends once or twice a month.
How do you entertain/educate the children?
I do a wide variety of activities with the children which include reading to them, doing crafts, building things, playing board games, playing soccer or other sports with the little guy, and sometimes taking the little girl into the city to shop and get food.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend my free time running, doing yoga, blogging, going into Koblenz, meeting with friends for coffee, traveling, reading, working on my German, and watching movies.
How have you made friends? Has it been difficult in a small town? Are there many expats/fellow au pairs?
It’s been a bit of a struggle making friends here. The language barrier has not helped, but I’ve been able to make friends through contacts of the family. Also, I met my best friend here online through Toytown Germany, which is a website for English speakers in Germany.
What is the dating scene like?
I came to Germany with a boyfriend back home, so I’m not the best one to ask this question to, but the dating scene in Bendorf seems fairly non-existent. I’m sure it would be a lot better in Koblenz.
Have you found it easy to learn German?
No! German is a really difficult language. The grammar can be so crazy. However I’ve found that variety and consistency helps a lot. I can understand way more German than when I first arrived, but speaking is still quite hard.
Overall would you recommend au pairing in Germany?
I would definitely recommend working in small-town Germany, given that you are situated close enough to a decent-sized city.
Any important things to pack?
One of the things I was so happy to have packed was a pair of Crocs. Living with the forest in our backyard, it’s nice to have shoes to slip on and off that I don’t care about getting dirty.
Along those lines, I wear yoga pants almost everyday, so I would say that comfy clothes are a must. I also wish I had packed more medication, like vitamins and cold medicine.
I’m not usually one to get sick but I’ve been sick a ton here! Apparently medication is quite expensive in Germany and on top of that, if you don’t know German reading labels can be a huge pain.
Other useful au pairing posts:
Have you or would you ever au pair in Germany? Comment below!
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