An au pair must make a significant commitment. Evaluating your reasons for doing it and clearly understanding your expectations is important. Having a valid passport is essential, as is passing a background check. You must also be comfortable living with a family and doing basic housework.
Find a Placement Agency or Program
When it comes to becoming an au pair, there are many options. You can search online, find a local agency, or go through a program. Agencies and programs have their benefits – they’ll take care of most of the logistics, match you with a family, and provide support throughout your stay abroad. How much does an au pair cost? You can find it out by talking with an agency beforehand. To qualify as an au pair, you’ll need to meet certain requirements. These include age (typically between 18- and 26 years old), language skills, and childcare experience. You may also need to complete specific courses and attend cultural events as part of your program.
One of the most exciting aspects of being an au pair is immersing yourself in a new culture. It’s a chance to practice your foreign language skills, try fresh foods, and get to know daily life in your host country like you never could as a tourist. It’s also a wonderful way to build meaningful relationships with the children you’ll be caring for. Whether you’re pursuing a career in education or social work or love playing at the park with kids, it’s a unique and memorable opportunity. It can also be a great resume-builder. Most au pairs work Monday through Friday and have weekends free to see the sights, visit friends, or explore their new home.
Find a Host Family
An au pair is a young woman (or occasionally a man) who travels to another country to live with a host family for a set amount of time. An au pair works for free accommodation and board in exchange for helping the host family with childcare and light housework. Many au pairs stay in touch with their host families after their program ends and visit them in their home countries or abroad. If this is the right option, determine which countries accept au pair placements and their requirements first. For example, most programs only take au pairs who can speak fluent English. If you’re worried about your language skills, consider attending an au pair training course or doing online practice beforehand.
Before being matched with a host family, most au pair programs require applicants to undergo a criminal background check successfully. This process typically includes a full police clearance and child protection registry check involving professional fingerprinting. It’s time to locate a host family after completing your background investigation. Most au pairs work Monday to Friday, giving them plenty of time during the weekend to explore their new country and experience local culture. You can search for hosts using websites that match au pairs with families based on their personalities and preferences. The site also provides au pairs and families with tools to communicate and ensure a good fit before making any commitments.
Start the Application Process
The au pair, which means “at par” or equal to in French, works as a full family member rather than an employee. In addition to childcare responsibilities, au pairs typically perform light household chores. They are expected to live in the host family’s home and eat with them, though they may also have their room. Au pairs often participate in the family’s social activities, such as outings and trips. Au pairs usually work between 10 and 45 hours a week. Most au pair relationships are established through agencies specializing in au pairing, which act as intermediaries between aspiring au pairs and host families. The agencies charge both parties a fee for their services. The agencies are usually located in the au pair’s host country. The fundamental objective of an au pair is to give the kids in their care a joyful, safe, and stimulating environment. The ages of the children that au pairs take care of vary from babies to school-age children, and their duties can include:
- Preparing meals.
- Picking them up and dropping them off at school.
- Taking them on outings and errands.
- Playing with them.
Becoming an au pair can give you valuable work experience to add to your CV while at the same time offering a unique cultural exchange opportunity. You will befriend au pairs worldwide and gain new life experiences, shaping your future.
Pack Your Bags
Whether staying with an au pair family in the United States or another country abroad, you will likely need to pack your things. Be sure to bring clothing appropriate for the weather in your host country. It is also important to include a variety of clothes that will allow you to take care of children of all ages, from infants to teenagers. It is also a good idea to bring your favorite toiletries, though buying them in your host country may be smarter once you arrive. Getting travel-sized products will help you save space and avoid the hassle of finding the right-sized bottles and different electrical plugs. It is also a good idea to include an extra toothbrush and toothpaste in case you run out early!
Host families often expect au pairs to contribute to household chores like washing dishes and laundry. They typically provide au pairs with a private bedroom and an allowance. It is a good idea to ask your host family about the expectations of the job before starting it. Spending a year as an au pair is more than caring for children. You can also attend college classes, make international friends, and explore the United States. It is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience that can be added to your resume and shape your future career path.
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