Questions to Ask Your Workaway Hosts
Are you considering an opportunity to travel long-term through Workaway or traveling long-term as an au-pair? This post of questions to ask potential Workaway hosts and questions to ask potential au pair hosts is for you.
I spent two weeks of my first month as a nomad sailing through the Greek islands with a Turkish family in exchange for helping their 13-year-old daughter with English and some summer homework.
In three weeks, I’ll be continuing my long term travel journey as an au pair in New Zealand. I actually found the au pair opportunity on Au Pair World, but the idea is generally the same. I live with a family, sharing my culture and caring for their children, in exchange for free room and board (and, in the case of the au pair job, a weekly stipend).
After you decide to explore Workaway, finding interesting opportunities is the easy part. The more difficult part? Messaging hosts. Developing a rapport with them. Ensuring the opportunities are safe. Making sure each opportunity is a good fit for you.
One of the best ways to vet Workaway hosts is to ask questions. A lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to “lose” an opportunity by asking a lot of questions. Being curious shows Workaway hosts that you’re serious about pursuing a work exchange with them.
Here is a comprehensive list of the best questions to ask potential Workaway hosts. This also works as a thorough list of questions to ask potential au pair host families.
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Practical Questions to Ask Potential Workaway Hosts
What is the minimum and maximum length of time you would like someone to stay? Some Workaway hosts are very relaxed about this. Others want to schedule their workawayers for specific lengths of time or specific dates.
What is the best way to reach your home? Some Workaway hosts may live way off the beaten path, requiring a car. Others may be able to recommend the best modes of public transportation to reach them.
Will I need to drive? Some countries may require an international driver’s license. Other countries require you to drive on the opposite side of the road. Some hosts may only have manual cars for you to use. Better safe than sorry on these questions.
Will I have my own room? Will I have my own bathroom? Not all work exchange opportunities are created equally in this regard. Don’t be afraid to ask for photos of your space. After all, it will be your only private area. I’ve been lucky enough to have private rooms in both of my work exchange host homes.
Have you had au pairs in the past? Have you had workawayers stay with you in the past? Can I get in touch with them? This is a great way to vet for safety. If you have any reservations about the workaway experience, talk to someone who has done it and lived to tell the tale. For peace of mind, I personally would only agree to a workaway or au pair experience with a host family that has done it before.
Lifestyle Questions to Ask Potential Workaway Hosts
What do you and your family do for fun? This is a light question that really helps to give you a feel for what the hosts are like. Are they active? Could you share hobbies with one another? Will you have enough to talk about?
What do you typically eat for meals? Do you follow a special diet? When do you typically eat meals? If you’re an extremely picky eater, work exchange programs might be challenging for you. Part of the experience is sharing cultures, which often means sharing meals that are new to you. Asking this question up front will help you mentally prepare.
I could have saved myself from an embarrassing experience when I brought a gift of cookies to a host with a gluten-free diet.
How far do you live from coffee shops / shopping / restaurants? Will you feel too isolated at your host home if you can’t explore the area easily? Are you hoping to see certain sights while you complete a work exchange or au pair stay? Make sure that you’re able to enjoy your time off fully.
What is the daily routine like? This question is so valuable. It allows you to picture what life is really like with your Workaway hosts and what family life as an au pair is like.
How do you see an au pair fitting into your family life? Some hosts treat workawayers and au pairs like new members of the family. Other prefer their workawayers or au pairs to be more private. Neither is the “right” way, but one may be the right way for you. Find a host that seems to fit your vision.
Do you have any house rules I should be aware of? It’s never a good feeling to break a rule you didn’t know existed. Of course, hosts may not remember to tell you everything up front but it is still a relief to know they are a “no shoes” household or they don’t think bikinis are appropriate before you find yourself in an awkward situation.
Work Questions to Ask Potential Workaway Hosts
What are the duties you’d expect from me? This is a big one. The post may mention childcare duties, but does that mean cleaning the children’s rooms, doing laundry, or cooking? It’s important to know what is expected of you and be up front about what you are willing to help with.
What hours are you expecting me to work daily? What hours are you expecting me to work weekly? Are these set hours? Some hosts may be very rigid about the days and hours they would like you to work. Others are more go with the flow. Regardless, asking these questions will give you a much needed framework of what is expected of you. It also helps you plan what your time off could look like!
Is there a weekly stipend offered? Will it fluctuate based on the amount of work I do? This is more for au pairs specifically. Don’t be afraid to ask how much the weekly stipend they are offering is and if you will be paid more for extra hours.
What should I know about your children? Again, this question is specifically for au pairs or workaway experiences where you’ll be interacting with children. Parents love to talk about their kids and they’ll love to see you take an interest in them.
What would make a great au pair or workaway guest to you? This gives them the opportunity to share what they’re really looking for and what you can do to make the experience great for both of you.
What questions would you add to this list of questions to ask potential workaway hosts or questions to ask potential au pair host families?
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