When is the best time for me to submit my application?
The best time to start is the early fall (September/October) when Hollands's school year begins and the demand for au pairs is high. The beginning of the calendar year (January/February) is another popular time to start, but we place au pairs throughout the year. You and your host family will agree upon your exact program dates together.
What kind of child care-related experience is needed to apply?
Your child care experience can include any kind of work where you have been responsible for children. This can include babysitting, tutoring, coaching, student/assistant teaching, classroom teaching, being a camp counselor or volunteering with kids, etc. and must add up to at least 200 hours in total. If you have additional child care related certificates or educational degrees, please be sure to highlight this in your application.
Do my references need to be sent directly to your organization?
Most applicants collect their own references and upload them directly to their online InterExchange accounts. However, if your referrer would prefer to email them directly to us, please have them scan and send the form to our general email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does the $40 deposit secure the application?
While we can never 100% guarantee placement, placement is likely as long as you submit your application about 3-4 months in advance of when you'd like to start. We have lots of host families who register all throughout the year specifically looking for American au pairs (Americans are in high demand) so it would be very unlikely that you would not find a placement.
If I am not accepted into the program will I receive a refund?
In the unlikely event that we are unable to place you, we will refund your $40 deposit. We will keep you posted throughout the placement process.
How far in advance can I submit my application?
Most applicants submit their applications about 3-4 months in advance. Please feel free to submit your application up to 6 months in advance if you'd like, which will give us more time to find the most suitable match for you.
Can I make a location request?
Yes. We can usually accommodate specific preferences if you want to be placed near an urban/suburban area. Placement locations are all around the country, mainly in areas close to city centers like Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Rotterdam. Please write in your location preferences anywhere on your Program Specific Application. We'll do our best, but location requests cannot be guaranteed. Actual placement location will depend on the families looking for au pairs at the time.
Do I need to be a driver?
We have many Dutch families who are happy to invite a non-driver. Some families do need a driver and host families often see driving abilities as a benefit.
What are host families like?
Our international cooperator screens all of our host families for safety very similarly to how we screen our au pairs. Just as our applicants here in the U.S. must, all families submit applications and references, have an interview and pay a program fee.
We have many warm and caring Dutch families looking for au pairs. Most of our host families are middle class and have friendly kids excited to meet you. Here are some recent examples:
A single parent home. Sonja, 42, owns a horseback riding school and has two sons, 5 and 4. The boys' grandmother lives in the home as well, which is a farmhouse about 15 minutes from Leeuwarden, a beautiful town in the north of the Netherlands with a population of about 100,000. The family is looking for an au pair over 20 years old who can work for between 26 and 30 hours per week.
A 2-parent home with 2 children. The daughter, 13, plays the piano and likes field hockey, tennis and sailing. The son, 12, plays the guitar and also likes tennis and field hockey. The family is in need of an au pair who is 22 or older and can bike and swim. You'll live on the 2nd floor of the home, which is a 40-minute ride on public transportation to Amsterdam, with a bedroom, a living room and a bathroom to yourself!
Can I be placed with or close to a friend?
If you've made any special requests to be placed close to a friend, would like to be in a particular region, or have any host family/children preferences, we will take them into consideration but cannot guarantee we will be able to honor all requests. We do not allow multiple placements in one host family home.
Will I have options to choose from during the matching process?
You will definitely have the option to ask for other families if you feel the one(s) we've presented to you are not a good fit. Let us know and we'll be happy to continue looking for another family until you feel like we've found the right one! It's important to us that you feel comfortable with your host family match, and we'll do all we can to make sure that happens.
If I decide not want to work with a presented family, am I eligible for a refund?
In terms of receiving a refund of your deposit, you would only be eligible for a full refund if we were not able to find a family for you after three weeks to your latest indicated start date. The stipulations of our refund policy can be found here.
Is there Internet access at every household?
The majority of our families, even those in rural areas have access to the Internet in their homes. The basics like electricity, water, and heat go without saying. In a rural area, it may be more difficult to access public transportation to get into town, but you will always have the option to discuss with your host family how they get around and stay social in a non-urban environment.
What if issues arise with my host family after I am abroad?
If any issues arise, you will want to contact our international cooperator immediately so they can mediate the situation. If things really are not working out, we will do our best to move you to another family in a timely manner.
What does the visa process entail?
Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your stay. U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the Netherlands. However, within three working days after your arrival, you will need to validate your temporary residence permit that allows you to live and work in Holland as an au pair for a maximum of 12 months. You must bring your passport and an original, certified copy of your birth certificate with an Apostille with you. Your host family will assist you with this procedure.
Please be aware that although you will not complete the paperwork for your visa application (your host family will complete this on your behalf), upon successful placement with your host family you will be responsible for paying the visa fee (currently €622). You will receive full reimbursement for this fee upon successful completion of your program.
Do I need to speak Dutch?
No. Most Dutch people speak English incredibly well, including the majority of our host families. If you would like to take optional Dutch language classes, your host family will provide you with up to €320 toward class tuition. Taking classes is a great opportunity to meet new people and learn more about the culture, so we encourage you to take advantage of this program perquisite.
Is there an orientation or resources to help start my program?
While there is no formal orientation, you will receive an InterExchange Child Care Guide, Activities Guide, and Home Orientation Guide before departing the U.S. Upon arrival into the Netherlands, our international cooperator will provide a ‘Welcome Pack' with Dutch-specific resources on how to approach au pairing and how to adjust to your new environment.
Will I have vacation time?
You are entitled to 2 weeks of paid vacation for a 10 to 12-month program. Before you schedule your vacations, make sure to discuss directly with your host family if it's ok for you to take that time off. You technically can take your vacation all at once, but most au pairs space their vacation time out to accommodate the schedule their host family requires. If your host family is ok with you taking the full 2 weeks at once, then by all means, go for it! The most important thing is to discuss your plans with them directly.
When/how do I get the international drivers license?
Although it is not absolutely required, we recommend you get something called an International Driver's License/Permit. You should apply for this at the time of host family placement as it can take a few days/weeks to have it ready.
Do all families pay in cash?
Most families pay cash, although if there is another way you'd prefer to receive your pay, please simply let your host family know. If you open up a bank account (which is usually free, you just need to provide some proof of identity like your passport), your host family can deposit your stipend directly into your account. If you'd like to change your money into U.S. dollars, you should be able to change your money at any large bank. Please remember to take into account exchange rates and transaction fees.
Is there a contract listing my hours and pay?
There is no intention to create a contractual, employment, or legal relationship between the host family and the au pair. However, you will receive what we call an Au Pair/Host Family Invitation that lists your host family's contact information, your stipend, duration of program, and program stipulations.
Should I bring my U.S. phone with me?
Most people either purchase a cheap phone with a pay-as-you-go SIM card for national calls, or simply use their existing phone with a Dutch SIM card purchased in the Netherlands. However, if you're planning to contact people back at home, we recommend just using Skype or Whatsapp on your current phone with wifi. You can find more information here.
Do I need to buy a roundtrip flight?
Although it is not legally necessary, it is generally more cost efficient to book a roundtrip rather than two one-way tickets. However, if you'd simply like to purchase a one-way ticket going into the Netherlands and then purchase your return ticket at a later date, this is totally acceptable as well. When it comes time, we typically recommend that all au pairs consider booking a roundtrip flight into and out of Amsterdam. If you need to change the return date, your host family will pay for any fees associated with changing the end date.
Will I be able to connect with other au pairs in the Netherlands?
Absolutely. We'll connect you with other au pairs in the country at the time of your program and invite you to a Facebook group specifically for au pairs in the Netherlands. Our in-country partners will also help you connect with au pairs by hosting social events and get-togethers in different areas of the country.