Composing the Most Effective Letter to Your Potential Host Family
Looking for useful tips for writing the letter to your host family? We have a great guide for you to use to compose the most effective letter to your potential host family.
The letter to your host family is an important part of your Au Pair application. It is what host families are the most interested in, as it helps them to get a better idea of who you are and if you will be a good fit with their family.
Do’s and Don’ts in the Letter to the Family
We know that many Au Pairs agonize over the letter to the host family and don’t know what they should write. The biggest piece of advice for when you are composing your letter is to be honest and truthful about who you are and what you are looking for in your au pair experience, that way you will best match with a family.
We have summarized the 5 most important do’s and don’ts to help you write a good introductory letter to your host family.
You want to make sure that your letter to your host family stands out from all the other Au Pair applications, in a good way that is of course. We recommend that you take time to write the letter and put a lot of effort into it.
At A Glance:
- What questions should you answer?
- What are families interested in the most?
- What photos are good or bad to use
- What language should the letter be in?
- What you should avoid in your letter
What Questions Should you Answer in your Letter
Below are some of the most important questions that you should consider talking about in your letter so your host family gets a good picture of who you are
- Who are you? (name, nickname, age etc.)
- What are you like/ What is your personality?
- What is your family like?
- Tell your host family about your time at school
- What are your hobbies and interests? What do you like to do in your leisure time?
- What do you want to do after your Au Pair stay? What are your plans for the future?
- Why do you want to become an Au Pair? What are your personal motives?
- Why did you choose that particular country as your future host country?
- Why should the family host you as their Au Pair?
What Does your Host Family Want to Know?
There are a few things that the host family will specifically look for in your letter. The family is mostly interested in reading about your childcare experience. Tell them about the childcare experience you were had in your home country. Explain how many children you cared for, how old they were, what you did with them and why you liked spending time with them. Be sure to include why you like caring for children and spending time with them so much. Keep in mind that this is also what your host family will look for in your pictures. Include pictures which show yourself together with children in your application.
Host families are usually also interested to know if you are likely to get homesick or not. Tell them in your letter if you already spent a longer period of time abroad and explain a bit about those experiences and how they have prepared you for an experience like this. It’s also a good idea to tell the host family about your previous travels abroad. Did you spend a summer vacation abroad or participate in a student exchange program? Tell your host family about it in your letter.
What Photos Should you Use or Avoid
Keep your photos as attractive for the host family as possible, meaning that they reflect your personality and that they are appropriate.
Think of the type of pictures your host family would want to see, pictures of you dressed modestly and pictures of you watching and caring for children. They are looking to see how you interact with kids and how you present yourself.
Don’t include any revealing photos and make sure that you are decently dressed on your photos! The host family is also not interested in your party pictures or pictures of your tattoos and piercings. Think of the photos as photos you would send a future employer, because that is what your host family ultimately is.
What Language Should the Letter Be In?
It is best if you write the letter to your host family in the host country’s language. Your letter doesn’t have to be written in a perfect language. The host family knows that your language skills are not perfect yet and they are aware of the fact that you are not writing in your mother tongue. It is important that you let your host family feel that you put a lot of effort and time in writing your letter.
What you Should Avoid – Don’ts
You want to make your letter to your host family as attractive and appealing as possible. Due to this reason, we recommend that you avoid some ‘Don’ts’ in your letter.
Avoid focusing on one or two cities only. France has more to offer than just Paris and Germany has a lot more cities that are worth visiting than only Berlin, Hamburg or Munich.
By focusing too narrowly on only major cities of your host country, you might miss the perfect host family for you only because they might not be living in your preferred city. Getting along with your host family is worth a lot more than living in the right place. Being more open minded about the location of where you are placed shows maturity and openness, which is what the family is looking for.
Another thing you should avoid is to over emphasize in your letter to your host family that you have a boyfriend or girlfriend (if that holds true for you). Reading too much about your boy/girlfriend might bring the host family to think that you are very likely to get homesick and leave the program early or even be distracted while you are caring for their children.
If you are still younger than 18 at the time of your application, avoid writing sentences like “I am 17 years old”. Rather rephrase it, saying “I am soon going to turn 18” or in other similar ways.
We also recommend that you avoid writing empty phrases. You like spending time with children? Okay, great! But why do you like spending time with them? Instead of only writing that you like to look after children, explain what you like about spending time them and describe your previous experience in childcare and where your passion for childcare comes from and the joy you feel from the experience.