The short answer is – yes, absolutely! More than a year after the pandemic, the world has definitely changed. What seemed like it should only last a couple of months has now become synonymous with normalcy. The consequences are countless and many professions have reinvented themselves. Among them, even the Au Pair program had to adapt to the course of events, moving into the magical online world.
Cultural exchanges have ceased to function in some countries, due to closed borders because of COVID-19, or have been slowed down by closed embassies or slow visa processing. Although the situation has improved since last year, allowing people to travel despite the pandemic, au pairing has been affected.
At the same time, the lack of help at home meant that many families found themselves struggling to manage their children, between work commitments and daily chores. Participation in the Au Pair program, almost taken for granted before, has become something quite difficult to achieve in the post-pandemic period, for both families and candidates.
On the other hand, if there is anything that the pandemic has taught us, it is that our ability to adapt has been underestimated. In this sense, technology has been a great help to us. Conferences, meetings, sports, chats, and school have moved to virtual platforms, and au pairing has been no different.
While not comparable to the convenience of having an Au Pair at home, or travelling to an unfamiliar country to discover its culture, online au pairing seems to be a viable alternative in times of pandemic. Following the same logic as services that are harnessing the power of the virtual world, virtual Au Pair conducts the same activities she/he would do in person with the children, only in front of a screen. This can be a fair compromise for parents in need and for young people who are unable to leave but can invest their time in helping children, earning a modest sum.
Of course, there are conditions to be met, such as having the necessary tools (good internet connection and an account in one of the video calling programs) and adequate parental supervision when the children are engaged with the Au Pair at the computer. The online program lends itself quite well to everyone’s needs, in part because of its particular flexibility in terms of optimizing time and space. As for the details of taxation, please refer to the AuPair.com website that clarifies how to use the online au pair service. And let’s hope we will be able to travel again soon!