3 Questions an Au Pair should ask YOU to make a good match

by cv harquail on October 22, 2009

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If Skype didn’t exist, if email hadn’t been invented, and if we could only communicate with potential au pairs using short, really expensive long distance phone calls (anyone remember those days?), we wouldn’t have the luxury of long conversations to help us assess a good match. And since we do have that luxury– and so do potential au pairs– we may not focus on the most important questions.

Here’s a question for you:

If a potential au pair wanted to learn more about your family in order to assess YOU for a match, what three questions should she ask?

See if you can hone in on the few things that might distinguish you from other families….

Questions Cost Nothing, but mistakes? … by Simon Lieschke on Flickr

{ 53 comments }

A October 22, 2009 at 10:48 am

(1) Do you eat dinner together?
(2) What do your children like to do?
(3) Do you like to travel? Would you bring me on a trip?

our AP asked Qs (2) and (3). She saved question (3) for a later conversation, which was a good sign for me.

Mom23 October 22, 2009 at 11:40 am

I feel that if the potential au pair doesn’t ask questions about the children then she will not be a good au pair. What the children like to do, their personalities, etc.

Darthastewart October 22, 2009 at 12:51 pm

1. Tell me about the kids and their personalities.
2. What does the family do in its free time?
3. What are your hobbies?

FirstTimeAuPair June 30, 2011 at 3:55 pm

this is a really good one!
I’ll keep that in mind when I have an interview with a hostfamily

HostMom in NY October 22, 2009 at 1:04 pm

No exactly questions and not really 3, but still…
1. Tell me about your family (what are kids like, what do you like to do, how do you spend free time, what are favorite family activities, hobbies, vacations/trips, etc)
2. How do you see au pair fitting into your family? How do your expect au pair to spend her free time? What are the most important rules the au pair should know about?
3. Tell me about the area you live in (town, near big city, colleges around, transportation, shopping, cluster, LCC)
4. Be excited to join our family and not be afraid to ask for a match herself if it feels right to her.

PA au pair mom October 22, 2009 at 1:38 pm

An au pair should be interested in asking questions about the family and the children in general. If she only asks questions about free time, vacations, car use, she’s definitely not the right one for our family.

Some examples:
1. What are the boys’ personalities like? What do they like to do in their free time? What is their routine like?

2. What will be my household responsibilities? Will I be responsible for shuttling the boys to and from activities? Cooking? Light cleaning?–to me this shows that the potential au pair is interested in her role in the family.

3. What is one problem you had with your previous au pair? How did you handle it? How can we avoid having similar problems?

E2 October 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Here are the best questions I’ve heard from au pairs we interviewed:
1) Tell me why your first au pair worked out so well. What was it about her/your relationship that worked?
2) Can I talk with the kids?
3) I have a nose piercing…are you ok with this?

NJMom October 22, 2009 at 2:13 pm

My personal favorite:

Is there a library in your town?

(You’re hired!)

My least favorite:

Is there a disco in your town?

(Next!!)

NewAPMom October 22, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Yay! My new au pair has asked a lot of these questions. I’m so optimistic. Can’t wait until she gets here.

Back on topic… the #1 thing for me was whether she asked about the kids, of course. But besides that:

1) Why do you have an au pair vs. daycare or nanny?
2) What kind of a relationship are you hoping for with your au pair? Mother? Sister? Roommate?
3) Are you hoping that we (meaning au pair + host family) will eat dinner together? Hang out together during the evenings? Weekends?
4) Do you have a host family handbook? May I read it before making a decision?

If the au pair doesn’t ask these, the host family should definitely volunteer this information.

au pair October 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

I remember asking everything, EVERYTHING about the kids on the first phone call. I guess I kept my hm on the phone more than she would like to be. But my first interest was to know about the kids I would have to live for a whole year. Then we trade emails and I got further on what the family was like. I also made the possible to let them know about me and my family.

Another CA Mom October 22, 2009 at 8:02 pm

I’ll never forget when we were interviewing candidates for our 2nd au pair, and our 1st, who was helping me by interviewing the candidates who made my first “cut” – gave me a firm “no way” on one candidate. Her concern was that this potential au pair only asked our current au pair about friends, parties, the nightlife, etc. – not a single question about working with our kids.

So yes – asking about our kids is a top question.

aussie mum October 23, 2009 at 7:09 am

mmmmm…..my last Au Pair (lasted 5 weeks!) asked me 3 questions that should have alerted me to her incompetent and selfish personality:
1. Will you be paying for my air fare?
2. you will supply me with a cell phone?
3. Do you have internet?

…she was ssoooooooooooo wrong in every way!

an au pair October 23, 2009 at 7:41 am

A potential au pair should of course be interested in the children and the majority of the questions they ask should be related to the family, the kids in particular. However, I think that the questions that aussie mum’s former, not-a-good-match au pair asked are questions that need to be asked (hopefully these weren’t the only questions that the au pair asked though!)
When I was matching with families, the air fare question was addressed with every one of them. Some were willing to pay, some would pay half, some expected the au pair to pay for all of it (this was in Europe, without an agency, so paying for airfare was completely up to the family). Most families told me what their stance was on this without me having to ask. Why wouldn’t this be a valid question? The au pair needs to know whether she has to spend an extra $600+ or not, and yes, sometimes this will effect whether or not the au pair wants to be matched with your family. NOT because your family isn’t wealthy enough, but because the au pair just can’t afford to fly across the world and back.
Regarding the phone, I hardly ever use the phone that my host family provided me with, but I would feel totally uncomfortable and uneasy if I didn’t have a phone. You need to be able to call the parents if there’s an emergency with the children, period.
About the internet…I would never consider matching with any family who had no internet. Maybe that shows you that I’m selfish and incompetent, but if I didn’t have skype, I don’t know how long I would make it so far away from all of my friends and family. Being able to talk to my loved ones via the internet improves my well-being, makes me more emotionally stable, and therefore makes me a better au pair to the children.
I apologize for rambling (as always), but I don’t think that potential au pairs have any reason to NOT ask questions like these.
It should only be seen as a red flag if these are the only types of questions that she asks you. Of course she should be showing more interest in the children, but things like having internet DO matter.

Anonymous October 23, 2009 at 8:37 am

I’m not sure about Australia, but in the US, there is cheap pay-as-you-go cell service that the AP can buy if she wants one & there is free internet at public libraries. I think the core objection to these questions is not that they were asked at all, but as any American adult can tell you, you don’t ask about pay and benefits in the early parts of a job interview. You learn about the job, what your role would be, see if you like the fit, etc. Then, once you’re pretty sure you both want each other based on those things, you can negotiate the other stuff. If the first things I get asked about are “Is there a TV in my room, what kind of car will I have, Internet, cell phone, time off” it is a huge turn off.

My favorite questions would be:
What did you like/dislike about previous Au Pairs, what would you want in the perfect Au Pair
Tell me about your kids – their personalities, likes/dislikes, relationship with the Au Pairs.
What are your favorite things about where you live and least favorite things.

Calif Mom October 27, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Questions I would like to hear, after the whole “so, what are your kids like” string. (I mean, let’s face it–there is a lot of coaching that these girls get, depending on their situation and nerves, I bet.)

And I agree that asking about internet is not a deal-killer. I couldn’t live without wireless internet, and I want my au pair to be able to talk to her friends and mom whenever she wants. (“No long-distance phone calls: priceless.”)

Okay, the questions that would tell me that I have a thoughtful candidate on the line, and an ideal match for us:

Is it okay if I teach the kids how to cook?
What time is dinner?
Do you mind if I reorganize the kids’ toys?
Will you explain American idiom to me ad nauseum?

Okay, I’m only being a little facetious. Clearly, 3 questions is too narrow of a construct, and we are all copying each other (“how close is the library” made me weep).

Frankly, this post and comments have made me nervous; I am thinking about next July when we have to decide what to do, whether to keep a full timer, switch to edupair, or patch together an afternoon schedule of college students and early mornings for me at work. I don’t really want the candidate pool to read all these messages and get the ‘right answers’ the way you can buy term papers now.

Because while the great au pairs are really learning from this site, and thinking about these issues, and didn’t need the coaching anyway, the lousy ones are either:

1) sneaky (ask me about Pointy Boots, who disliked children but had ALL the right answers, in the right order, and never asked me about cell phone etc until she got here, then made a beeline for a boyfriend in Chicago). The sneaky bad ones already know how to manipulate people and systems.

Or, they

2) don’t care about learning, or being a great au pair, anyway, so it doesn’t matter what we post here because they will never seek it out, and if reading it, would probably misinterpret.

(Hmm. Am I cynical or seasoned? )

So, future au pairs who are nervous and excited about joining a host family, please take these comments to heart, make them your own, throw out the things that aren’t true to YOU, because that is the real “fit” you are looking for, and there are lots of types of families. Don’t settle for one that you have a nagging worry about.

And I’ll do the same. :-)

CV October 27, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Calif Mom, Someday will you write us the (whole) story of PointyBoots? It’s so intriguing, just from her nickname…

TX Mom October 28, 2009 at 1:23 pm

I like the word “sneaky.” I think that incorporates our Manipulator, Lier and Clueless Wonder….

Bham June 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm

California Mom,

I don’t know if I’m allowed to type this because I want to be an au pair, but I am looking through this website because you guys are very helpful. I am not an au pair who is sneaky and such this is my first time doing this and these questions are helping me out because it is giving me a better understanding of what to ask, of coarse I am asking about the children but there are just little things I didn’t even think of. I just wanted to thank you guys because some au pairs as I can see are not to good, but for those of us that are good this site is tremendously helpful for first timers who are new to everything! :)

P.S. I feel as an au pair if you are the one seeking the job you should be ready to pay for flight and phone, if they are letting you stay at there house and welcoming you into family already you need to chip in something as well

anon October 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I told one AP I was interviewing that I was going to email her our family handbook so she could know what our rules and expectations were; at the time, I thought it appropriate when she said something like “well the children’s well-being comes first, no matter what”.

Turns out what she meant by that is HER definition of the children’s well being comes first, with no regard to my rules. In her version of the world, that included TV starting at 9am (there’s a strict no-TV-before-lunch rule in our house). She also didn’t read the handbook at all, as was evidenced by her shock over having to actually *gasp* SHARE a car (and, if she “had known that I didn’t have a car of my own, I never would have matched with you”, regardless of the fact that this too was in the family handbook I emailed to her before we matched).

She didn’t last.

Jane October 30, 2009 at 11:20 am

After asking questions about the kids and their schedule, one of the most important questions an au pair candidate should ask me is whether she can contact our current au pair. I think getting the scoop on our family and life from the current au pair is one of the keys to our success in finding good matches. Sure, I know they might share some criticisms about our family that would make me cringe if I knew about it, but I figure if a candidate knows what they are getting into directly from the person currently doing the job and accepts the job, then they are prepared to live with our rules and quirks.

Our last au pair was really direct in telling our candidates that we were not the right family for them if all they wanted to do was party. She was protective of my kids, and she could grill the candidates in ways I would not have felt comfortable. I kinda liked it. And when she didn’t scare off the candidate we picked, I knew we had a good match. ;)

Two excellent candidates I was considering did not take me up on my offers to have them speak to our former au pairs. This set the au pair we did choose apart from those candidates, as I could not imagine declining an offer to speak to the person currently doing my proposed job. Now granted, I would not have wanted these conversations to take place if we had problems with our current au pair. And of course, there are always things we want to tweak from year to year with our relationships, but that hasn’t been a problem.

My 2 cents October 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Couldn’t agree more that having your current au pair involved is a great way to screen and find the right candidates. We’ve asked our agency to pay for the international calls for the two to chat and they have! I ask our current ones to emphasize over and over again just how demanding and difficult the au pair job is and that it very much not about getting to travel with peers, socialize, and do some “babysitting” to earn money. I’d rather be truthful and scare, and take the risk I will lose a good candidate, than not.

Emily August 23, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I am going to be in France for Oct-Nov for almost a year and I am very excited about this new venture in my life. I just graduated from high school (2010) and I can’t wait to get out of this small town!

I just got a call tonight (about an hour ago) from a family that I have just recently been matched with by my agency, which prompted me to find some questions that I may forget to ask her. Thanks to everybody for putting their questions on here! I took most of the since they were so helpful, and also got me thinking about other questions I could ask. Here are four I’ve come up with:

1. How much English do the parents/kids speak?

2. Are there language courses available to me?

3. Am I able to get English books from the local library?

4. If I am looking after the kids when they get home from school (she just told me this) do I have to be awake for them in the morning as well?

Aria August 23, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Hey Emily! Your questions sound great. Will you be speaking to the kids primarily in English or in French? I spoke to mine in English, and they were 100% bilingual. Where in France will you be? I APed in Paris this past year and I’m going back on Thursday to start university- it would be great if you were in Paris, maybe we could meet!!

Nina August 24, 2010 at 1:40 am

Hey Emily! If you are near Lyon in France, we could meet up and I could show you around ! (I’m French!)

Jaclyn November 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

I am going to be an au pair in Italy, and I am phoning the family for the first time in 3 days and these questions have helped a lot! I would appreciate if i could talk to someone who has been an au pair before so I can have some insight or possibly a host family too. What should I expect?
Also some more questions:
Do the children have any allergies?
Will I have to drive and if so, where and how often?

Nicola aupair November 14, 2010 at 4:55 am

Well… I was an au pair in Italy. I have a bit of advice for you-

1. Do it through an agency to avoid exploitation. It’s extremely common in Europe and it happened to me.
2. If you really, really don’t want to do it through an agency or can’t find one, make sure you either a) speak the language well or b) know where to go so that you can socialise with people who are your age and do speak the language

Nicola aupair November 14, 2010 at 4:56 am

*sorry, I meant speak your language i.e. English

Aupairgal November 14, 2010 at 7:11 am

Also, I would suggest making a contract with the family. This legally covers you. If it is all in Italien/not your native language, make SURE you understand it or get someone to translate it before signing it.

Nikki January 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Wow, this post has been really helpful to me! :)
I received an interested email on Tuesday from a family in Australia (I’m in Scotland) and they’re hoping to chat to me on Friday, and I had several questions in mind to ask them, but this post has definitely given me more ideas and a lot more to think about.
Some of you guys sound like you’ve had some really awful Au Pairs! :(

Lizzie March 4, 2011 at 2:24 am

This has been super helpful! I’m APing in Germany next month and I’m nervous that I won’t live up to expectations, and this has really eased my fears ;)

Rachel March 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm

YAY! I have just been accepted as of yesterday to be an au pair in Scotland (I am in Canada) and this site really helped! Thanks to everyone!

Nicole March 6, 2011 at 9:30 am

Three questions(demands) that were huge red flags for me when interviewing perspective au pairs. Mind you these were their first questions to me from them!!

I require my own car. Will I have my own car and what kind of car is it? Will you pay for my gas.

I am atheist and will not read any sort of prayers or books with your children.

Do you require me to do household chores. Because I do not like to clean.

The best questions: and the were also the first from the au pair we are matched with

Please tell me about Max. I loved your pictures, he is adorable. When and where were the pictures taken of him. Can you send me more!

Please tell me about your family. I would love to know the personalities also of all your animals/pets.

I am a vegetarian. I hope you will be ok with this. But I do not mind cooking for myself as well as shopping for myself. But I can prepare any food or meat for your son. I would also like to join the family for dinner. Are you ok with this?

Please give me an idea of a day with Max.

kay March 9, 2011 at 5:03 am

wow this post is great!I just want to know,if it is crazy do become an pair in the usa if you cant speak english fluent?This is my dream and wants to improve my english,but Iam scared..to you guys think I can make it even if I cant speak english 100%.I understand and read it fluent,but struggle somtimes to communicate.

DarthaStewart March 9, 2011 at 10:54 am

Being fluent isn’t entirely necessary. You have to speak at least _some_ English, and be willing to study hard to learn English. You NEED to love children, hopefully be able to drive well, and be willing to work with a host family. For me, it’s not the English that’s the deciding factor (I’ve had au-pairs that couldn’t even speak more than a few phrases when they got here, and left fluent).

kay March 10, 2011 at 3:31 am

Thank you so much!It helped me so much just to hear that!Im now even more eager to do it..And I totally love kids and adore them!

delmary March 19, 2011 at 8:37 am

i have skype interview today with my host family at holland, and its my first can u please give me some question for them?

Steff March 19, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Just take a small look at this thread and the others alike in the site! It is filled with tons and tons of good questions to ask!!! I remembered how useful all these questions were for me once my HF interviewed me by the phone and then by Skype too, yet, in the end, I did end up coming up with questions of my very own…Have in mind that EVERY family is different and of course you can’t ask the same “text-book” questions to all of them…If I were you, (and I was a couple of months ago) just ask what you really think will be important for the job you’d do for them. What you are *really* interested in, i.e. the kids, personalities, schedules…I don’t know, ALL of it…That’s what I remembered about my interview, I knew I wanted to ask a LOT, but I was so nervous that after half an hour I didn’t even remember the questions I wanted to ask anymore! lol but still…I think you should ask as much as you can…You’re spending a whole year of your life with these people after all!! hehehe!

oh & as a li’l suggestions, write down your questions!! I did that for our second call! I SO didn’t want to forget my questions again! Good Luck! :)

Taking a Computer Lunch March 19, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I agree – write down your questions – and if you’re interviewing with more than one family, read their profiles and email communication carefully to see what different questions you may need to ask.

Zeljka July 19, 2011 at 6:55 am

I have my second skype match with host family.On our first we talked for hour,about everything.Pleas can someone with experience tell me more specific questions to ask host family?And what do You think,what will they ask me?Thank You all

sylver September 22, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Hi Guys, I have a question for you! What would you do in my situation? I really want to be an aupair in the US. I’m a kind of girl, who is friendly, reliable, caring, patient, so just a normal girl. I really like children, and it seems, that they like me, too. I cook well, I do every kind of housework. I would do everything my best, if I could work there. I have done the aupair training, BUT…besides this I don’t have much experience with children. So would you admit, that you have not much experience? (But in this case, maybe no one wants even speak with you..) Or would you make a white lie, that you had some more experiences by families?
I don’t want to lie to anyone, but what if I need to, just to make sure, that host families notice me. Would you (host families) contact an aupair, who has done the aupair training, but has no other experiences with children? What should I do in your opinion?

Taking a Computer Lunch September 22, 2011 at 11:05 pm

My advice – postpone your dreams and volunteer to work with children or seek a paid position in your home country. I have seen hundreds of AP applications over the years, and those young women who are serious about becoming au pairs rearrange their lives to gain the experience they need to be taken seriously. Babysit, work in a day care, work in a school, or in a group home for children with disabilities, but gain credible experience.

Don’t lie. It could come back to haunt you. The last thing you want is to achieve your dreams only to be on a fast flight home. You’ll want your host family to trust you, so step back and figure out what you need to do to realize your dreams.

German Au-Pair September 23, 2011 at 11:02 pm

The families couldn’t even contact you without experiences because you need to have at least 200 hours of experience and you will need a reference for that.
And if you forge those reference that is NOT a white lie, it’s not even a normal lie, it’s just fraud!

Anna September 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Saying that you have experience when you have none, is not a “white lie”. It is an lie!
If you lie about experience with children and come to a family, most likely they will discover the lie. It will show.

You should get some real experience with children, and put off becoming an au pair until you get enough experience to be presentable. You can work in a daycare, camp, babysit, etc.

emmiejane September 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Don’t lie. I don’t think any host parent is going to recommend that you lie. In fact, one of the big factors in us deciding to match with our current au pair was the fact that we felt strongly that she was honest. Although she had her license in her country for a number of years, she didn’t have an opportunity to drive much if at all, and she told us this right up front. I felt like since she didn’t lie about her driving, there is a very good chance she is being honest about most everything. She has been with us 9 months, and we love her, and I believe her to be honest and trustworthy.

Like Anna says, you can get the additional esperience, or take your chances. I had a very wonderful nanny, who didn’t have a lot of prior experience.

Returning HM September 23, 2011 at 11:47 am

Our first au pair (back in 2005) came to us with a fabulous profile: infant qualified, with thousands of hours of childcare. Turned out that she had made up most of the hours and the few hours she actually did have were when children had been asleep. She found herself home for 45 hours per week with a developmentally delayed 1 yr old who was more like a 3-6 month old, plus a 3 year old home at noon every day. She had to be taught how to change a diaper, how to feed with a bottle, how to interact with little ones. It was very frustrating and demoralizing for her, and very frustrating and upsetting for us. When she allowed the baby to fall off a bed and didn’t tell me (the then 3yr old did) even though he had thrown up from a concussion, we went into rematch. Unbelievably, she found her dream AP job driving a 13 and 15 yr old to their after school activities (she was a good driver, and the new HF did not care about the lies or other stuff that had made her so terrible for us), so it all worked out for her, but my guess is that it wouldn’t work out for most. And it took me 6 months to screw up my courage to hire another AP, and this time I actually asked indepth questions about the childcare experience rather than trusting that the AP was being truthful and that the agency had done proper screening. Host families can give feedback about prospective APs when they evaluate their applications, and if I were to find through my questioning that an AP had exaggerated her childcare experience, you had better believe I would report that to the agency rather than let another unsuspecting HF go through what we went through that first year.

Please don’t lie. Get the experience you need to be a good AP and then apply to the program.

HM Pippa September 23, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Sylver, Just because you “like children” doesn’t mean you are ready to be an au pair. Being an au pair requires more than just liking children and being caring and patient–it requires real, practical skills(i.e.: how to change a diaper/calm a screaming child/persuade a child to eat vegetables/teach a child to use the toilet) that only come with experience and spending time with children. Learn those skills first where you will have professional adult support and not so much responsibility–like a childcare center, community center, kids club, or babysitting. It is a very serious and challenging responsibility to care for children 30-45 hours per week, and it might not be a good match for you, but you can’t know that until you try. It would be very bad if you moved in with a family and only then discovered that it’s not the job for you.

NewHM January 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm

We are in the process of finding new au pair after terrible rematch. The girl we are in contact right now has absolutely no questions. She said she read our letter (only 1 page long) and she ‘accepts’. She seems very nice from her profile, is a nursing student, works 3 days a week at the L&D unit with newborns. What do we do? We wanted to have her ask questions before we bombarded her with ours. Do you think she will start asking once we open the conversation with some questions? Our last (and first) au pair was such a princess and I did miss the red flags (asking about the car before asking about kids). I don’t want another princess in my house.

Should be working January 29, 2012 at 2:19 am

Is the new one also coming from rematch? If yes, she is under pressure to find a new family fast. This does not, however, make her a good match. You need to talk to the previous family, the LCC, and find out what went wrong in the previous situation.

I get the impression, however, that this is a candidate who is still out of country. In that case, has she ever interviewed with another family? If you are in the first round of contact you can make clear to her that this is all introductory, get-to-know-you stuff. Asking open-ended questions (“tell me about your family…”; “what do you imagine will be the best and the hardest parts about being an au pair…”) to get things started.

In either case, READ this blog, there is one post about ‘the one question every host family should ask’ and another about interviewing APs who are in rematch.

NewHM January 29, 2012 at 9:45 am

She is still in her country. I did ask her if she spoke to other families (still haven’t heard back) but according to agency I have exclusive view of her profile now.
I am prepared to ask all the questions that people ever posted on this blog. If it scares her off so be it but I am not making the same mistake twice. ;-)

NoVA Host Mom January 30, 2012 at 4:35 am

That’s the best way to handle it. If she is not going to ask the questions or speak up for herself (that is what this process includes, after all), then ask them of her. Fire away and maybe the lack of hesitancy by you to ask will prompt her to come up with some of her own. Let her know nothing is off limits. Good luck.

USA Au Pair February 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm

These tips, pointers, and questions have been incredibly helpful! I have never been an au pair before and have my first interview with a potential host family in France next Tuesday. I’ve written down my questions like suggested and am feeling confident! I do have one question for anyone willing to answer. How soon is it okay to ask about vacation time? I am hoping to visit my sister in Norway over Christmas.

Taking a Computer Lunch February 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I would wait until I have a match. It’s okay to mention the sister in Norway, but don’t make visiting her over Christmas a condition of the match.

HRHM February 2, 2012 at 4:19 am

My view is different than TACLs. If you KNOW that you really want to go somewhere at a specific time, and not being able to do so is going to make you miserable (ie a family wedding, visiting a newborn nephew, reunion) then knowing upfront about it will enable a potential host family to tell you more accurate information. For example, my kids are off school for the 2 weeks surrounding Christmas, but DH and I still have to work except for 3 of those days. So, if my potential AP were to mention that she was hoping to see her sister during that time period, I would be able to tell her that with our family that wouldn’t be possible. Then she could either decide that we weren’t for her, or decide to move the trip to a time that would work for us all. But if it is a deal-killer, I’d rather hear about it up front than waste a week or so interviewing and THEN have it become an issue.

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