Be prepared mentally, emotionally and physically (being an au pair may not be as glamorous as you may initially think. At the end of the day it is a job after all meaning there will be standards that are expected from you) You can still enjoy being an au pair under these conditions.
Be very honest with your host parents, they are your lifeline in Germany. Discussing issues with your friends will not fix the situation you are having with your host family because they may not be aware of it.
Responsibility will take you far. Be a very responsible person because most of you are experiencing freedom for the first time. It can be very overwhelming.
Your au pair is just a year. Use that time to be the best you can be.
Sometimes things do not work out with a family. People are not machines. As much as you don’t ‘clique’; with some people in your life it can be the case with a family. Be straight forward and upfront (Germans appreciate this as they are very honest). If that is the case, there are stress free and respectful ways to leave that family and get another one. That being said, do not think that you will know this just after one day. Allow some time for things to work out first before giving up.
Do not expect your host family to treat you the same as your friend is being treated by her host family. There are so many misconceptions about what a host family must do for the au pair. The list of musts is shorter than you think.
Save as much money as you can during this year as you will need some money for different reasons such as deposit and rent for a new apartment.
It’s important to already start thinking abut your future a few months into your au pair so that you can prepare.
Research what you would like to do after your au pair year.Make applications on time to ensure a smooth transition after your au pair year is over.