The Stir Experience | Work & Travel Abroad, Au Pair Programs, Australia

The Stir Experience

About

Stir up your world Down Under and in Middle Earth!

We are the experts on work and travel abroad opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. Our programs make OZ & NZ an affordable option and range from guaranteed jobs before you leave the US to flexible programs which provide you with unlimited job support in OZ & NZ.

You can earn back the money it costs to get to there in no time! We provide extensive pre-departure support in the US and unlimited support in OZ & NZ

Choose from our Au Pair Program or our flexible Work & Travel Program.

Founded
2016
Headquarters

2018 Fitzwater St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
United States

Reviews

selfie with kangaroo
Alaina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have been working with the Stir Experience to organize my au pair experience that I leave for in just about 2 weeks. I'm so excited! The stir experience provided me with constant assistance and opportunity that helped me organize my trip and find the perfect host family. I appreciated more than anything how often Justine reached out to walk me through the process, to check-in on my progress and to answer any questions I might have. She gave me a call just to chat about my feelings about the upcoming experience, and she provided me with tons of helpful hints about living in Sydney (where she is from originally). I had great skype conversations with my host family and have been in contact with them as my arrival date approaches. I'm very thankful for the stir experience's constant support and love that we have and will continue to stay in contact throughout my stay in Australia.

Update: I've been in Sydney for just about three months now and I already don't want to ever leave. I've made wonderful friends, am living with a loving and caring family, and living just like a local. Check out my blog at https://www.thestirexperience.org/blog to stay updated!

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Chris
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I always wanted to visit Australia but didn't want a short vacation. I researched programs and this was a good fit for what I wanted. I went to orientation on my third day and it was really helpful. It gave me everything I needed to get organized and get my job search going. I used the office a lot and made some great friends who I plan to meet in a few months when I go to Queensland. It's nice to know that I can use the Brisbane office when I travel there. I'm working bar in downtown Sydney and I am having a blast. I am so glad I am here!

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Alaina Kiesel

Alaina, a native New Yorker, completed four years of undergrad in the American South and decided she wasn't ready to jump into the corporate workforce just yet (or ever). An intense case of wanderlust coupled with the desire for routine led her to au pair down under where she's now living like an Aussie local.

Why did you choose this program?

I knew that I wanted to live in Australia. I looked at loads of job posts that would advance my CV, thinking I could satisfy the unrealistic American expectation of having a career-oriented job straight out of college, while also feeding my craving for travel. I sent out a few applications from which I never heard back.

When I looked up the logistics and probability (very low) of some of these companies hiring me while only on a work/holiday visa, I became very discouraged. Throw on top of that having to find a place to live and being able to pay for rent and groceries and living life in general— it was exhausting and way too much to think about and attempt to organize when I was busy trying to finish undergrad.

I mentioned Australia to a friend from school and received a text message from her one day with a link to The Stir Experience website. I realized it couldn’t be more perfect. I hadn’t even thought about taking advantage of all of the babysitting and nannying experience I had. While I had never lived with any of the families I worked for, I often worked full days.

I have always been grateful for the opportunity to be welcomed into a family and trusted with helping to raise, nurture, and love the children as if they were my own. This program would provide me with a job and take care of the logistics I couldn't bother with.

Why Australia?

This is the life you want to live. Sunshine, beaches, good food, happy, healthy, and friendly people. I'm already talking about extending my stay with my host family and figuring out how to extend my visa for at least another year. Is it obvious that I don't want to go home?

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The Stir Experience connected me with the Australian agency, Smart Au Pairs, that then helped match me with the perfect host family. My initial application to The Stir Experience included police background checks, doctor exams, and references, and once those were out of the way I was able to apply for my work/holiday visa and purchase my flights after being connected with a family.

The Stir Experience was always available for any questions via e-mail or a phone chat. Justine and I even spoke for 25 minutes or so one day just so she could see how I was feeling with my departure date approaching and to give me some advice on what to expect culturally.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't compare your experience to someone else's and be true to yourself and your own expectations.

I came to Australia as an au pair with my own idea of what I wanted my experience to be. I didn't want to come as a tourist. I wanted to live as much like a local as possible and truly immerse myself in Aussie life. My host family's previous au pair had a bit of a different approach socially, not necessarily a bad one, just different. We had a bit of an overlap and I learned a lot from her but also got nervous that I'd made the wrong decision to come as an au pair.

Once I realized that my experience could be whatever I'd make of it, my life became exactly what I wanted it to be. With that being said, if you are unhappy with your host family placement or situation definitely talk to your agency.

Hopefully you are smart and particular about the family you commit to, but in the case that things don't go as planned, be sure to fix it, whether that's being open and talking with your host family about the problem, or trying to receive another placement. I promise, it's okay to change/move. You have to do what's best for you.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Each au pair experience will be different depending on the family you join and at what time of the year you join them. I began with my family at the end of the school year, so I started off with the school routine. My kids are 4.5 and 6.5. My host parents are very hands-on with the children as often as they can be. My host dad works long hours during the week and my host mum works in a creative field that requires some flexibility in her schedule.

We typically talk out the week beforehand and discuss what hours I will be needed. During the school year, parents will prep brekky and lunches, I'll help kids get ready for school, and parents will get them off to school. During the day, I'll have free time to myself and will typically clean up the kitchen, do some washing/folding if necessary.

I tend to have a lot of weekday time free. Kids have afterschool activities that parents bring them to, and then I begin again when they return. I love to cook so I'll often prep dinner before everyone comes home. I'll then help with baths and bedtime routine. I tend to stay in on weeknights, but my host mum is always flexible about if I want to make special plans with a friend and head out earlier.

I have off every weekend unless we arrange in advance for extra babysitting hours for which I'll get paid extra if I go over 35h for the week.

My weekends are mine and my family is respectful and appreciative of that. They love that I've made so many friends and have even met some of them. They often invite me to activities that they have planned for the weekend but always understand if I choose not to join. I've taken advantage of some of those opportunities and become closer with the family and extended family that way. I've also many times politely declined so that I could do my own thing.

Sometimes I stay out at friends' houses all weekend and that's okay too. We keep open communication so that they know I'm alive, which is respectful to do in any case when you're living with someone.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was making friends. At first I wasn't worried at all, but then I got here and freaked out. The Au Pair agency tries to connect au pairs together with Facebook groups and meetups, and it definitely works to an extent. They link with a backpackers group that organizes special trips/excursions you can go on, and I actually met one of my best friends that way.

However, I realized that I wasn't connecting with many of the au pairs because of the age & culture gap. Many are 18-year-old Europeans, right out of high school, that haven't been away from home ever. And that's totally fine! But having lived away from home for 4 years, finished two undergraduate degrees, and done a fair amount of independent & group travel, I felt it difficult to relate to some of them.

I had to make more of an effort to meet people. Chatting it up in cafes and joining MeetUp groups to find like-minded people worked best. I'm continually meeting new people through MeetUp groups like "Sydney Ladies Social." This was another "life is what you make it" experience.

Awesome friends won't just fall in your lap, you've got to go looking a little bit. And most importantly, don't feel like you need to become best friends with the first person you meet! You'll meet lots of people, but if you click with some more than others, stick with that. Nothing needs to be forced.