South Africa might not as of yet be your number one choice in which to au pair but I will run through some quick facts on South Africa. What is involved in terms of work permits and visas for travelling au pairs, au pairs salaries in South Africa, and what is expected of South African host families, as well as the current job situation in South Africa and how to look for that all important job.
South Africa Quick Facts:
- Official name: Republic of South Africa
- Form of state: A federal state, comprising a national government and nine provincial governments.
- Legal system: Based on Roman-Dutch law and the 1996 Constitution.
- Population (Census 2011): 51.77-million
- Measures: metric system
- Currency: One rand (R) = 100 cents
- Time: Two hours ahead of GMT
- Internet domain: .za
South Africa by population:
South Africa is a nation of 51.77-million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages and beliefs. Around 79% are black (or African), 8.9% “coloured” – the local label for people of mixed African, Asian and white descent – 8.9% white, and 2.5% Indian or Asian. Data from the 2011 census.
The majority of South Africans are Christian, the largest church being the indigenous Zion Christian Church, followed by the Dutch Reformed and Catholic churches.
There are 11 recognised languages; most are indigenous to South Africa such as Zulu. English is recognised and spoken everywhere. The current president Jacob Zuma makes all his addresses and speeches in English as English is the language of business.
Weather: If coming from the northern hemisphere bear in mind the seasons are reversed e.g their summer is our winter.
Summer: Over much of South Africa, summer, which lasts from mid-October to mid- February, is characterised by hot, sunny weather – often with afternoon thunderstorms that clear quickly, leaving a warm, earthy, uniquely African smell in the air. 33 Degress highest temperature.
Autumn: or fall – in South Africa is from mid-February to April. It offers the best weather in some respects. Very little rain falls over the whole country, and it is warm but not too hot, getting colder as the season progresses.
Winter: from May to July – is characterised in the higher-lying areas of the interior plateau by dry, sunny, crisp days and cold nights, sometimes with heavy frosts. It’s a good idea to bring warm clothes. The high mountains of the Cape usually get snow during the winter. The coldest area in winter time can be Bloemfontein -2 Degrees.
Spring: lasts from August to mid-October and in the Western and Northern Cape it is a spectacular experience to witness the flowers and plants start to flourish.
Big cities: Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg
Money Money Money: With a favourable exchange rate for many international currencies, you’ll find South Africa a very inexpensive destination. South Africa’s unit of currency is the Rand, which is divided into 100 cents. Coins come in denominations of 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5, and notes in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200.
Can you drink the water: No it is not recommended to drink tap water but bottled water is available in all stores and is quite cheap.
Driving: In South Africa they drive on the left hand side of the road and most cars are stick shift.
Is it safe? Only if you take all the appropriate precautions which will be explained to you by the host family or agency (if you use one) should you acquire an au pair position.
Just to give you a quick insight into the job crisis in South Africa so you can see what lies ahead in terms of the all-important job search – 1 in 4 are unemployed in South Africa with a youth crisis where 63.1% jobless. The national unemployment rate is currently at 25% the 8th highest in the world.
It is therefore no surprise that you cannot enter South Africa and begin your job search unless you already have one or more job offers. Foreigners need to get a job offer in order to apply for a work permit for South Africa. Because of this, anyone interested in securing a job should I suggest begin their search online. Where do you begin one may ask? With so many options and choices today any hints or tips are helpful which is why I have spoken about websites V’s agencies here – plus the pros and cons of a live in nanny http://www.aupairrant.com/the-ins-and-outs-of-a-live-in-nanny/– so all of this should help guide you in your search for a job.
Given the strict visa policy in South Africa and consequently the difficulty in securing a job offer it may be worth while initially at least to search on line under the headings jobs in south Africa, jobs in south Africa for foreigners or au pair jobs south Africa. Whilst another site I wrote about aupairworld.com does not cover South Africa there is a site which does so namely Aupairsa – if interested you can read my article on aupair world – click to read.
Quick look at aupairsa.co.za:
Au Pair SA is a South African online au pair agency that has serviced over 20,000 families and 80,000 au pairs around the country since its inception in 2007.
Similar to other site and again referring to aupairworld it can be viewed for free for a limited time but in order to contact au pairs you need to pay for this facility. 30 days is R535 which is €35 / USD$40 / GBP£26 OR 90 days which is €76 / USD$85 /GBP£55 one off payment. AU PAIRS ARE FREE – NO CHARGE.
The benefits of using an online agency is that they will be registered with the South African Department of Home Affairs and will be able to sponsor an aupair visa for you in advance thereby eliminating any headaches and uncertainties.
However in South Africa there are some slight differences so I will just run though what is needed to become an au pair in South Africa to avoid any confusion.
- Have a valid driver’s license, not essential but will make you more employable. Most families in South Africa lead highly mobile lives with both parents working. The au pair must be able to do the school lifts and take children to extra afternoon activities as well as help out with shopping and other household chores.
- Have at least two hundred hours(200) childcare experience
- Enjoy working with children aged between 3 months and 13 years
- Be able to commit for a year
- Have a good command of English
- Be aged between 18 and 24.
- A non-smoker
- High school diploma
- Copy of criminal record check
- Copy of your references
- What will make you stand out:
- Relevant childcare certificates or courses you have obtained i.e first aid, CPR etc.
- Degrees or diplomas
- Full clean driving licence
Au Pair Benefits and salary:
Host Families in South Africa provide their Au Pair with the following:
- Private room and full board.
- R2500-R4000 pocket money per month
- 2 weeks of paid vacation per 12 months
With South Africa being so vast and with a lot of cultural differences I would recommend doing your homework on the different states in the country so that you can search for your jobs by location; jobs kwazulu natal, jobs in Johannesburg, jobs in Capetown. Do you know where these places are? Could you see yourself living there? Remember that when dealing with agencies their role is to fill vacant positions so unless you stress or emphasis your preferred location you could end up in a location you dislike, have a bad experience which in turn could put you off the idea of ever again becoming an au pair. There are many nanny jobs and au pair jobs available you just need to get busy on the internet. Why go to a big city and au pair New York or au pair London when you can choose South Africa and open your eyes to new cultures and experiences, a once in a lifetime experience.
Tip of the Day :
Many new au pairs are faced with the problem of gaining childcare experience before getting their ideal au pair job. A solution that I would recommend is to volunteer some of your time to a charity which provides care for children in need, such as orphans and abandoned or abused children. Search the internet or ask local charities to help guide your search.
Not only will you experience the joy of seeing the benefits your care and companionship provides to children in need, but you will also be able to build valuable childcare references that will greatly aid you in finding your ideal au pair position.
If you are living at home and consequently have free board and lodging then working for free as an assistant in a crèche, Montessori or day care centre will also provide you with experience and be a valuable addition to your CV.
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