We would like to give you important information and some advises which will probably come in use in the beginning of your staying in Norway.
It would great if you prepared before arriving. Read about Norway and bring some dictionary with you. You might have a small problem with communication on the beginning, since it will be a kind of strange to speak foreign language but you will get use to this very soon.
The most important thing is to have a good attitude and be open-minded on the beginning. Remember that your family may feel even shyer than you do. To overcome your own shyness, focus your attention on the children. No one will expect you to be a great conversationalist, but some attempts in general (like question about their country) will help you in the beginning. You may want to tell them more about your country (avoid criticism); the small presents (something what can express your country) for family will make a friendly atmosphere.
No matter how tired you are when you first arrive, spend a little time socializing with the family before going off to your room. You will probably be given a tour of the house and be offered some refreshment. It would be unusual if you were expected to do any work on your first day but show your willingness to help even if you are very jet-lagged and ready to fall into bed. Families nearly always expect you to eat your first meal with them so you can get to know each other better. You should always offer to help clear the dishes before you take your leave for the night.
Have a meal together – very nice and important tradition for the Norwegian families. If you want to be treated like a member of family try to follow those small rules. It is not so difficult for you but your family will be very appreciated for respecting their traditions.
Don't be hesitating to ask something if you are not sure. Maybe you expect the family to show you around in the area, explain to you how the dishwasher works etc. without this happening. In a situation like this DO NOT be passive, but ask if they could show you or help you. Being polite is good, but it is better to ask one time too many than just wait for things to happen.
When you meet the children in the family, it can look like they don’t like you at all on the beginning. But try to understand them - they might just have said "good-bye" to another a pair or nanny. In most situations the children will test out your limitations and restrictions to find out how far they can pull the string on your patience. Of course you want to make a good impression in the beginning, but be careful so the children do not start to rule over you. Try to spend more time when the family is together, play with children, be a part of their life and very soon you will notice that they really like you. Be patient and children will soon start to respond if you pay them enough attention.
After a while you will feel more comfortable and some au pairs feel that it is not all right any more to clean and tide up for the family. Try not to have unrealistic expectations and never be seduced into thinking that you are on holiday. You will no doubt have opportunities, but first and foremost you are abroad to work.
If at all possible try to save a certain amount of money so that you won't be financially dependent on the family if things don't work out. Bear in mind that you might not be paid for the first fortnight or month, so you will need some money to tide you over, preferably in Euros or US dollars as appropriate.
Both you and the host-family have expectations towards each other and to the time you will spend together. It is vital that both parts act with a positive mind and attitude, and follow the rules described in this information letter. Of different reasons it happens that both host family and au pair find it difficult to work things out, even after talking things through. If you have acceptable reasons, you have the right to find another family. No one will force you to stay somewhere that you do not like, but we cannot change your host family when there is not a real and legitimate reason. If there is reason for changing your family, we will be glad to help you.
Acceptable reasons for changing your host family are as follows:
- You don’t get your salary every month
- The host family don’t provide you adequate food/nutrition
- You do not have your own private bedroom
- You are not allowed to attend your studies
- You are not treated as a friend or welcome member of their household
- The host family has asked you to leave
- The host family ask you to work more than you suppose to during long time
We are here for you and please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or problems.