I enjoyed working in NZ as an Au Pair and would probably do it again. I'm also really happy that for my first time au pairing I went through an agency. Au Pair Link is a great agency and they do their best to help you out, they also generally make sure that you'll be going into a safe environment. The people working at Au Pair link were very kind and supportive, and they did their best to match me with a family, and they have a great re-matching process if you need it. If you choose to do this, you'll probably end up getting really close with your program manager and I totally recommend it! Especially if you're like me and do it at 18, it's really a Godsend to have someone who has your back. Kiwi culture is one of the warmest and most welcoming you could ever ask to experience! The kids were amazing in both of my host families! Also, New Zealand in general is full of lovely amazing people that will change your life! Host families can be hit or miss but most of my friends had really wonderful experiences (So I would say the odds are in your favour!). Besides the job aspect, NZ is full of so many fantastic outdoor and community opportunities if you have the chance to go, GO! :)
I would say some of the only downsides about Au Pair Link is that they didn't really inform au pairs about how taxes/tax refunds in NZ worked, and they weren't really checking to make sure that if a host family was paying their au pair in cash that the family was paying the au pair's taxes (personally this ended up causing a massive dramatic scene with my first host family). Another factor of privacy is they didn't really require a host family to have a lock on their au pair's room door for privacy/safety (my first host dad (when intoxicated) would occasionally push my door open at night and ask me questions and my second host mum would go through my room on the weekends when I was gone). If those things are a concern to you, check with your host family before accepting a contract. However, my biggest con was that my program manager tried talking me into staying with my second host family even though they were treating me poorly. I would say just make sure you know what is best for you and really stand by it, even if your program manager might try and say otherwise (and even if you're scared of what could happen if you quit).
I would also ask your host family how much cleaning is involved because it may end up surprising you.
>Also I would recommenced that if you choose to do this, do at least 2-3 skype interviews and have questions prepared before each interview with your possible host family/ies.
>Read your contract and know what you're entitled to as an au pair!
>Also be aware that about half of your paycheck IS going to your host family for room and board so don't feel bad if you have dietary requirements and need to ask for specific foods! (though you should defo inform them of this prior to accepting a contract).
I wish you the best of luck!