Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Au Pair in Germany

According to Wikipedia: Au Pair is a domestic assistant from a foreign country - working & living for a host family. Your job and responsibilities includes helping out with childcares & household chores. Since Au Pair is a french term that means ''on par'' or  ''equal to'' -- it is expected to be treated as an equal member to the host family.

So far, the German Embassy in Manila requires the following:
-- Age Limit of at least 18 years old but not more than 24 years old upon submission of the application.
-- Must have the A1 certificate as proof of basic knowledge of the German language
-- Contract for the Au-pair relationship must be at least 6 months but not more than 1 year
-- there must be at least 1 under-age child or minor in the host family
-- There must be no kinship between the Au-Pair and the host parents.
**NOTE: kindly double check on the website of the German Embassy in Manila for updates or changes of rule.


I am lucky & a month ago, I was able to meet a new friend who is an Au Pair. I took this chance & ask her regarding her experiences so we can share it on this blog. This is our way of helping to other people who wanted to know more about this topic. Read on about her experiences, observations & advises.



-- She need to make an appointment via the callcenter of the German Embassy in Manila. 
-- She was interviewed twice: (1) the agent who checks her documents, & (2) the Consular officer who checks on her basic German language skills.
-- Since she needs a residence permit to stay here in Germany, her waiting time after the submission of application is around 2 - 3 months.
-- Her host family here in Germany needs to have the ''contract'' authenthicated at the Philippine Embassy in Berlin. This is also to protect the Au Pair. 
-- When her visa gets approved, her host family was also notified by the Embassy.
-- She also need to attend the CFO seminar and obtain the CFO sticker.


-- Currently, the standard monthly allowance for Au Pair in Germany is around 260€ -- though some host families offer more than that. Comparing to other allowances in other European Countries, this is consider abit low.
-- Some of the host families are willing to pay for the Au Pair's plane ticket. However, there are others such as my friend's host family who doesn't since there are cases where the host family send money but the Au Pair never shows up. But thru saving most of your allowances, you can earn the plane ticket money back.
-- If you love kids, then Au Pair-ing is for you. Or if not that much, then must possess a long patience. If also not, then maybe it's time to re-think it over as it may not be workable for you & the host parents. A great deal of flexibility will be a big plus!


I also ask her to list down the Pro's & the Con's based on her experiences. Here they are:


-- You get to travel to Germany and stay for a year! 
-- You can get some perks such as a travel card so you can go ''tourist mode'' & explore the city you are in.
-- You get to meet new friends.
-- You get to learn the culture firsthand & improved your German language.


-- Since its a totally different culture & have different preferred child rearing, expect to have a compromise with the host mom from time to time.
 -- Since you are going to spend with a family that is foreign and totally different from you, expects to have some ackward moments.
-- In terms of free time, there is no definite schedule for that. If you plan to go out on a specific day, you need to tell them in advance. However, the working hours is definite at 25 hours / week.
-- In terms of food, be prepared to eat potatoes and breads instead of rice everyday or most of the time at your host family place.
-- Expect to encounter homesickness.


For my friend, she have mixed emotion regarding the Au Pairing but admits that it was quite an experience. She would definitely recommend this to others if they are in for an adventure! She did get to meet other Au Pairs who are not after the cultural experiences but consider this as a means of earning money. Others who just wanted to have a vacation in another country, while there are some more with other reasons.

Whatever reasons a person have in considering to do Au Pair, she believes you  need to be:

1. Emotionally strong. The German people are straight forward who do not hesistate to talk their mind off but with no intention to hurt anyone's feelings. Filipinoes, on the other hand, are mostly emotional type.

2. Physically healthy. Like in the Philippines, the weather here in Germany is also crazy. But you are dealing with cold or colder temperatures.


My friend & I sincerely hope that we get to give you an overview picture of what to expect when you apply for Au Pair in Germany. And for those who will push thru with their plan to experience the life of an Au-Pair: we wish you a happy adventure! 

Good luck!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

School Registration

After browsing thru the list of schools that was given to you by the Alien Office (Ausländerbehörde), you can go ahead and either give them a call or check online if they have a website for the preferred time in visiting them in person.

Upon arriving, they will ask for the following:
1. your Passport
2. your Residence Permit ID card
3. the forms given to you by the Alien Office (Ausländerbehörde)
  -- if you are unsure which one, you can bring all with you.

They will give you a written exam (actually, more like a proficiency test) followed by a short interview about yourself (also to check how well is your German). There is no failing mark here, so do not worry much. Based on these, they will recommend what is best for you. 

After all that, they will give you your schedule for your class, how long it will take to finish the course & other useful informations. 

This is all for now. Good luck & Happy Learning!

Going Balikbayan mode to the Philippines

Wondering what to do when you decided to go back home to the Philippines with your husband for a vacation? Just want you to know that I also wonder the same thing! So, I went to ask an online friend of mine who just recently did just that!

This topic may only apply to people who came from the Philippines then decided to go back home for a vacation. If you are still interested, read on.

Upon arrival to the Manila airport, my friend just simply presented her passport & her husband's (non-filipino) passport to the Immigration officer on the same time. Her non-filipino husband can get one (1) year stay in the Philippines. This is his perks for marrying a filipina.

For those who still uses their maiden name, it is best that you bring a copy of your marriage certificate as proof that both of you are really married.

Going back to Germany, she only need to present her Residence Permit ID card & her passport. They will no longer look for a CFO sticker. The fees she needed to pay are: (1) Travel tax worth 200php & (2) Terminal fee.

Upon reaching Germany, again, she only need to present her Residence Permit ID card & her passport.

At least with her experience, they spend around 2 months in the Philippines.

Incase you are planning to stay there more than 6 months, maybe it is best that you do another research on this. But if below that, this is most likely it!

Hope this helps!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

From Germany to China for Vacation

Planning to head to China from Germany for a vacation but holding a non-German passport? No problem!

There are currently four branches in Germany to whom you can visit to (whichever more convenient for you):
1. Chinese Embassy in Berlin, Germany
*** Click the links for their website.

There are two ways on how to apply for your Chinese Visa:
1. Apply at the center (which how we did ours)
2. Apply by Post (yes, thru mailing)

Basically, all the things you needed are written at their websites: unless they ask for additional document(s) from you. If you wanted to have a Travel Agency to process your visa (maybe you are a busy person or something) or simply wanted to entrust someone to process the visa for you -- yes, you can!

Our situation: My husband is holding a German passport while I am holding a PH passport. We wanted to visit a city in China for a quick vacation. We personally went to the center to submit our Visa applications. Here are the things we did to get our visas:

1. Prepare the documents needed

***1.1 Visa Application forms 
   -- You have an option to answer the forms online then print it, OR, print the blank application forms then answer it by hand. Eitherway, the most important part of it is your signature that must be written in ink.
   -- Don't worry incase there are some questions you are unsure on how to answer. At the center, they will double check your application forms and will guide you.
   -- Each person who are applying for the Chinese Visa, irregardless of what passport you are holding, must have their own Visa Application set (4 pages).
   -- affixed a passport size photo of yourself (not older than 6 months) on your application set
***1.2 Supplementary Visa Application forms
   -- If you are holding a non-German passport (such as myself), you need to answer one set of these forms (2 pages). Your German partner do not need to have this set.

***1.3 Copy of Round-trip airline tickets or e-tickets 

***1.4 Copy of  hotel reservation(s) 
   -- have a seperate copy for each person

***1.5 Original & Copy of the following:
    -- German passport  holder: Id card or Ausweis
    -- non-German passport holder: 
        (1) Residence Permit ID card or Aufenthaltstitel (valid at least for 6 months),  and 
        (2) Resident Registration (profile) paper or Anmeldebestätigung (not older than 6 months) * You can get your  profile paper at the Local Civil Office (Ortsamt): present both your passport & residence permit card and pay a fee of 10€.

***1.6 Travel Passport
   -- Make sure that the validity of your passport are at least 6 months from date of application & have at least 2 or more blank pages. 


2. Make an appointment for submission online (optional)
  -- Your waiting time at the center will be slightly shorter if you make an online appointment. But this is not mandatory. 


3. At the center, obtain a queue number on your arrival
-- At least at the branch where we went, there is this automated queue machine which offer instructions in Deutsch, English or Chinese languages. You can choose your mode whether you have an online appointment, walk-in (those without appointment) or passport(s) pick-up.

--When  its your turn, submit all your requirements and the agent will check it. The agents can speak in Deutsch & English, and some, in Mandarin. 

-- If all is well, they will get all the required documents & your passport(s). They will give you a claiming letter which indicates the # of passport(s) to be claimed (yes, on the collection date, one person is enough to get all the passports) and the claiming date for the said passport(s). You do not need to pay anything at this point.  


4. Collection of your Passport(s)
-- Back at the center, get a queue number for Passport Pick-up.
-- Pay the total amount of fees & claim your passport(s). 
-- They accepts cash or debit card as mode of payment.
-- To calculate how much you needed to pay, this is the formula: 
        VISA FEE    +    SERVICE FEE  +  MWST  (service fee x19%)
-- It is best that you check their website for the list of fees since they differ based on:
     (1) Visa Categories (how many entries, length of your stay in China, going as individuals or as a group)
     (2) Citizenships (German, US, Other Country or Romanian citizens)
     (3) type of service (how long are you willing to wait for your visa): (1) Regular or 4 working days, (2) Express or 3 working days, or (3) Urgent or next working day. 
   *NOTE: Check the official website as some center do NOT offer the Express or Urgent services.
-- For idea purposes only: For a 10 days single entry visa to China for 2 persons, it cost us around 135€  (inclusive of service fee & taxes).

-- The China Embassy encourage applicants to submit their Visa Applications one (1) month before intended flight but NOT three (3) months in advance. 
-- Our experiences only limited to Tourist Visa Application to China and are NOT applicable to other kind of Visas to China or other countries. 
-- Kindly check the official websites for other important reminders or for changes of rules. 

Hope this helps! Happy planning!!!