20 mar 2011

Host Family Application Essay

Categoria: Au Pair is...


Achei a carta da minha segunda Host Family e vou colocar algumas partes aqui (já que ela, inteira, tem 5 páginas). Por pedido deles, deixei apenas as iniciais dos nomes dos host parents e das kids.  Mesmo cortando algumas partes, dá pra ter uma ideia de como é a família e o que eles esperam de uma Au Pair.

E aqui vai:

My husband(K) and I met eighteen years ago at university, and immediately could talk about anything.  But we didn’t marry until eleven years ago. Even in college we both lived and worked with people from other countries, and even then we talked about adopting children.

When our son C was born seven years ago,  K was working fulltime and I was working half time.  K worked four ten-hour days so he could stay home on Wednesdays and I could work all day.  He also worked from home one morning and one afternoon a week and I took the baby to work one morning and one afternoon a week.  As you can see, family life is very important to us. I have concluded, however, that I will have more energy and quality time for my children if I have an au pair who can help drive them places and make their lunches and be with one or two children while I have quality time with the other(s).  I also have a neck and shoulder injury and need to schedule therapy appointments about three times a week.  So I will need an au pair at those times. Occasionally, my neck and shoulder are unpredictably worse and I need help driving the kids and lifting the youngest one.  So if the au pair can be flexible about her hours and perhaps open to working more one day and less another day that week, that would be great.  K also has some flexibility in his work schedule, so we would not expect the au pair to miss class or anything if my shoulder is bad.   K travels every couple of months for about a week, but this gives him some flexibility when he is at home.

I also will be volunteering with Boy Scouts and taking one evening class each quarter.  I also think K and I need to spend more time together.  Perhaps the au pair could spend one evening a week and one early afternoon lunch period watching the children while this happens.

In general we are thinking that the au pair would work from 7-9 am, getting the kids ready for school, serving breakfast and cleaning up the breakfast dishes, driving the older two kids to school.  Also a couple of hours in the afternoon helping drive the kids to Kindermusik and activities, a couple of evenings a week, and the rest of the 40 hours could be flexible—I can schedule my physical therapy appointments around your class schedule, and you can do the kids’ laundry whenever it fits your schedule, etc.

We adopted our daughter M from Korea when she was almost a year old.  We had a wonderful experience of the country and people in Korea.  She had been very well cared for.  Our daughter R came to us from Korea  when she was eight months old.

As a family, we enjoy reading, camping, walking in the woods near our home, attending church events, visiting Seattle attractions such as the science museum, aquarium, zoo, children’s museum, waterfront, etc. The children enjoy doing arts and crafts and baking with me, and gardening and woodworking with their dad.   We hope the au pair will enjoy doing some of these things with us and being involved as part of the family, although we know we will each need our own space sometimes.

We live in Bellevue, just across Lake Washington from Seattle.  There is a good community college very close to our home and other universities in Seattle.  Usually Seattle is a 15-20 minute drive, but during the morning and evening business commute hours or when a professional sports event is happening, the traffic on the bridge can take an hour.  We are in a suburban neighborhood with good neighbors.  The au pair will have her own bedroom and bathroom downstairs.  The major living areas and our bedrooms are upstairs, so the au pair would have privacy in the entire downstairs floor in the evenings.  (There is a recreation room downstairs which the kids may use in the daytime for computer, table tennis, etc. but in the evenings the au pair could have privacy there to watch television, etc.)

I think the qualities important to our au pair/ host family relationship are: that the au pair truly care about the children and ther development, that she try to read and talk to them and do activities with them, not just have them watch TV. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not always fun to constantly supervise three active children and clean up after them.  (It’s important for the host family to be appreciative also—and we will be!).  The au pair must be responsible, vigilant, and have common sense. She needs to befriend the children without letting the desire for them to be pleased with her to cloud her judgment.   It’s important to be honest and willing to talk about annoyances and concerns before they become major problems. Both parties need to be understanding during the initial adjustment period.

We also need an au pair who is flexible, willing to have her schedule change sometimes according to kids’ activity schedules (although we will do our best to honor her need for advance knowledge and we can work around her class time).  We need someone who is an excellent driver.

We are also looking for an au pair who would be willing to forego wearing perfume and use fragrance-free versions of products such as hairspray, soaps, lotions, etc. (We are quite willing to buy these.) I realize a change in personal care products can be a sacrifice, but because of allergies I cannot have perfume in the house or the smell of perfume left in the car, etc.  This also applies for smoking—we cannot tolerate cigarette smoke at all, even on clothes, so we need an au pair who does not smoke.

For qualities on the host family’s part, we are very interested in other cultures, experienced with the little misunderstandings that can arise, and flexible.  (In fact, we are so easygoing and flexible that if you are an extremely neat and organized person we may prove frustrating for you.)  We truly would respect an au pair and insist our children respect her also.  We are good listeners and problem solvers.   We care about making the au pair’s experience a good one.


12 out 2009

Como escrever a carta para a família

Categoria: Au Pair is..., Dicas


Chegou o momento de escrever a carta para a família, uma parte muito importante do application, pois é a sua apresentação, é através dessa carta que a família irá conhecer mais de você. Por isso, capriche nesta carta, pois ela é a sua porta de entrada, então vamos começar com o pé direito.

Elaborei um roteiro básico do que não pode faltar na sua carta, fique à vontade para incluir outras informações você achar importante, e a ordem dos assuntos é apenas uma sugestão:

1. Apresentem-se: quem é você? Nome, idade, onde mora, como é a cidade, como é sua família, o que você gosta de fazer, se tem hobbies, se tem namorado, se é formada, enfim neste primeiro parágrafo fale sobre sua vida pessoal.

2. Por que você decidiu ser au pair? Algumas famílias podem perguntar isso, além do mais acho importante que desde o começo ela já saibam das sua motivações, sejam elas: viajar, aprender inglês, ter independência, realizar um sonho, conhecer outra cultura, tudo isso, etc…lembre-se de ressaltar o por quê do programa au pair, afinal você pode ter essas experiências em outro programa. Fale por exemplo: que é seguro, que você acha que a melhor maneira de conhecer outra cultura é morando com uma família, que você sempre gostou de crianças, etc.

3.  Faça um resumo da sua experiência com crianças: comente das experiências declaradas no seu application e também todas as outras relacionadas com crianças, seja na família, seja em trabalhos voluntários, explore o que você mais gosta em crianças, as brincadeiras/atividades que você está acostumada a fazer, mostre a eles que você tem energia e é criativa.

4. O que você espera do relacionamento da família? Aproveite para dizer que você está ansiosa para conhecê-los e que você espera que eles venham a se tornar seus bons amigos, demonstre que você está determinada a se adaptar na cultura e que espera que o ano seja proveitoso para ambos, etc.

5. Fale um pouco do seu inglês. Comente quantos anos de estudo você fez no Brasil, quais suas principais dificuldades, se você está se preparando nestes meses antes da viagem. Comentário: sei que é um tópico delicado, mas é importante eles saberem o seu real nível de inglês para se prepararem para a ligação e também para analisarem se terão a paciência e dedicação com uma pessoa que vai precisar de ajuda no começo. Muitas famílias escolhem meninas da europa/alemanha por esse fator, mas é melhor que seja assim, so que encarar a frustação de uma família impaciente.

Bom, acho que os principais pontos são estes.

Seja sincera e coloque no papel aquilo que transmite quem é você.

A carta ideal não é muito curta, nem muito longa, algo entre 1 página e meia  e 2 páginas.