My name is Chelsey, and I am 21 years old. I am from The Netherlands, where I have lived my whole life. When I was 18, I graduated as a specialized pedagogical worker, and ever since, I have been working full-time at a daycare centre. The age group I have worked with the most includes babies aged from 0 to 1.5 years old.
Dreams of becoming an au pair
Since I was a child, I had always told people about my dream of traveling to the other side of the world, but it was never a concrete plan. When I was around 14 or 15, I learned about being an au pair, and I knew that's what I wanted to do when I became old enough. When I started thinking about the destination for my au pair experience, I had doubts between England and Australia. Eventually, I chose Australia because if I was going to embark on this adventure, I wanted it to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Becoming a Smart Au Pair in Australia
I became a Smart Au Pair in Australia from March 2023 to February 2024, the Dutch agency who helped me from The Netherlands is called Travel Active.
I applied to be an au pair in June 2022, nine months before I intended to leave for the au pair experience. Applying early allowed me to avoid experiencing any stress, as I had more than enough time to navigate the entire application process. I spent about a month collecting all the required forms. In July, I had an interview with the Dutch agency Travel Active to assess my English proficiency. After the interview and once the agency reviewed all my documents, they created a profile for me and forwarded it to the Australian agency, Smart Au Pairs. In August, I received confirmation of my acceptance as an au pair. Because I applied early, I had to wait for a few months before I could start the matching process with host families. Typically, families start searching for au pairs three months in advance, so I began getting matched with families in November.
Finding my host family
The first match I received was with a family that had older children, but since I was looking for a family with a baby or younger kids, I declined their offer, explaining my experience and preference for younger children. The second match was with a family that had two young boys. I responded to this family, and we scheduled a Skype call. It felt great, and the mom was excited, but unfortunately, a few days later, she informed me that they had chosen another au pair. At this point, I felt disappointed, but not long after, I received five new match offers from other families. I responded to all of them, and one family promptly replied, requesting a Skype call.
This call was with just the mom, but it felt great, so we agreed to another call with the dad later in the week. A few days later, I had a call with both the mom and dad, and they expressed enthusiasm about having me as their au pair. The dad expressed his desire for me to become their au pair, and the mom apologized for any pressure, as she knew I was in talks with other families. That was the moment I decided that this was the right family for me. We both emailed the agency, expressing our satisfaction with the match, and within a few days, the match became official after we signed the invitation at the end of November. After that, I applied for my visa, which was approved within seconds. I booked my flight tickets and secured au pair insurance. In December, I attended a preparation workshop provided by the Dutch agency, where I received more information and first aid training. After that, I had to wait until the end of March to leave for Australia. During this time, I stayed in contact with the family. We exchanged pictures and communicated via WhatsApp every week.
Meeting my host family
My first impression of the family was that they were very down-to-earth, just like me, and very caring. The host mom's name is Hayley, and the host dad's name is Jeremy. The twin boys, Christo and Jonty, were 6 when I arrived. They also had a girl named Araminta, who was 3 when I arrived, and another girl named Olympia, who was 10 months old when I arrived.
We live in Sydney in a place called Balgowlah, which is really close to Manly Beach. The family's house is quite spacious, with 2 living rooms and 5 bedrooms. In the backyard, there is a swimming pool, a large play area for the kids, and a studio. I reside in the studio in the backyard, where I have my own bedroom and living room combined, a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a small storage room. I am really thankful to have my own space that is separate from the main house because it allows me to have my own personal time when I am done working.
Vacations with my family
When the family goes on vacation, they take me with them. In April, we went on a two-week journey to the Gold Coast. In July, we headed to Thredbo for a week and a half of skiing. September will see us returning to the Gold Coast for another week, and in December-January, we'll be back there for about four weeks. I am truly grateful for these opportunities, as they allow me to explore more of Australia!
My spare time
In my spare time, I always enjoy exploring new places. I particularly love going on day tours to destinations like the Blue Mountains and Port Stephens because everything is already planned, sparing me the need to worry about details. Making friends here is really easy, thanks to the lots of WhatsApp groups. Whenever I send a text in a group, there's always someone eager to meet, and sometimes, I just meet new people while exploring new places.
Favourite part if Australia
What I like the most about Australia is its culture and its people. I have been here for some months now and sometimes I am still surprised by new things! I love learning everything about the people here and what they do! I really enjoy exploring new places and find the most amazing, beautiful hidden spots like Manly Wormhole!
Bonding through Smart Au Pairs Events
I have attended a bowling event hosting by Smart Au Pairs, which was really fun! And in two weeks I am the one hosting an event for Smart Au Pairs. As an ambassador I will organise a picknick while paining in the park, I’m really looking forward to it. The events are a great opportunity to meet new people and have fun without any pressure.
Good communication is key
Up to this point, I haven't encountered significant challenges or difficulties. I firmly believe that communication is the key to overcoming any situation. By maintaining open communication with my host family, we've managed to avert many potential issues. The only somewhat complicated aspect was obtaining my WWCC (Working With Children Check) because my credit card displayed only the initial letters of my first and middle name. Here, they require the full names, so I had to acquire a credit card with both my full first and middle names. Other than that, everything has been quite easy.
My personal growth
Being an au pair has undoubtedly contributed significantly to my personal development. I feel like a completely different person compared to who I was before starting this adventure. While back in The Netherlands, I might have spent weekends doing nothing, here, I spend my weekends exploring everything around me. This is definitely something that I will keep doing when I am back in the Netherlands.
Enjoy every single minute!
If you're considering to be an au pair in Australia, I don’t really have any specific advice. You just have to go for it and enjoy every single minute because time flies once you are here!