Spending a year abroad and learning a new language, whilst getting to know another country, a new culture and new people – it's a dream of many young people just about to finish school, and wanting to acquire a few important soft skills before continuing with their education or starting a career. Au pairing can help you to find out what you really want to do in life. The experience you can gain and the opportunity to learn a lot more about yourself and the world make au pairing a great thing to do immediately after finishing school, whilst studying, or after completing job training.
But what actually is an au pair?
The French term "au pair" means "to be equal to" which is exactly what an au pair is - an equal member of the host family they live with. Au pairs live with a host family in a foreign country for up to a year and support the family with childcare. Alongside this, au pairs also help out with light household chores, and in return receive both monthly pocket money and board and lodging. Furthermore, au pairs have the opportunity to take part in a language course in the host country, and are entitled to at least one day off a week as well as paid holiday.
Is au pairing the right thing for me?
Are you between 18 and 30 years old? Do you want to experience life in another country? Do you enjoy spending time with children? Do you already have basic knowledge of another language which you would like to improve? Are you prepared to help out with the occasional job around the house? Do you look forward to integrating with a host family and becoming a part of their day-to-day life? If you've answered these questions with a "Yes", then it could be that you're ready to embark on your au pair adventure. So why not get started today and find out more?
What happens if staying a whole year is too much for me?
No problem, you can also do a stay as a summer au pair, who typically lives with a host family abroad for for one to three months. Summer au pairing is a great way of using your school holidays or semester break to have a new adventure, which will also teach you useful skills for the future. If you're not completely sure that au pairing for a longer period of time is the right thing for you, summer au pairing allows you to give the au pairing experience a trial run, after which you may even decide to become an au pair for a whole year!
What's the point of an au pair stay? What will I gain from it?
There's no better way to learn about a country's customs, traditions and language than by living with a native family. Alongside the unforgettable experiences that you'll have, and the small challenges you'll overcome during your au pair stay, you are also doing something for your career. A good knowledge of foreign languages and experience living abroad looks good on every CV. And what you gain in self-confidence and general competence will be evident for all to see.
How do I become an au pair?
The entry requirements for au pairs vary from country to country. You can find out more about how to become an au pair in your country of choice under the heading Info host countries.