How to be an Au Pair?
You are thinking about the possibility of becoming an au pair and thus being able to spend a year abroad without spending too much money? Here you will find many suggestions that will help you make your dream come true and become an au pair.
INFORMATION AT A GLANCE
- Thorough planning is very important in order to become an au pair
- First, make sure that you fulfill the au pair requirements
- You should be willing to spend a long time abroad without seeing your friends and family
1. A YEAR ABROAD WITHOUT SPENDING MONEY
Becoming an au pair is actually very easy and has many advantages. There are very few requirements that you have to meet to become an au pair. Being an au pair gives you the opportunity to spend some time abroad without spending a lot of money. For example, after finishing high school, before continuing your studies, you could spend a year abroad as an au pair and improve your language skills in a foreign country.
This will also improve your opportunities in the job market. As our world is becoming more and more connected internationally, the most attractive jobs usually involve knowing at least one or more foreign languages. Think global, become an au pair.
As an au pair abroad you also have the advantage of living with a host family and becoming part of an already established social structure. This means: you won't have to worry about getting an internet connection or about where to do your laundry. Your host family will provide these and many other things for you. Furthermore, as an au pair, you will immediately be part of a social network. With your host family, you will have people with experience on your side who will help you and explain their culture to you.
Your contribution to the family – taking care of the children and doing easy house work – usually leaves you a lot of free time. As your family pays for your accommodation and food, you have the pocket money you get at your free disposal. So you won't have to worry about unforeseen expenses as an au pair. Altogether, this is exactly why being an au pair is so attractive to young people.
2. EXPERIENCE IN CHILD CARE
If you want to work as an au pair, it is essential that you have experience working with children and/or in child care. Of course, you should also enjoy working with children. Parents want to be sure to leave their children with an experienced person. Therefore, it is important to have some work references and include them in your resume to show how important it is for you to become an au pair.
You don't have any experiences in child care yet? Don't worry! You can gather experience doing an internship in a day care center, working as a tutor or a baby sitter, or as an assistant coach in a sports club. You have many options. Make sure you receive a written reference afterwards as this is important if you want to be an au pair. Also, working with children before going abroad as an au pair, you will be able to see if you really will enjoy working with children every day.
3. PLAN YOUR TRIP WELL
You should plan your time abroad as an au pair very well: As the preparations for your time abroad or your year abroad as an au pair will take a while, make sure that with all the planning you won't forget your real goal of becoming an au pair.
First, you should make sure that you fulfill the formal and personal requirements for an au pair job. Second, you have to decide in which country you want to be an au pair. This usually depends on what language you want to learn or improve. After you have decided upon a language, you can choose a country or a region where you want to work as an au pair.
4. CITY OR COUNTRYSIDE
Where do you want to be an au pair, in the countryside, in a small town or in a big city? You need to decide this before you start looking for a host family abroad.
Your work as an au pair in the countryside is very interesting but you might feel lonely every now and then. However, if there is public transportation, it is easy to get to the next big town.
5. STARTING DATE FOR YOUR AU PAIR JOB
Be an au pair – yes, but when should you start? The best dates for starting your work as an au pair are in August/September and January/February. As the host families come back from their vacations for the new school year, the late summer is a good time to start your au pair work abroad. The demand for au pairs during this period is especially high. Also, the language schools start again after the summer break and offer language classes for au pairs. During the summer months of July and August you have less chance of getting a job as an au pair.
The language schools also might not offer classes during the summer. However, there are exceptions; some host families are looking specifically for a summer au pair who can take care of their children during the vacations.
6. FIND A HOST FAMILY
There are two ways for you to find a host family: looking for a family online or finding a host family with the help of an au pair agency. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. If you hire an au pair agency, you have to pay them but you also have a contact person. Watch out though! Many agencies will just help you until you and your host family has paid them. Unfortunately, in this field there are many fake agencies that don't care about you or your needs as an au pair.
In the last couple of years it has become more and more popular to use special au pair websites in order to become an au pair. This option is very cheap, both for you as an au pair and for your host family. Using an internet platform as an au pair, you create a profile so host families can find and contact you easily. At the same time you can also look for host families yourself, as these usually also have a profile. This way you can contact the host family and soon the first phone calls and video chats will follow.
7. COMMUNICATION WITH THE HOST FAMILY
Look carefully at the host family where you want to work as an au pair. Try to gather as much information as you can about your host family beforehand. Don't be shy! Ask all the questions you want. That's the only way to find out if it's the right host family for you.
Ask about the children: what do they like to do?
Ask about their life: What does a typical day in the family look like? How do the parents work? Where and how will you be staying? Is there a good language institute close?
All these questions should be clarified before your au pair stay.
„I had just finished college and started thinking about my future. I wanted to learn a foreign language and also experience living in a foreign country. Then a friend told me about the au pair program. I sat all day infront of my computer looking for information about it online. I would recommend signing up on an au pair website. That's what I did and it was great. I could talk to ex-au pairs and gather more information about the daily routine of an au pair. If you are well-informed and find a good host family, you will have a great year abroad.“ Pavla, 22
|Au pair requirements||Au pair, yes or no|
|How long au pair?||Advantages of the au pair stay|
|Finding work as au pair online||Au pair Agencies|
|Application au pair||First contact with the host family|