What is Dutch culture like and what families will request an au pair?
What is Dutch culture like and what families will request an au pair?
Dutch culture is quite different from Filipino culture. Most Dutch people are very kind, much like Filipino’s, but the Dutch people can be very ‘direct’ in their communication. This is a big difference from the Filipino culture. In Holland it is perfectly normal to have your own opinion and not be too shy about it. It is perfectly fine to say ‘no’ or politely decline a request (with a smile, of course). In Holland you cannot really expect or assume that someone understands you if you don’t explain yourself well. In other words: you have to be assertive and be able to communicate very well. If you do not think that you can do this, then you should not apply as an au pair, because Dutch culture really does require these skills.
The exchange program is designed for every family in Holland that is interested in cultural exchange, consists of at least two persons (a child also counts as a person) and has enough income to pay the room and boarding of the au pair. The host family will treat the au pair as a full and equal member of the family and will be invited to join (most) trips, parties et cetera (in example museum visit, Sinterklaas or birthday of a family member).
In our experience mainly the following two groups of families participate in the exchange program:
• Host families with young children of which both parents work and are quite busy. As a Filipino au pair you will be an excellent support and will be able to do a wide range of light household tasks, as well as take care of the children, help with homework, preparing meals, doing small errands, et cetera.
• Senior families. You as an au pair will be a great help for light household chores, light groceries, prepare meals, tea, et cetera. Being accompanied by you as a Filipino au pair is often as a particularly pleasant experience for the senior couple.
It is possible that a family who doesn’t fit the above descriptions will request an au pair. In any case you will get to talk to the host family before agreeing, by using in example Skype, Facebook messenger or the phone. You are allowed to and are even encouraged to talk about expectations that they will have from you and make sure that any questions which you have are answered.
Of course you are allowed to decline a host family if you think that you would not make a good match with them. The host family will make quite a big investment when they select you as an au pair, so it would be a real pity if it turns out that you don’t match well after you arrive in Holland. Better safe than sorry and decline if you have any doubts!
How we select the host family
You have our guarantee that we will select host families very carefully for you, to make sure that a good match is made, so you will have a pleasant and safe stay in Holland. We take this responsibility very serious – we are even obliged by law to do so. Our selection policy is written below:
The host family needs to be interested in having you experience Dutch culture, such as by:
- explaining Dutch culture and ways of the Dutch people,
- explaining basics Dutch language,
- taking you on family trips to cultural Dutch sites
- taking you on family trips to places in the neighbourhood,
- having you join activities at home, such as the ‘Sinterklaasfeest’ (look up on the internet for more information), searching Easter eggs during the Easter celebration, joining the Christmas celebration, play-home-game nights, birthday parties
Besides above, we will question and judge the following subjects:
- The host family is honest, sincere and has good intentions
- The norms and values within the family and if they are suited to treat an au pair well
- If the host family has had an au pair before and if there have been convictions, punishments, fines or permits revoked regarding abuse or acting contrary to the Dutch Foreigner Act (called Vreemdelingenwet) or Law of labour Foreigners (called Wet Arbeid Vreemdelingen)
- The au pair will have an equal position as a family member within the host family
- The income is sufficient and durable to provide for your living expenses as well as their own during the period that you will stay with the host family
- The main person of the host family needs to be able to communicate well enough in English so there shouldn’t be any communication problems
- The timeframe that the host family wishes to have an au pair
- The tasks that the host family would like the au pair to do (especially the nature of tasks and the maximum hours)
- The host family has realistic and humane expectations of the au pair and of the exchange program
- The host family needs to consist of at least 2 persons (a young child also counts as a person, so a single parent with a child is possible)
- The room for the au pair needs to have a bed and window. The au pair needs to be able to use the toilet at any given time. The room needs to be heated to at least 21 degrees Celsius and there needs to be a (wired or wireless) internet connection available, so the au pair can contact us or their family easily.
In addition, the host family will be well informed by us (and will sign a contract that they understand and agree to all the rules, terms and conditions):
- The (cultural and general) activities and role of Complete Au Pair in the exchange program
- The (cultural and general) expectations that Complete Au pair and the au pair will have of the host family
- The rules, laws, terms and conditions applied to the program
- That the au pair may not be related to one or more persons of the host family
- The maximum allowed hours of work and nature of work, including the mandatory days off
- The norms and values applied to Filipino culture
- That both the host family as well as the au pair are able to contact Complete Au Pair to talk or to ask questions, file complaints or give advice
- That both the host family as well as the au pair are allowed to contact authorities, such as the independent organization Meldpunt Misbruik au pairs, if they have any questions or complaints.
- That the au pair needs to have health insurances which need to be taken care of by the host family or Complete Au Pair
- That the au pair is obliged to have a TBC exam in Holland within 3 months of getting their MVV to not risk their permit being revoked
- That both the au pair and the host family are obliged to notify Complete Au Pair immediately by e-mail if any changes or deviations from the agreements occur, such as the weekly schedule not being followed anymore or if the au pair or host family are forced to quit the program due to unexpected circumstances.
- That the IND may check at any given time if the host family, the au pair or Complete Au Pair stick to the rules. If rules are broken, this may lead to a warning, notification of police and or other authorities which may lead to prosecution, a fine or the permit of the au pair being revoked.