I'm in Kenya too and have completed college and I am looking for a family; I am hoping to get mine on the right track. I know basic French and would like to start my life as an aupair soon but I'm confused when looking for German and French speaking families that require basic level certificate. What are my options?.
(Anonymous Prospective Au pair)
I'll start by answering your question with a question ;-) , and will then outline what I would consider as your options, starting with the easiest and most readily available solution, to the most time consuming and ditant solution.
Here we go: Where did you learn your basic French: in secondary school or in high school? At the college you just completed? Or perhaps at a French language school?
First, if you learnt French in secondary school and sat for a KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Education) French examination, then presenting a copy of your KCSE certificate would normally suffice. This is so since the grade obtained in French for KCSE would be proof of your knowledge of basic French. Of course, there should not be too large a gap (too many years) between the time you completed secondary/high school and the time you apply for au pairing. If so, your high school French would be considered too rusty, and as such one would expect that you, in the meantime, have been taking French language classes in between the two periods.
Second, if you learnt French at your college and have a grade transcript showing your grade(s) in French, then that too would count as proof of your competence in basic french.
Third, don't forget that if you are/were enrolled at a language school with or without having sat for external exams, you could always request the school's administration to issue you with some kind of 'leaving certificate' on which they would state how long you were enrolled at the language school, how many hours of classes you had per week, and of course your competence level in the language. (In France and in French, the 'leaving certificate' would be the equivalent of an "Attestation de fin de Stage").
In my opinion, this is actually the best solution, (if you did not study French in high school). But it is of course important to take into consideration the reputation of the language school, as it will strongly determine whether or not au pair agencies, host families, and most importantly embassies would be willing to accept the document ('leaving certificate') issued by your language school.
As a last option I would add: If you learnt French at a language school (such as the Alliance Française), you normally should be able to sit for a French exam for beginners (external).
If you are currently enrolled in a language school, you could prepare yourself for one of the external exams that the language school normally prepares students for. For example, I have in mind the Alliance Française which prepares students, among others, for the DELF A1 and A2 (Diplôme d'Études en Langue Française), which is an official diploma (certificate) awarded by the French ministry of education to certify non-native French speakers' competence in French language. But this is a rather 'distant' solution.
All the above applies to German language. I'd advise you to visit the Goethe Institute which in reputation, is the German equivalent of the Alliance Française. Get as much information as possible on classes, on officially recognized exams that you could prepare and sit for, duration of the preparation, possibilities of getting a 'leaving certificate' when you are through with your elementary level language training...
Finally, the key to all these preparations is to strive to get as much quality information as possible. Do your research in relation to the steps outlined in the Road Map to Au pairing systematically and way in advance.
Thank you all very much for your questions and comments; I look forward to having more feedback from you! :-)