This is a sponsored guest post.
Everyone has heard of an au pair at some point in their life. But do you know what exactly an au pair is? Au pair is a foreign person, citizen, often a student who lives with a family in another country. They live within a family unit as a family member and receive room and board from that family. An au pair helps out with care for children and basic household duties in exchange for an opportunity to stay with that family.
Usually, the au pair signs a contract for a certain period of time. That contract also includes terms and conditions of the stay. It will also state any extra pay or a stipend that both an au pair and the hosting family are comfortable with. A stipend paid to an au pair is usually lower compared to local salaries. But, it helps to cover other expenses like travel, clothes and other expenses while an au pair lives abroad.
Why would you want au pair jobs?
If you love to travel to foreign countries or would love to start travelling, becoming an au pair. Au pair would provide an amazing opportunity for travel. If you ever dream of living in a foreign country for a while to learn all about it, an au pair job is perfect. If you want to be fluent in a foreign language and not just learn the basics from a college course, becoming an au pair is by far the most effective way to get there. Fully immersing in a foreign culture is the quickest and most reliable way to learn local traditions. You will learn the way of life and most importantly the language. Becoming an au pair will open doors to all sorts of opportunities. That includes making new friends around the world and even acquire a second family.
Skills and requirements for au pair jobs
Are there any special skills you must possess to become an au pair? This is the most frequently asked question by all who wish to become an au pair. The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it highly depends on 2 major factors. First factor is your destination. The country you are going to will dictate a lot of rules and regulations. And the second major factor is the family that will be hosting you.
Previous childcare experience is not required but is very highly sought after, especially if the hosting family has young children or infants. Some families will require you to obtain first aid and CPR certification before you begin.
Be ready to stay in a foreign country for a full 12 months period. Most au pair programs last a full year, so it will be expected of you to fulfill your contract in its entirety.
Speaking at least some level of English is usually a must. A lot of au pair host families hire an au pair for just that reason – an opportunity for their children to learn English within their home. Those families will want you to only speak English while at home to help their children to learn it quickly if it is not a native language.
In the scenario that it is their native language and the primary way of communication, you will be required to have enough proficiency to communicate effectively when needed. You may be allowed to speak your native language with children if that is the language they are learning.
Requirements of an Au Pair
Depending on the country you go to, you may be required to have a valid driver’s license. It is a common duty of an au pair to drop off/pick up children to/from school. If you cannot drive, you may want to look into a particular country’s requirements in advance, so you have enough time to get licensed before you begin your program.
And last but not least, you have to be in good health and not require special health treatments regularly, as medical insurance is quite costly in many countries. In addition to good health, you have to be free of criminal records.
Be ready to participate in a long process when beginning your au pair journey. The screening process is quite vigorous because families will not only let you into their homes and personal lives, as well as trust you with care for their most precious assets – their children.
Steps to becoming an au pair
Au pair jobs are popular worldwide. You can become an au pair no matter where you currently live. The US and England, Spain and Switzerland, Italy and France, Germany and Australia, all have an extensive history in au pair business.
First, you have to choose the country. This step is easy enough and depends on your personal preference. The next step is to find a host family. There are two common ways to find one. You can find it on your own or through an agency. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Finding a host family on your own will save you a good chunk of money.
Au Pair Service Agencies
Agency services, like Great Au Pair, come with a few hundred dollar price tag. However, in exchange, you will get a ton of help. It will help especially if you are not fluent in the language of the country you are going to. Agency representatives will do the hard work of finding the right host family and will do all initial communication on your behalf. So if you don’t speak the language, no worries! Agency representatives often can speak your native language too so communication with them is easy as well.
Another advantage of paying for an au pair matching service is that in the case scenario you don’t feel happy or safe with your host family, they will be your safety net to fall back on. They will assist you in resolving a conflict easily or to find you another family. If you find your host family on your own, you will save a lot of money. However, keep in mind, that you are responsible for every step of the process in this scenario. And no matter how it goes with your host family, you will be responsible for finding a solution.