How A Young Filipina Started Traveling?
UPDATE: I’m no longer an Au Pair, I’m travelling at the moment
I started my travel as an expat working as an au pair in Denmark. Au Pair? What is that? Is it some kind of a food? Keep reading as I unfold how I, myself, a young Filipina started travelling.
I have been working as an au pair for 20 months now. I can say that this is the best way to start if you want to travel while you are in your mid-20s but broke! How on earth that’s not so many Filipinos knew about this?!I met plenty of Pinays as an au pair in Denmark, most of them are from the Visayas. And I wonder why people from Manila and other parts of the country don’t know about this.
Related Post: Here are the Top Au Pair Websites
My sister got this program offer, but she couldn’t go. So, she asked me if I wanted to give it a try. While working as an au pair, I’ve come to realise that I want to travel, learn a new language, meet new people, and experience a lot of new things!
It can be a bit scary, being away from your family and living with strangers is no joke. However, remember that you can always change your plan, go home or do something else. You only get one life, enjoy it!
So here I am, I want to share my experience and convince young Filipinos to try this and gain experience from it.
- This is what I would Write to the 16-Year-Old version of me
- Visiting the same place- My reality of travelling for so long
How A Young Filipina Started Traveling?
What is an Au Pair?
Based on Google, an au pair is a young foreign person (typically a woman) who helps with childcare and/or light housework in exchange for food, accommodation, opportunity to learn the language, travel, and some pocket money. This is popular in Europe and in the United States. But Filipinos can’t be au pairs everywhere, yet there are a few amazing countries that we can go and see the world! For example, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands.
What are the benefits of an Au Pair?
Between Denmark and the Philippines, Au Pair Scheme is not categorised as “work”. It falls between work and study. The purpose of this program is for cultural exchange between two different nationalities.
- a chance to go abroad and travel
- learn a new language
- exposure to a new culture
- 5 weeks paid holiday once a year
An au pair is not
- maid or Housekeeper
- cheap labor
Related Link: Find more information about being an Au Pair in Denmark
Requirements to be an Au Pair (this is Denmark’s policy, it may differ from country to country)
- You must be 18-29 years old (both years included) at the time of application
- You must not be married or be in co-habiting relationship-registered partnership
- You must not have any children
- You must not be expecting a child
- Normally, you must not previously have held a Danish residence permit
- You must not previously have stayed in Denmark as an au pair with different host families for more than a year
- You must not have the same nationality as one or more members of the host family
- You must not be related to one or more members of the host family
- You should be speaking English
Related Article: Story of a solo female traveller: Young, Wild, and Stupid
How long can an Au Pair stay with their host family?
In Denmark, an au pair can stay from 6 months up to the maximum of 24 months. However, if things don’t go well with the au pair and the host, both parties have the opportunity to change an au pair or change a host (you are not obligated to finish the contract).
I changed once not because I didn’t have a good relationship with my previous host, but because the job was a bit too easy for me. It will be good if you want to change host then you will search a new host within the same country you are already residing. You will have the chance to meet them (the new host) in person than trying to see a good connection between you and the host you are talking over the computer. Don’t be afraid to talk to your host, that’s the best way to have the great experience being an au pair.
How much is my pocket money and who pay for airfare and insurance?
As an au pair, you get free accommodation, food, and necessities at home. That’s why your pocket money as an au pair is not a lot yet it is enough. When I started as an au pair I received 3,200 Danish Crowns per month and after a year it upgraded to 3,260. Good news, since July 2015 all upcoming au pairs will have 4,000 Danish Crowns. The airfare going to Denmark will normally be shouldered by the au pair. While the airfare going back home will be paid by your host if your home country is outside the EU (like my situation).
Insurance is one of the best factors; your host will pay this as long as you are staying with them. It covers from health insurance, travel insurance, accident insurance and even death insurance (not trying to scare you, but you are the one who will benefit from this).
In my opinion, the au pair opportunity is a great deal. I live with a foreign family and I learned a lot from them. They are very open, sweet and like family to me. Even though I do not get much for my pocket money, I was able to save up so I can travel. I have travelled to Italy and France since I started to be an au pair. I was also able to come home for a visit after my first year. From the pocket money I saved, I was able to travel and live for six months in Southeast Asia as well.
Nothing will be easy in life, but you have the control of yourself and the decision of what you want to do. It might be a little hard because, in Filipino culture, we help our family, but it is manageable. If you know what you want to do, start choosing your way to your goals and dreams.
Come out from your comfort zone and challenge yourself!